MarchFourth Marching Band OFFICIAL WEBSITE: homepage.

It’s almost March 4, the 12th anniversary of our first show. We’re celebrating with a week of west coast shows Feb 28-March 8, but the big day is at the Crystal Ballroom (plus an all-ages family show on Tues., March 3rd benefiting the Joy Now Arts Project ). Join the party!



February 20th, 2015Celebrating 12 years!

It’s almost March 4, 2015, the 12th anniversary of our very first show. We’re celebrating with a week of west coast shows Feb 28-March 8, but the big day is Wed., March 4th at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland (with an all-ages family show on Tues., March 3rd benefiting the Joy Now Arts Project ). It’s always a good idea to get your tickets in advance. While the online tickets are convenient, if you want to save some dough, you can get hard tickets directly from McMenamins box offices ($1 service charge).

12year_marchfourth_web_final_newsletter 11thbday_mary stilts


In case you’ve never experience the M4 birthday show in years past, here’s a few glimpses into the past…

January 13th, 2015Winter Wonderland Tour 2015

The first tour of the year is off to a fantastic start. Sold out shows in Denver and Boulder (where the crowd’s chants throughout the night have become a theme for our tour), followed by a steamy rockin’ basement bar show in Frisco, CO (Pop. 2000) with Bonnie and the Beard (great band from Denver!) and a great fun crowd last night at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek (who helped soften the flow of the Ducks’ defeat). Super fans along the way have been cooking us dinner, bringing farm-fresh eggs to the tour bus (and other Colorado home grown garden bounty), and massaging away our aches and pains in the green room. We’re really feeling the love and we’re just getting started! These January dates are just the start of a long list of dates all over the country in 2015, so keep in touch and we’ll see you on the dance floor.

M4-handbill2015- tour flyer


October 26th, 2014On Tour Now

M4-handbill-2014 2015-tour flyer  Concert Calendar



September 15th, 2014GOSPEL score + parts

score cover gospel_landscapeWe’ve finally published a complete score for “Gospel”, based on the arrangement from our 2009 Rise Up recording, which was used in the hit film Monsters University. The PDF download includes the complete score, plus parts for Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, Trumpet in Bb 1, Trumpet in Bb 2, Trombone 1, Trombone 2, Electric Bass, Snare Drum, Shaker, Bass Drum, Cymbals, and Tri-toms.

August 14th, 2014Guardians of Craft

Got Brass


Name:  John Averill

Age:  146

Hometowns:  Eugene, OR, then Los Angeles, CA, then Portland, OR

Current occupation:  Bandleader and bass player for MarchFourth Marching Band

Based in Portland, Oregon, MarchFourth (nicknamed “M4″) is a marching band, but not your typical marching band.  They combine musical styles from across the globe and perform high energy shows with powerful sound and dazzling visual displays, including dancers and stilt walkers.  They’ve performed with No Doubt, Rebirth Brass Band, Galactic, Balkan Beat Box and more, and they’ve performed at such festivals as Burning Man.  This Friday, August 1, their tour brings them to the Beer Camp Across America, New England edition, in Portland, Maine.  Apart from aging with apparently remarkable grace (see above), John Averill is the band’s leader, and he generously agreed to take a break from touring and answer some questions from the Guardians of Craft blog.  G-blog is lucky–and grateful.

G-blog:  If funk, klezmer, New Orleans brass, and Serbian brass had an orgy one night, and a child of unknown parentage was born from them, I would say that child could be M4.  That’s how I might describe your sound, in other words.  But how would you describe the band’s sound?

J-Averill:  I’d say that’s pretty accurate.  There are some other missing genetics in the musical lineage you described, the most predominant being rock and jazz.  We’re sort of like Duke Ellington meets Sgt. Pepper with influences from all over the globe.  We’ll borrow elements from pretty much any genre, without having a singular genre to call our own.

G-blog:  Is there something that all the styles and influences that M4 draws on have in common?

J-Averill:  In terms of music, the common denominator is groove.  We strive to play music that moves people and gets them dancing.  In terms of the overall performance of the group, I’d say there is a thread of high-energy inclusiveness that forms the core of our ethos.

G-blog:  Let’s go back to the beginning.  What was “Chow Yun Fat Tuesday”?

