The University of Wisconsin Badgers first football game of the season will be a very big stage in front of a nationally televised audience against SEC powerhouse Louisiana State University. But while the football team and the Badgers' nation of fans will be there, the band will not.
“This is a really big game I think for everybody,” said Mike Leckrone, UW’s director of bands. “This is a big game so to not be there to sort of get the season started is sort of a big disappointment, and we’re sorry we’re not going to be there.”
Leckrone said the organizers of the Advocare Texas Kickoff contacted the band in April to gauge the interest in attending and performing at halftime. The band is very interested in attending but doesn't have the money to do so.
“In situations like this what do they say, follow the money. Well we didn’t have any money to follow in this instance,” Leckrone said.
The band recently purchased some much-needed new uniforms and there isn’t enough money in the program's budget to make the trip to Houston for the game.
Leckrone said it would cost between $200,000-$300,000 to cover the band's expenses for the trip.
“It is a disappointment because frankly there’s a lot of reasons involved. I’m a fan so I wanted to be there for the game, but secondly I think anytime we get the chance to perform in an opposing stadium or for fans that may not know us or just perform we just love to perform,” Leckrone said.
It is possible that if the money could be found to cover the cost of the bands trip to Houston they could be ready to perform. That window of opportunity is closing as the game is now less than six weeks away.