About 30,000 people are expected to attend the Drum Corps International World Championships over the next three days at Lucas
Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The quarterfinal round of the competition kicks off Thursday, followed by semifinals Friday and finals on Saturday.
This year, Drum Corps International, based in Indianapolis, expanded entertainment at the event with the "Come Feel the Music Festival" in hopes of drawing more local residents to the opening day.
The festival, which starts Thursday at 2:30 p.m., includes performances by percussion ensembles and professional ballet members, music lessons, an interactive drum circle and historical displays. It's included in the price of admission for the quarterfinal round, which starts at 4 p.m.
Event spokeswoman Diane Peasel said it's difficult to predict how the new offering will influence ticket sales because it's being promoted with a coupon used in walk-up sales.
More than 5,000 young brass musicians, percussionists and dance performers will compete in the main event.
Many of them can be heard this week warming up in White River State Park. A special performance for the downtown lunch crowd is set for the ArtsGarden on Friday.
Drum Corps International, a not-for-profit with $10 million in revenue, moved its headquarters from suburban Chicago to Indianapolis in March 2008. It organizes a summer tour of drum corps ensembles, which culminates each August in the competition.
Last year was the first time the championships were held at Lucas Oil Stadium. The event is scheduled to take place there for the next eight years.
The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association has estimated an economic impact of at least $10 million for the annual event.
More information about the event can be found on Drum Corps International's website.