Buckhannon to host acclaimed international competition, thousands expected to attend

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. —  In less than a year and a half, thousands of international visitors will pour into West Virginia for the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) 2023 competition.

On January 1, 2021, the City of Buckhannon was notified that it was awarded hosting privileges for the 2023 competition. What is known as the “Superbowl of Marching Bands” will put a global spotlight on Upshur County, the region, and West Virginia.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring this event to West Virginia and to heighten the exposure of our beautiful region and state to new audiences,” stated Randy Sanders, president of the WAMSB 2023 Buckhannon Host Committee.

To date, 47 bands from 24 nations have submitted applications to compete for the title of world champion in several disciplines of music, including marching performance, jazz, symphonic, percussion, auxiliary dance and more. In addition to the competition, numerous events are scheduled to take place throughout the week of the competition.

According to Sanders, the event will continue to benefit West Virginia beyond the initial competition. The exposure can boost tourism, economic development, and investment opportunities with international entities, dignitaries, and others from abroad visiting the state.

“This competition will give West Virginia an opportunity to shine like never before,” Sanders added.  “Highlighting our successful tourism industry, favorable economic climate and utilizing the competition to strengthen relationships between our leaders and foreign neighbors can create lasting benefits in West Virginia for generations.”

This is only the second time in the event’s 26-year history it will take place in the U.S. and the first time being hosted on the East Coast. The last U.S. host was Palm Springs, California and the event garnered 10,000 visitors.

Fundraising efforts by the WAMSB 2023 Host Committee are underway. Contributions have been received from The City of Buckhannon in the amount of $100,000, the Harrison County Commission for $4,000, and Community Bank for $550. Both the Lewis County Commission and Randolph County Commission are reviewing funding requests for their upcoming budgets.

The WAMSB 2023 World Championship will take place from July 17-24, 2023.

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