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Jump on the band-wagon

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 24, 2008 at 16:53

In Reply to: Jump on the band-wagon posted by ESC on October 24, 2008 at 16:30:

: : I've only just wondered when and where the phrase to 'jump on the band-wagon' - meaning to follow something after it has become successful - started.

: : is it to do with parades and floats?

: Yes. It is a literal term -- a wagon that carries a circus band through town. See //

Although doubtless the bandwagons associated with Barnum's circus were gaudy implements of entertainment, they were by no means the only bandwagons to be seen in 19-th and 20th-century America. In many communities, concerts outdoors by bands were the principal form of concerts available, and band concerts were relished. Sousa's band didn't just hang around Washington, DC, but played to large crowds in numerous cities and villages around the country. Some villages had a permanent bandstand in the middle of town, perhaps in a village park, some villages (including the one in which I spent my childhood) had a village bandwagon, which could be moved onto the street when needed for concerts by a local band (often a high school band).

I have heard that some English villages in the last century (and perhaps earlier) were unusually passionate about bands and band music, and I would like to learn more about that from those in the know, if any care to comment.

Of course, if any bandwagons were literally jumped on (which seems doubtful), it was not the static bandstands and bandwagons mentioned here.