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 structure of State Band & Orchestra Festival is: ensembles perform for three concert adjudicators whose ratings determine the final rating followed by a clinic provided by an State Band and Orchestra Festival Clinician. The concert standard at the State Band and Orchestra Festival is higher than the District Band and Orchestra Festival. 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.