HOUSTON, TEXAS (August 24, 2021): The 2021 Cracker Barrel National Battle of the Bands (NBOTB) presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar kicks off this weekend, Aug. 27 – Aug. 29, with exciting events and free community activities designed to provide visitors and the Houston community with opportunities to safely connect, celebrate, and create impactful memories over the entire weekend experience.
Hosted for the first time in Houston in 2019, The “National Battle of the Bands” event was created to be the nation’s kick-off to the fall marching band season. This annual event hosted by the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA), in partnership with Webber Marketing, serves as a yearly celebration of arts, education, and Historically Black College’s and Universities (HBCU) culture.
“As one of the most diverse cities in the United States, Houston is proud to host the annual National Battle of the Bands.”, said HCHSA CEO Janis Burke. “This event has and will continue to bring advancement to the city through arts and entertainment, educational opportunities, financial growth, and inclusion and diversity programming.”
Official Ticketed Events
The NBOTB HBCU Greek Stroll Off presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar takes place on Friday, August 27, at NRG Center (1 NRG Park). Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. The event will feature performances from Greek fraternities and sororities who will be competing for cash prizes. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by visiting: www.nationalbattleofthebands.com/strolloff. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to support the NBOTB Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Band Together scholarship initiative.
On Sunday, August 29, at 4 p.m. the NBOTB weekend will conclude with show-stopping performances from members of the eight HBCU bands that will fill the NRG Stadium with unique styles and sounds created to celebrate, support, and recognize the excellence of black college marching bands.
This year’s band line-up includes Bethune Cookman University, Marching Wildcats; Langston University, “Marching Pride” Band; North Carolina A&T State University, The Blue and Gold Marching Machine; Norfolk State University, The Spartan “Legion” Marching Band; Southern University, Human Jukebox; Jackson State University, The Sonic Boom of the South; Tennessee State University, Aristocrat of Bands; and Texas Southern University, “Ocean of Soul” Marching Band.
Tickets can still be purchased at www.nationalbattleofthebands.com
Free Community Events
Friday, August 27, The NBOTB Esports Masterclass powered by HTX Sports Tech will be held at Harris County – Houston Sports Authority (701 Avenida de las Americas, Suite 450) from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. This specialized Esports and gaming masterclass prepares high school students to be successful as tomorrow’s leaders of the emerging, multibillion-dollar Esports and gaming industry. Registration is free for all students currently enrolled in high school. For more information and to register for the Esports Masterclass visit: www.nationalbattleofthebands.com/esports.
Friday, August 27, the NBOTB Esports Tournament presented by Rockstar Energy Drink will be held at NRG Center (1 NRG Park) from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and feature some of the top collegiate gamers who will be competing for $3,000 in scholarships and more. The event is free and open to the public to attend. Collegiate gamers interested in participating can register at www.nationalbattleofthebands.com/esports.
Saturday, August 28, Houston-area entrepreneurs, minority business owners, startups, college students, and creatives will have the opportunity to network and collaborate with a dynamic group of industry experts during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Emerge Experience Entrepreneur Conference presented by PNC at the University of Houston – Student Center South Theater (4455 University Drive). Check-in begins at 9 a.m. and the conference begins at 9:30 a.m. The theme for the event is ‘The Business of Tech, Sports, and Culture’ and will include a series of panel discussions designed to provide attendees with strategies, practical steps, and resources to grow their businesses and brands. Registration is free at www.nationalbattleofthebands.com/emerge.
Sunday, August 29, high school students and their parents can enjoy the HBCU S.T.E.M. College Fair from 1 – 3 p.m. at NRG Center (1 NRG Park). Admission is free. Attendees will gain access to top HBCUs from around the country who are recruiting for both undergrad and graduate admissions for S.T.E.M. and Non-S.T.E.M. programs. Students are encouraged to bring their transcripts for on-site college admissions. For more details visit, www.nationalbattleofthebands.com/collegefair.
Know Before You Go*
NRG Stadium’s Clear Bag Policy will be in effect for Sunday’s event. Approved bags consist of clear plastic bags no larger than 12” x 6” x 12”; (1) gallon clear plastic Ziploc bag or similar; and small clutch purses no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”. Be prepared to attend the show with clear bags.
Face coverings/masks are encouraged while attending any of our NBOTB events. If you have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, please stay home and self-monitor for symptoms and follow CDC guidelines if symptoms develop. High-risk individuals should follow the advice of their medical provider and/or CDC about attending any of our events. Any individual who does not comply with the COVID-19 rules, and the NRG Park health & safety guidelines will not be permitted to enter or remain on NRG Park premises.
* Media will have additional COVID-19 and bag policies. All approved media credential requests will receive the additional policies and instructions for media access via email.
To receive credentials for this Sunday’s National Battle of the Bands event, please email email@example.com
Cracker Barrel National Battle of the Bands presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar
The event’s mission is to enhance the exposure of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their marching bands, the roles they play in educating aspiring musicians and developing our future leaders. Event organizers have generated more than $500,000 in scholarships for the participating colleges and universities. www.nationalbattleofthebands.com
Webber Marketing and Consulting
Webber Marketing & Consulting (WMC), LLC is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the largest marketing agency of record for HBCUs specializing in strategic outreach program development, on-site event execution, experiential marketing, and media. WMC provides their clients with focused programs that deliver measurable results, improve market position, and build for future successes. www.webbermarketing.net
Harris County – Houston Sports Authority
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority maintains the facilities and services the debt of the world-class, professional sports venues it was created to build. To support this primary mission, Houston Sports serves as a leading proponent for attracting sporting events to Houston and for promoting the city as a home for sports-related activities, to ultimately enhance Houston’s economic development and bring better quality of life for its residents. Houston Sports also created the annual Houston Sports Awards to honor the area’s outstanding athletes. www.houstonsports.org