J-Averill:  It was a party we threw in 2003 on Fat Tuesday.  I had been doing these “hybrid theme parties” for a couple of years in Portland that were influenced by the Burning Man festival, where the idea was to create a one-off band that learned a specific set of music for each event, and place the band within a multi-media event that included costumes, art installations, performance art, DJ’s, etc.  Chow Yun Phat Tuesday was a mix of Mardi Gras and the Chinese New Year, at least stylistically.  The date of Fat Tuesday in 2003 was March 4th, so we just decided to name the project after the date of the party since it seemed kind of obvious in terms of synchronicity.

G-blog:  Why the mismatched band uniforms?  (And isn’t “mismatched…uniform” an oxymoron?)

J-Averill:  That’s clever!  I never thought of that.  Well, since the event was a costume party then it seemed that wearing thrift-store/vintage marching band outfits would the obvious starting point for attire.  After 11 years we still kind of have that visual aesthetic as the foundation of our style, but we have no hard-core dress code so people are free to create their own variations loosely based on a marching band theme.  The mismatched aspect reflects the reality that we are all individuals expressing ourselves together in a team environment, in addition to the fact that it’s more challenging to find an entire set of matching band uniforms that actually fit everyone.  Plus, marching band pants are ridiculous contraptions that feature sliding zippers to accommodate a few (but not all) sizes, and they usually don’t have pockets.  So, we mostly focus on finding cool jackets.

G-blog:  What aspects of your own individual background prepared you to lead M4?

J-Averill:  The first thing that comes to mind is playing team sports.  I was a soccer freak growing up, and one of my favorite teams was a coed team that my dad coached when I was 12 years old.  We had more girls on our team than any other team in the league, and the other teams would laugh at us before games.  Then we’d kick their ass, and it wasn’t because we were more skilled; it was because we had chemistry and a team-first attitude.  We were like brothers and sisters.  That experience in particular reminds me the most of M4.  In terms of musical background: I don’t have any credentials other than growing up listening to a lot of music and then deciding to learn the bass at age 19.  I don’t have any formal training of any kind, and am the first to confess that in many ways I really don’t know what I am doing or how I’m able to do it.

G-blog:  The first song of yours that I shared with my friend who’s coming to Beer Camp with me was Simplon Cocek.  Since coceks are made for dancing, I was pleased that she promised to dance with me to it, but she confessed she wasn’t sure she knew how to dance to it.  I suspect it’s because of its irregular meter (it feels like 9/8 to me), which a lot of Eastern European brass songs have.  What advice, if any, would you give to someone unsure how to dance to such songs?

J-Averill:  That’s funny.  Whenever we play that song, or another song called Snake Five (which also has an odd time signature), I always scan the audience to see if anyone is dancing.  Usually, at best, there’s one or two people grooving to it.  In general, the types of people who can naturally move to odd meter songs are as follows: children, the elderly sun-baked blissed-out Colorado native, the random transient that stumbles into the free concert, or the person who has obviously taken acid before. My advice would be to literally close your eyes and let your body sort of shimmy about; there is a rhythm there for sure.  The way I move to it is to stay (literally) on my toes and bounce around.  If you try to use your linear brain you’ll just fall down, especially in this day and age where people are trained to move to a clock of some kind.

G-blog:  Can you tell me a bit about the process (or processes) by which most of your songs get composed and arranged?  Is it one or two members who do most of that heavy lifting, or is it more broadly collaborative?

J-Averill:  This band has many composers, and the biggest gift that former members have given us are great songs.  Currently, there are about five or six of us active band members writing for the band.  One in particular is really proficient right now.  Basically, how we work is: people write songs, work out the arrangement, create a demo, produce charts, and then we learn the song as a group.  Usually we accumulate a handful of new songs a couple times a year and then learn them in batches.  The drummers have to work as a section to create the grooves, and the horn players work on the melodic lines.  On bass I just try to glue it all together.  We’re starting to collaborate more these days, but haven’t had the time to work on new stuff because we’re constantly touring.

G-blog:  Two of your songs that I personally love are (the award-winning) Space Hole and also Crack Haus.  (Maybe Crack Haus is also  award-winning, but I just didn’t see that.)  How did you choose those titles?

J-Averill:  Space Hole was written by Robin Jackson (our original tenor sax player) who submitted it to a songwriting contest and won an award with it; he told me he wanted the song to sound like the soundtrack for a science-fiction action blockbuster.  Crackhaus was written by Jason Wells (one of our original trumpet players), and is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek attempt at European techno.  Both of those songs are off our first album, which is 10 years old.

G-blog:  You’ve played with some other great bands, including Pink Martini, Budos Band, Balkan Beat Box, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  Who are one or two bands with whom you’ve not played yet, that you think it would be really fun to jam with, and why?

