And the Winner of Metallica’s Marching Band Competition Is…

Metallica marching band
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Metallica marching band
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Photo Credit: Metallica

Metallica announces the winner of their Metallica Marching Band Competition, with $85,000 in musical instruments and equipment going to the school’s music program.

Metallica’s James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo have chosen the winners of the Metallica Marching Band Competition, announcing the results Sunday night on social media. The top spot went to the Auburn University Marching Band in Alabama, which also earned the honor of fan favorite, which was determined via online voting. Auburn will receive a total of $85,000 in musical instruments and equipment for the school’s programs.

The Auburn University Marching Band was one of 450 marching bands from colleges and high schools across the United States who entered the contest, which Metallica announced back in April.

Notaby, two other marching bands from Alabama — the Cleveland High School Golden Force Band and the Pell City High School Marching Band of Gold — were among the top five finalists in the contest’s high school division, while Texas schools also made a strong showing.

Marching bands submitted YouTube videos of their ensembles playing a Metallica song from a curated list of 13, including “Enter Sandman,” “Fade to Black,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “Master of Puppets.” The finalists were selected by a team of seven judges, all of whom are professional musicians with experience as band directors and educators.

This was the first year of the Metallica Marching Band Contest, which promises to be an annual event, according to representatives for the band.

The full list of finalists is below:

Collegiate Division 1 ($75,000 in prizes)

  • Auburn University (fan favorite, additional $10,000 in prizes)
  • Fresno State University
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Texas at Austin

Collegiate Division 2 & 3 ($40,000 in prizes)

  • Eastern New Mexico University
  • Blinn College
  • Manchester University
  • West Texas A&M University
  • Western Illinois University

High School Division, Small, Medium, & Large ($15,000 each in prizes)


  • Dobyns-Bennett High School — Kingsport, TN (fan favorite, additional $10,000 in prizes)
  • Lambert High School — Suwanee, GA
  • Lorena High School — Lorena, TX
  • Austin High School — Sugarland, TX
  • Pell City High School — Pell City, AL


  • Boerne High School — Boerne, TX (TIE)
  • Malverne High School — Malverne, NY (TIE)
  • Desert Mountain High School — Scottsdale, AZ
  • DeWitt High School — DeWitt, MI
  • Kell High School — Kennesaw, GA


  • Oakton High School — Vienna, VA
  • Cleveland High School — Cleveland, AL
  • Edinburg High School — Edinburg, TX
  • Oologah High School — Oologah, OK
  • Valhalla High School — El Cajon, CA