ND Stadium Tunnel Not Big Enough for Purdue Drum

Brock Fritz Headshot

The Purdue University marching band will play Saturday without the World’s Largest Drum for the first time since 1979.

Purdue Bands & Orchestras tweeted Thursday that Notre Dame “won’t let it on the field this weekend,” while the Indianapolis Star’s Gregg Doyel added that the drum can’t fit through the visiting team’s tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

ESPN reported that Aaron Yoder, a spokesman for Purdue’s bands and orchestras, said “According to a communication from the University of Notre Dame, our Band will not be permitted to take the World's Largest Drum through their tunnel and onto the football field for this Saturday's game. Notre Dame Athletics has restricted use of their main tunnel to their own football team and band, which is the only entrance large enough for the Drum. We have been told that visiting teams and bands have to use a separate tunnel that is much smaller. Our Drum is about 10 feet tall on its carriage and 565 pounds so it doesn't even come close to fitting in this other tunnel."

Purdue is celebrating 100 years with the drum, which was built in 1921 and is more than 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide, according to Sports Illustrated. The Purdue band has brought the drum to Notre Dame Stadium in the past, although the Indiana rivals haven’t met in South Bend since a 2017 stadium renovation added a visitor’s tunnel.

According to ESPN, “The last time the band was without it was in 1979, when it went missing from storage the night before Purdue played Northwestern. It was later found behind an air conditioner in an area accessible only by ladder, which led to speculation that it had been stolen and moved.”

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