Jill Valley

(KPAX) When the Grizzly Marching Band takes the field at halftime during the Brawl of the Wild on Saturday, they won't be joined by their Montana State counterparts.

The long-time tradition of both bands performing for the big game came to an end this spring as a way to increase the number of tickets available to fans.

University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam told MTN News in an email that both UM and MSU decided to reduce the number of tickets provided to the visiting team from 800 to 500. The decision opens up more tickets to be sold by both schools as season tickets and also gets more hometown fans into the seats.

In the end, it meant there weren't enough tickets left to accommodate the visiting band. The decision has angered some based on social media comments since it's been a decades-long tradition. It’s also a disappointing development for the UM Marching Band.

"One of the best things about being able to travel is that we would get together with the MSU band, and we would play tunes back and forth and then at halftime. We did a combined number with more than 300 Montana students on the field and we played together,” Grizzly Marching Band Director Dr. Kevin Griggs said. “We showed that you can be in support of your team but not be rude to each other. We can work together still."

"One of my favorite things is getting to spend time with the Bozeman band. As much as the Cats fans are kind of a rough crowd, the band has always been wonderful,” Grizzly Marching Band Drum Major Den Debar told MTN News. “There a lot of fun to be with, to hang out with and when we do our shows back-to-back it's a lot of fun to see the work they've put in. Since we don't get to see [them], since we're always at our games while they're doing theirs.”

Disappointment aside, the Grizzly marching band is working hard on their Saturday halftime show.