J-Averill:  For sheer party madness, I think it would be fun to play with Gogol Bordello, but they have it in their rider that they won’t play with bands that have more members than they do, I suppose because size and spectacle are something we both have in common.  I recently stumbled on this band called Zongo Junction (from Brooklyn, NY) who were really great.  I bought their CD and it’s really trancy Afro-beat stuff.  One of the first bands we ever opened for years ago was Antibalas (also from NYC area).  I’d love to open for David Byrne or Peter Gabriel someday, just because I think they and their audience would appreciate what we’re trying to do.

G-blog:  What’s your favorite story from the band’s history that you can tell in brief?

J-Averill:  That’s tough.  We’ve had some fun, improbable, and borderline insane adventures so far.  Right now the most interesting story to me is the one that we’re in the middle of right now, which is: band goes on full-on summer tour wherein our bus breaks down in San Diego, we fly to Colorado and rent vans, four days later bus picks us up in Colorado and immediately breaks down again, then we hustle to Denver, rent three mini-vans and a box truck, and continue across country.  We are now in NYC, and in two days our (presumably fixed) bus is picking us up in Philadelphia to continue the tour to North Carolina.  Then we drive west to Salt Lake City and then home.  So far, miraculously, we have not missed a show on this tour (knock on wood).

G-blog:  Finally, since you’re coming to play at an event centered around beer, I have an alcohol-related question.  If there were a beer or cocktail called the March Fourth, what kind of a beer would it be, or if it was a cocktail, what would its ingredients be?

J-Averill:  In terms of beer I’ll take a crisp German-brewed MarchFourth pilsner any day.  The M4 cocktail would probably be: two shots determination, one shot gratitude, and a jigger of audacity.  Stirred, shaken, then stirred again.  Served with a Jameson’s back.

G-blog is deeply grateful to John for taking the time to answer these questions.  And I’m super excited to see the band perform at Beer Camp.  If you’re there in Portland for the event, and you see a 6’1 Black man grooving to the odd meter of Simplon Cocek, that’ll be me.  And even though I’m usually an IPA man, maybe I’ll have a pilsner in John’s honor.

August 14th, 2014US Fall Tour coming soon!

Our heroic M4 players are finally home and enjoying a much-needed vacation after this summer’s three-week “Murphy’s Law” tour that included two bus breakdowns, a rental moving-truck breakdown, a flat tire on a rental van, and a case of pneumonia (am I forgetting anything?!). Miraculously there were no canceled shows and the band didn’t kill each other traveling in rental vans for nearly 2 weeks. In fact they remained remarkably upbeat and positive — a true testament to their general attitude of Joy Now — and managed to put on killer shows from California to Maine, despite the challenges. Here are some great photo sets from a few shows on that tour:
It’s kind of hard to believe we’re about to do it all again here starting in early September: 25 shows in 2 months in 14 states, whew! (Sorry, no Burning Man for M4 this year.) By the way, if you’re interested in seeing us at the Chico Oktoberfest, get your tickets when they go on sale Friday August 15, since they sell out fast.
2014 Fall US Tour Dates 
Sun. Sept 7 Salem, OR Oregon State Capitol
Fri. Sept 12 Walla Walla, WA Gesa Power House Theater
Sat. Sept 13 Spokane, WA Bing Crosby Theater
Mon. Sept 15 Portland, OR Mondays on the Mall
Fri. Oct 3 Chico, CA Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
Sat. Oct 4 Chico, CA Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
Wed. Oct 8 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
Thu. Oct 9 Bethlehem, PA Musikfest Cafe
Fri. Oct 10 Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bowl
Sat. Oct 11 Baltimore, MD 8 x 10
Sun. Oct 12 Roseland, VA Festy Experience
Tue. Oct 14 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre
Wed. Oct 15 Charlotte, NC Chop Shop
Th-Fri Oct 16-17 Live Oak, FL MagnoliaFest
Sat. Oct 18 Black Mountain, NC LEAF Festival
Sun. Oct 19 Newberry, SC Newberry Opera House
Tue. Oct 21 Birmingham, AL WorkPlay Theater
Wed. Oct 22 Athens, GA Georgia Theatre
Thu. Oct 23 Atlanta, GA Terminal West at King Plow
Fri Oct 24 Saint Petersburg, FL State Theatre
Sat. Oct 25 Boca Raton, FL The Funky Biscuit
Tue. Oct 28 Talladega, AL Ritz Theater
Thu. Oct 30 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
Fri. Oct 31 New Orleans, LA TBA
Sa.-Su. Nov 1- 2 New Orleans, LA Voodoo

May 17th, 2014Official M4 Music Video: Shindig

We’re proud to present our first-ever professionally produced music video for our new single, Shindig (written by Cameron DePalma).

