On Thursday, DCI announced an "event series" to take place during Championship Weekend in Indianapolis. While the full slate of performance opportunities is yet to be determined, DCI has started using the language of 2021 being a "bridge" to a full return in the summer of 2022.
It's understandable. While the start of the season is still six months away, now is when plans would be put into place: venues booked, housing secured, schedules set - and as the pandemic rages on with no knowledge of its end, DCI is right to plan for contingencies. Moreso than perhaps any other sport or activity in the nation, a DCI tour schedule is at the behest of dozens, if not hundreds, of different regulational jurisdictions - municipal, state, national; school districts and public gathering limits; their ability to gather, rehearse, and paramount: perform for an audience are all variables when considering the viability of a season.
But as the league started talking about its plan, the two premier west coast corps - Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard - have announced that they won't be making the trip to Indy, detailing their roadmap to 2022, DCI's 50th anniversary.
If planning for a national tour is unthinkable at the current stage for most corps, it's even moreso for this Bay Area duo. While most corps boast a national tour, many eastern corps really only make it west of the Rockies once every few years, while the top flight California corps truly hit four time zones each summer they load the bus. This means they've got more to plan for, not the least of which is the financial piece.
It looks as though those two corps intend to craft a meaningful experience for their members, just one that sticks a good deal closer to home. I expect other corps may look to do the same in their own geographic regions, whether or not they ultimately make it to Indy. Coincidentally, schedules may look a good deal more regional, harkening back to the league's early days, for the year leading into the activity's golden jubilee. As long as it will keep the corps solvent to reach that milestone, I welcome it.