Northern Festival of Bands

Northern Festival of Bands 2022

The Northern Festival of Bands is an annual weekend wind band festival for high school band students, who perform in bands led by nationally renown conductors, participate in masterclasses and workshops with UNI faculty and students, and experience performances given by UNI's outstanding ensembles. 

This year the festival will be held February 10-12, 2022. The festival features performances by the UNI Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band on Friday evening, as well as Saturday afternoon’s performance by high school participants featuring solo competition winners, percussion groups, and the Festival Bands.

High school performers are divided into three bands: Wind Orchestra, Symphony Band, and Concert Band. The Wind Orchestra consists primarily of All-State Band members, the Symphony Band is comprised of some All-State students and older students usually in 11-12th grade, and the Concert Band is typically younger students in 9-10th grade. However, there will be some crossover due to the need to create an instrumentation for three outstanding ensembles.

2022 Guest Conductors and Festival Ensembles

Wind Orchestra - Francisco Javier Gutierrez Juan, Seville, Spain
Symphony Band - Erin Holmes, Farmington, Minnesota
Concert Band - Tom Bankert, Wakefield, Massachusetts
Festival Percussion Ensemble - Kramer Milan and Matt Andreini, conductors

University of Northern Iowa Ensembles

Wind Ensemble - Danny Galyen, conductor
Symphonic Band - Justin Mertz, conductor
Chamber and Faculty Ensembles  

The Application Process

The Northern Festival of Bands offers three festival bands: the Wind Orchestra, Symphony Band, and Concert Band. The Percussion Ensemble is selected from the three festival bands. Students are selected on the basis of the application forms submitted by each school and director. In recent years, we have received over 400 applications with approximately 100 selected for each band. 

We request that each school submit at least two names for consideration.

Applications should be made by the school band director. In some cases an individual student may wish to attend even if their school is not attending. In these cases the application must still be made by the high school band director or by the student with the high school band director's oversight. This is to ensure that participating students are members of their school band and have the permission of the director and school prior to attending. In the event that the director does not attend the festival, an adult chaperone must attend with the student due to the overnight nature of the festival.

Applications will be submitted via our website. Applications should be completed by Monday, November 29, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

Application Instructions 

There are two steps for the application process:

1. Download and complete the NFB Student Nomination Form

2. Then visit the School Registration Form to provide school and director information and to attach the completed Nomination Form.

Prior to completing the Nomination Form, we ask that directors ensure that students are aware of festival dates and are committed to these dates in the event they are selected. Students are expected to attend the entire festival. We would appreciate it if students agree to hold these dates so they can attend the entire event - rather than completing the process of being selected and then telling us of conflicts and expecting accommodations. 


Students accepted for either of the festival bands will audition for chair placement by submitting a short audition video. Students are encouraged to use a phone or tablet to record their audition and can upload the video directly from their phone. Audition videos will be due by Tuesday, February 1st. 

Audition materials and instructions will be sent with the notification of selection.

This process should be easy to complete for each student and is not designed to be the major undertaking that the All-State video auditions were last year.

Concert Dress

Performance dress will be the attire normally worn by each school for performances. 

Solo Competition

Senior students accepted to the festival who wish to study music at UNI are welcome to audition for the Solo Competition.  The winner will perform at the final festival concert on Saturday afternoon and receive and an offer of a music scholarship not to exceed $6000.00 over a four year period. The award is limited to students who wish to pursue a music degree at the University of Northern Iowa.

There is a place on the nomination form to indicate students wishing to audition for the Solo Competition.
The UNI School of Music will provide an accompanist for the audition and the performance on Saturday. Each student is responsible for providing the piano accompaniment music.

Festival Fees

Students - $26.00 per student
Conductors - $10.00

The fees include festival music, conductor fees, and other event costs. The banquet lunch usually occurring as part of the Festival has been temporarily omitted from the schedule due to factors associated with the pandemic. As a result, the student fee has been lowered from previous years.


The complete schedule will be available at Registration on your arrival. Currently, the following time frames are in place:

2022 NFB Schedule

Thursday, February 10
6:30-7:45pm Rehearsal 
8:00-9:00pm Rehearsal
9:00pm Ice Cream Social

Friday, February 11
8:30am-12:00pm Rehearsals and Concerts
1:30-4:00pm Rehearsals and Concerts
6:00pm Rehearsals
7:30pm Concert - UNI Wind Ensemble & Symphonic Band

Saturday, February 12
9:00-11:00am Rehearsals and Concerts
1:30pm Final Warm-Up
2:00pm Final Festival Concert

If you need further information, please contact Danny Galyen at