Purdue band lacks World's Largest Drum for football game vs. Notre Dame

Purdue band lacks World's Largest Drum for football game vs. Notre Dame
Purdue will be without the World's Largest Drum this weekend for the first time at a football game since 1979. Photo by Purdue Athletics

Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Purdue's football team will play Notre Dame without one of its most-cherished trademarks this weekend, the World's Largest Drum, the band said.

Purdue band and orchestra spokesman Aaron Yoder told UPI on Friday that the 10-foot-tall, 565-pound drum is too big to fit through the visiting team tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium.


Purdue battles Notre Dame on Saturday in Notre Dame, Ind. The band expects 450 Boilermakers to perform.

"According to a communication from the University of Notre Dame [band], 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," Yoder said.

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"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."

Yoder said the last time the band didn't bring the drum to a game was in 1979, when it went missing.

Notre Dame and visiting teams previously used the same tunnel to enter the field, but several renovations in 2017 at Notre Dame Stadium resulted in new policies. Purdue hasn't played at Notre Dame Stadium since 2012.

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The renovations included the addition of separate entrances for the home and away team. Fans and bands are not allowed on the field during games. Both bands can perform on the field at halftime.

The drum, which features a solid maple shell, was built in 1921 and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, according to the Boilermakers Drumline website.

Purdue's self-proclaimed "World's Largest Drum" isn't recognized as such by Guinness World Records. That distinction belongs to a drum in South Korea, which stands at 19-feet, 6-inches high and weighs more than 15,000 pounds.

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Six band members are needed to operate Purdue's drum. They often jump off the front and ride on top of the instrument.

Purdue initially used a train to transport the drum. It now travels in the back of a pick-up truck.

The band uses the drum throughout its performances and sounds the instrument for every touchdown.

Purdue also invites famous people to hit the drum before its home games. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Gus Grissom and former President Harry Truman are among those who participated in that pre-game tradition.


Notre Dame (2-0) and Purdue (2-0) kick off at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturday. The game airs on NBC. The Fighting Irish, ranked No. 10 in the Coaches Poll, are seven-point favorites.

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