Get the track and video from iTunes and add it to your favorite playlist!


January 24th, 2014Fat Tuesday: MarchFourth’s 11th Anniversary Spectacular

This band was originally founded to play a Mardi Gras party in Portland, OR on Fat Tuesday March 4, 2003. The party was put on by a loosely organized group of artists who found each other in the early days of the Alberta Arts District. Following the huge success of their original Chow Yun Fat Tuesday party in 2002 (a Mardi Gras/Chinese New Year theme), the 2003 event (dubbed Chow Yun Fat Twosday) was to feature a marching band, complete with stilt walkers and fire dancers. Named after the date of the first show, MarchFourth Marching Band was born. So in many ways, this year’s 11th anniversary is a very special birthday. March 4th won’t fall on Fat Tuesday again until 2025!


All Ages early show: 
Doors/DJ GlobalRuckus: 6 pm
Joy  Now Band: 6:40 pm
M4: 7 pm
kids 3 and under: FREE
kids 4-12: $9 adv/$12 dos
teens/adults: $12 adv/ $15 dos

21+ late show
Doors/DJ GlobalRuckus: 9 pm
M4: 10 pm
21+ : $23 adv / $27 dos

We’re also offering a VIP ticket that includes entry to both shows and a meet & greet in Lola’s room 8-9 PM.



August 21st, 2013National Tour 2013


Thu. Oct 10 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel (Share the Facebook Event)

Fri. Oct 11 Harrisburg, PA Abbey Bar at ABC (Share the Facebook Event)

Sat. Oct 12 Arlington, VA Artisphere (Share the Facebook Event)

Sun. Oct 13 Virginia Beach, VA Jewish Mother (Share the Facebook Event)

Tue. Oct 15 St. Louis, MO 2720 Cherokee (Share the Facebook Event)

Wed. Oct 16 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck (Share the Facebook Event)

Thu. Oct 17 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre (Share the Facebook Event)

Fri. Oct 18 Bellvue, CO SpokesBuzz Lounge (Share the Facebook Event)

Mon. Oct 21 Portland, OR Mondays at the Mall

Sat. Oct 26 Portland, OR PSU Stott Center-with OKGO (Share the Facebook Event)

July 22nd, 2013Big Band in Little China: A Documentary Film project

We need your help to make a film about our trip to China. Visit our Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support before Aug 5, 2013!

Visit our Kickstarter campaign by Aug 5, 2013 to help fund this film!

MarchFourth spent two weeks in Henan,China as cultural ambassadors of the United States. Help us make the film and tell the story.

In April, 2013, MarchFourth Marching Band was honored to receive an invitation to do a US State Department cultural exchange tour in China, sponsored jointly by the United States Embassy in Beijing, Sias International University, Sias Foundation, and the Government of Henan China Cultural Affairs. We had only one month to prepare for the tour, and did not even receive the full itinerary until the band landed in Beijing. We really had no idea what we were in for.

The MarchFourth in China film traces the band’s path through Henan, a relatively remote province of China. Often referred to as the “Cradle of Chinese Civilization,” Henan culture is distinctly rural and far from the flashy bling of big cities like Shanghai or Hong Kong. Located in the fertile region of the Yellow River, the area’s economy is an agricultural and resource-based one. To put it in context, we were commonly advised to “think Kansas.” The freaky and urban MarchFourth juxtaposed against Henan’s traditionally more rural reality is at the heart of this story’s magic. While the band has much experience performing for unsuspecting audiences, the contrast between style and musical aesthetic in this culture was extreme, and got to the heart of the mission of the trip.

That such a large, eclectic, outside-the-box band was chosen to represent American musical culture struck many as an odd, but strangely perfect, choice. Fans and friends expressed their feelings of pride that something so very unique, that they felt connected to, would be sent on such a mission. Now we want to tell the story. We are producing a 50-60 minute documentary, including travel footage, live performances, behind-the-scenes intrigue, and video shot on an iphone from the “bands’-eye” view. The finished film will be free to watch on youtube, not a merchandise item. In order to give it away, and share it far and wide, we need your help. We are asking for just what we need to finance the completion, duplication, and release of the film. Please help us get this amazing story out to the world!