The 2005 Picnic Day Battle of the Bands drew a huge crowd.

The Picnic Day Battle of the Bands is just like a regular Marching Band Battle, except for this extra special rule:

  • The last song played MUST be Aggie Fight. And this means that the Aggie Band-Uh! wins (again-uh!) (or ties).

(This is true. The Aggie Band ALWAYS wins or ties. But this is the case in every battle the Band-Uh! fights. The Picnic Day Battle only differs in the number of bands fighting.)

History of the Battle

The 1941 Cal Aggie Band on the UC Davis Quad, long before the first Battle of the Bands!

The Battle of the Bands at UC Davis began on a Picnic Day in the early 1970's. As the legend goes, the California Aggie Marching Band-Uh! (All-Male at this time) had just finished marching through the Picnic Day parade for the second time that day, when they witnessed the Cal Band playing on the UC Davis Quad. Seeing that the Cal "Dirty Golden Bear" Band was infringing on their turf, the Aggie Band-Uh! marched onto the Quad and began defending its territory by blasting tunes back at the Dirty Bear Band. Of course, the Aggie Band prevailed, and a tradition was born.

The Aggie Band marching into battle, early 1980s.

In the years following, more and more bands were invited to the battle. Humboldt, Stanford, other UC's. Even Sac State a time or two! The last several years have included 6 bands, listed below in the 2006 Battle Results. Today thousands of Picnic Day goers spend hours down by Lake Spafford enjoying the spectacle.

The Aggie Band marching into battle, 2004.


  • Picnic Day 2010: Both the Aggie and Stanford Bands played lengthy sets. In addition, the Stanford Band also subtly mocked the Davis band with distinctive decorations on their tubas. UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and the Cal Band were also in attendance.
  • Picnic Day 2008: The battle ended as a draw between the Aggie Band and Stanford at 9:30PM. The audience was informed of the agreement to end a bit early and the other bands left amicably. Present were UC San Diego, the Cal Band, UC Irvine, Humboldt, Stanford, Oregon State, and the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh. The battle had beautiful weather, and good times were had by all.
  • Picnic Day 2007: The band directors agreed to end the battle at 9PM as a draw, where anything played after 9:00 would not count and no fight songs were to be played. This was an attempt to begin ending the battle at a reasonable time, while it was still fun, as had previously been accepted prior to the epic battle in 2004. Stanford and Humboldt's directors chose not to leave. The Aggie Band agreed to its own terms and marched out at 9PM and called the battle a draw. The incident was poorly managed in that it was unclear to the audience why the band was "losing." A clarification is here. Unfortunately, the Stanford and Humboldt directors did not disclose the terms of the agreement to their bands, letting them think that they won, when in fact they reneged on the terms of the battle. So according to Stanford and Humboldt, the Stanford band won the battle after 10:30. Humboldt came in second place, playing their fight song around 10:15 and UC San Diego took the third spot finishing sometime before 10:00. The Aggie Band-Uh! Alumni, (about 30 strong) were shocked when they showed up just after 10:30 to continue the battle - only to find the battle over, and to find their band had packed up and headed for dry land. Honorable Mention goes to newcomers Oregon State who undoubtedly will bring a deeper folder to next year's Battle.
  • Picnic Day 2006: At 11:20PM Stanford began to pack up their gigantic see-saw and play their fight song, on a seemingly endless loop as usual. Rumor has it that they still have their panties in a bunch from the when we beat them at football! The Battle ended with the Band-Uh's 2006 Fanfare (Ecstacy of Gold) and Aggie Fight began at exactly 11:30PM. The Battle started around 2PM, and included the Humboldt State Marching Lumberjacks, the Leland Stanford Jr. University Marching Band, the UC San Diego Triton Pep Band, the Cal Band, UC Irvine Band, and your very own California Aggie Marching Band-Uh!
  • UC Davis won the Battle of the Bands in 2005, finishing at 10:47PM against Stanford.
  • Picnic Day 2004: In '04, the California Aggie Marching Band-Uh set a new record by staying and playing at the battle until 2 AM. Not only that, but it was the first battle in like 10 years that was actually won, and not ended in a tie. Yet, according to Humboldt - the Aggie Band-Uh was disqualified for multiple infractions leaving Humboldt and Stanford to win. This was the infamous "smoke out" incident, where certain members of the Aggie Band-Uh filled up barbecues with cardboard, lit them on fire to fan the thick smoke towards the Humboldt band in an attempt to get them to capitulate. Both sides still claim victory to this day. Thankfully, things have been much friendlier since then, with the two bands enjoying a more healthy, positive relationship.
    • (This is true. I know. I was there for all 12 hours of it, playing. - ThomasFifield)
    • (This is probably the longest in recent memory. Until the cops started cracking down in the early-mid 90's the battle regularly ran well past midnight. It sounds like 2004 was more like the way it used to be with a protracted battle rather than a genial ending at an appointed time. - RogerClark)
    • This incident, along with the Stanford run in '06 prompted the change in attitude by the Band-Uh! towards the creation of the "Exhibition of the Bands" rather than a true "Battle"

You can read more about the Aggie perspective of the 12-hour battle of 2004 here.

One member from Humboldt State had a hardhat with this to say about the UC Davis Band-uh.