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Prairie Winds 2021 will be held February 5-7.

Watch this page for information and registration, coming September, 2020.
Please contact the Band Office at kuband@ku.edu with questions.


Prairie Winds Festival

The 19th annual Prairie Winds Festival takes place at the University of Kansas on the first weekend in February. Each year, students from across the United States converge on the historic KU campus to take part in this unique musical opportunity. The Prairie Winds Festival encourages the musical growth of high school wind and percussion performers of all levels and provides advanced instruction in a supportive and fun environment.  All high school musicians are invited to participate with students who are selected for All State in 2020 receive a $50 scholarship to the festival.        


The University of Kansas faculty work directly with students throughout the weekend, including master classes, clinics, chamber music coaching, and ensemble rehearsals.

Paul W. Popiel, Director of Bands
Matthew O. Smith, Associate Director of Bands
Sharon Toulouse, Assistant Director of Bands
Martin Bergee, Professor of Music Education
Vince Gnojek, saxophone
Scott Watson, tuba and euphonium
Michael Compitello, percussion
Erin Wood, harp 

Festival Format

During the festival, students participate in master classes, perform in chamber ensembles, and work with School of Music faculty. The festival concludes with performances at KU's celebrated Lied Center.

Festival Fee

The 2020 Festival cost is $175 plus a $50 non-refundable registration fee; making the total payment of the festival $225. The fee includes the cost of housing and dinners, with lunches being the student’s responsibility. Students who are accepted to their state's All-State Ensemble (band, orchestra, or jazz), will receive a $50 scholarship to the festival. Students may, instead of staying at the hotel, elect to participate as a commuter each day. The festival fee for commuters is $75 plus a non-refundable $50 registration fee. Total cost of the festival for commuters is $125. Commuter students participate in all festival events except those taking place at the hotel and must be present from 9 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. 


Resident participants stay at the Lawrence DoubleTree with a staff of KU Graduate Teaching Assistants as chaperones for the weekend. Dinner is provided for both Friday and Saturday along with a light snack before the concert on Sunday. Students should bring money for lunch at the DeBruce Center on Friday and downtown at local restaurants during their free time on Massachusetts Street on Saturday. 


Festival participants are responsible for providing their own transportation to The University of Kansas before and after the Prairie Winds Festival. During the festival, a bus will take students to all festival events. Lawrence is roughly one hour from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI).  Transportation to and from the airport is available. For assistance with transportation, please contact festival coordinator Tom Davoren.


If you are a senior in high school who intends to audition for the KU School of Music, please make sure to check Yes on your registration form! You may contact our School of Music recruiter for questions regarding auditioning for entrance into the School of Music

School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.