Tuscaloosa marching band cancels London New Year’s Day performance out of caution

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The Tuscaloosa County High School marching band has canceled their trip to London after recent terror attacks.

Band director Jed Smart made the decision, as the band was scheduled to perform at the 2018 London New Year’s Day parade.

Senior student and band member Jacob Youngblood agreed with the decision.

“It was good not to go, we wouldn’t want to get over there and something happen considering the New Year’s Day Parade is such a big event,” Youngblood said. “I think it is a good call not to attend that event.”

Smart says his students’ safety has to come first.

“I think that for the safety of these kids, that we need to stay home right now,” Smart said.

In May, 23 people were killed after a bomb exploded at a concert.  In June, eight more died in a stabbing attack.  Two weeks later, ten were injured and one person was killed after a driver used a van to crash into a group.

Because of the violence, Smart was not going to take chances.

“Our chances of going over there and being safe are really good,” Smart said. “But it is still a gamble and the chips I am playing with are people’s kids and I am not prepared to do that.”

Youngblood understands and respects the decision made by his band director but is still disappointed.

“Everybody is disappointed, since it is like a once in a lifetime event,” Youngblood said.

 The total cost of the trip was $3,500 per person.  The school is trying to refund the band members but the band director says they can’t guarantee that will happen.

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