Forward! Marching Band is a community-based, democratic, music-making collective.


Founded in Madison, Wisconsin in 2011, Forward! Marching Band initially hoped to debut after a few weeks of rehearsals at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Instead, Forward! was forged in the crucible of the epic protests surrounding the new Governor’s regressive agenda. For weeks, we marched around the capitol in the snow and rain, gaining members and experience. Since that time, Forward! Marching Band has dedicated itself to maintaining that unique fighting spirit of the Wisconsin protest movement.

Description / Mission Statement

We believe in using music to help fuel social change, have fun and build community. Forward! Marching Band is an ever-changing group of musicians of all skill levels. We play tunes from the catalogs of folk, rock, klezmer, polka, labor, Balkan, New Orleans and Romany music. Our band consists of a diverse range of ages, musicianship and abilities. Instruments featured in Forward! run the gamut from traditional band instruments such as snare drums and trumpets to home-brewed xylophones and washboards. We love costumes, silly hats and spectacle! We share the duties of researching and arranging musical selections, directing and shaping rehearsals, costuming, and scheduling the band. Forward! Marching Band brings lively tunes to political protests, marches and rallies, parades, and community events. If you’re an event organizer, a community group, a protest planner or a musician interested in Forward!, please contact us. You can message us on Facebook, or send an e-mail to info@forwardband.org .