Band and Orchestra Festival is an opportunity for ensembles from member schools to perform a program of three pieces for adjudication, one of which must be from MSBOA's required list. District-level festivals are held at the end of February through the beginning of March. Each group is evaluated by three performance judges and one sight-reading judge.
Ensembles are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the highest rating possible. The overall score is computed using a formula which combines the ratings of each judge. Ensembles that earn an overall 1 rating (or "Superior") are qualified for State Band & Orchestra Festival which is held in late April or early May. The basic structure of State Band & Orchestra Festival is the same as District, but the ensembles are held to a higher standard. Participating ensembles that earn a rating of 1 or 2 at District or State Festivals receive a certificate and are eligible to purchase plaques for display at their school and medals for each student.