HISTORY OF THE CEDARBURG MUSIC FESTIVAL:
Beginning in 1946 and continuing for 38 years, the Cedarburg Festival of Music was the summer “event” in Cedarburg. The parade would have dozens of Drum and Bugle Corps along with Bands from the area. Then in the evening on the infield of the Fairgrounds the marching competition would take place with several classes of units competing.
For a variety of reasons, the Cedarburg Festival on Music “went dark” in 1984. The Cedarburg Fire Department, who had been the organizer, found it impossible to continue to raise the money to meet the ever growing monetary needs of the Drum Corps. Also, as the availability of School summer band programs decreased, the number of units available became an issue. Also, the major drum corps had formed an alliance that became Drum Corps International. DCI took over the corps touring schedules and with the demand for funds, took Cedarburg off their schedule.
In 2000, the Cedarburg Rotary Club with contacts with the Madison Scouts, Pioneer and Drum Corps Midwest reinvented the Cedarburg Festival of Music. The new name became the Rotary Music Festival and the new location for the competition became Cedarburg High School. The new focus was on strictly Drum and Bugle Corps with Madison Scouts and Pioneer being the mainstays annually. A permanent date [other than this year] became July 3rd with idea that Cedarburg could enjoy several of the corps in the July 4th Parade.
In 2007, Cedarburg High School constructed a new elevated grandstand with a capacity of 2000 great seats. Plus the High School has an adjacent field house that can serve as a rain site. You can be assured that you will at least hear the corps even in case of inclement weather.
This event has become a very successful fundraiser for the Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary Club raising over $300,000 in the first ten years. The Club supports many local needs including scholarships for our high school seniors, support for local charities and Rotary International’s world wide missions. Over the ten years more than 15,000 fans have attended the event.