Mike Jackson posted this on Facebook last night.
The short: I'm officially altering my position on the DCI field percussion judge. I wasn't necessarily sold on the specificity of a field judge; more so, the lack of an alternative method to experience blend, balance, subtlety, and nuance from performer to performer. Moving forward, I'd like to see a field clear of adjudicators. If given the opportunity, I would vote as such.
The long: In all these years, I have yet to be convinced that we have the consistent depth in our caption to truly benefit from the aforementioned opportunities. This is not meant as a derogatory remark. It's just the truth as I see it. The system does the best it can with all the imperfect variables in the mix. Do the judges get the exact and equal sampling from night to night, or corps to corps? No. Impossible. I am convinced the only way to truly level the playing field is by experiencing everyone in the exact same manner from the exact same position. As much as I'm going to miss the up-close-and-personal reads, they're too problematic and too inconsistent to truly be the equalizer they're meant to be.
I also have to mention and somewhat concede the criticism this season regarding the safety of the performers. This, of course, is difficult to challenge. How does one take the stance against performer safety? Yikes. With that said, I think some of the criticism was unfair. Historically speaking, field judges have been around since...drum corps. Looking at some of the hyperbolic reactions, you'd think DCI had just implemented this method. I believe the field judges were unintentionally set up to fail. They were not implemented until later in the season, giving them less time to physically acclimate to the intricacies of each production. How could there not be issues? I didn't like seeing these individuals ridiculed, nor the system bashed for allowing this historically omnipresent approach to percussion evaluation. Yes, I believe it's time for a change. However, we can do it in a way that doesn't point fingers nor humiliate fellow humans.