American Tours & Travel Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I book my trip through an agency?
Every group should book through an agency because they can alleviate the headaches that come along with group travel. Especially in the High School Band market, the Band Director is a Director, not an agent. By booking through an agency, the Director can direct and let the experts handle the arrangements.
Why should I book my trip through American Travel & Tours, Inc.?
With over 35 years in the group travel business, we are experts in our field. Our family of agents has many years of experience and we can find the answers to the many questions groups have about traveling as a group. It is one thing to book a trip for yourself or your family, but quite another when booking for a group of 50, 100 or more.
American Tours and Travel, Inc. is the leading operator of group travel; specializing in Band Groups and Student Travel. We offer all means of transportation including air travel, motor coach and train travel. We supply ground transportation for groups traveling by air and first class accommodations within the United States.
We have an extensive network with airlines and motor coach companies throughout the United States. Our experienced “family of professionals” works with you to help you get to your destination with ease and comfort, right down to the last detail.
Our partnership with Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando and many other Theme Parks give you the advantage of our buying power. Our relationships with these attractions are reciprocal and we help each other to ensure you the best and most exciting trip ever. Memories abound!!
We have the difference of a real partnership between our suppliers, you, the customer and our “family of professionals”.
The key to our recognized success is our faith in strong partnership, outstanding customer service by our “family team” and our exceptional rates and ability to obtain the BEST for you and your group of travelers.
How far in advance should I start planning my trip?
Depending upon the size of the group, you should start planning between 9 months to one year prior to travel. This will allow you to take advantage of the best travel arrangements and hotel accommodations. Those who wait usually end up with the least desirable travel arrangements and hotel accommodations.
What deadlines should I keep in mind when planning a student trip?
If you plan to travel by air, please keep in mind that the airlines do have deposit and deadline dates. Most airlines require a deposit within 60 days of when the seats are booked. After this date, the group will have a date by which they may cancel (depending upon the airline) without penalty. Names of all passengers including first, middle and last name plus date of birth are due 45 days prior to departure. Usually 30 days prior to departure the group may reduce the seats without penalty. If this deadline is not met, the deposit for those seats not cancelled will be forfeited to the airline.
What information do I need to have before I start planning my trip?
The most important information you should have is to BE CERTAIN that you are traveling with a reputable and respected agency such as American Tours and Travel, Inc.
It is also IMPERATIVE that you choose an agency which is insured. Many agents are NOT INSURED. Our policy protects you from the time you leave your school until the time you return.
You should require the agency to supply you with a contract which explains everything included in your tour and the payment deadlines. Along with this you should be supplied with flight manifest forms, hotel rooming list forms, baggage forms, etc. and dates when these items are due.
American Tours and Travel, Inc. leaves no stone unturned. We supply all of these necessary items and also a copy of our insurance coverage. We want to make sure there is no misunderstanding between our family of professionals and you or your representative.
I’ve never attended a music festival or competition before. What do I need to know?
You need to know the location of the festival or competition so this information can be passed along to your motor coach company so they can make sure you arrive on time.
You should always ask if there is a changing area. We ask that our participants arrive dressed in their uniforms. If the group has more than one performance, they can change on their motor coaches or in the facilities at the location.
You should inquire about a rehearsal area. Most other festivals do not offer this. We allow each group a 20 minute warm-up in a rehearsal room near the actual performance area. We guide each group into warm-up and then lead them to the performance area. After the performance, our staff leads them off stage and into the photo area.
You should ask about what percussion instruments will be provided at the site as this equipment is too large to transport unless you are transporting this equipment by truck from your hometown. We provide most large percussion equipment on site so you do not have to bring your own.
You should ask how may performing groups you can enter into the festival or competition.We allow no more than four performances per group so the performances can be held on the same day. This gives you time to enjoy the area attractions once you have completed the festival or competition. Some festivals allow more than four performances, but most likely this will take place over two days.
Can I participate in multiple festivals during the same trip?
This is something we don’t recommend, but when the director insists, we usually suggest our competition along with Festival Disney. It is not recommended that you combine two different music festival companies on the same trip.
All American Music Festival Frequently Asked Questions What is the All American Music Festival?
The All American Music Festival is a music competition which is held each weekend from March through June in Orlando, Florida. High School Bands from across the United States including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Bands from Puerto Rico, Canada, Newfoundland, Japan and Guam travel to Orlando, Florida to compete in the most prestigious and oldest Music Festival in Orlando. Each group enters into one or more of the following categories: Concert Bands, Orchestras, Jazz Bands, Marching Bands, Choirs, Color guards and various types of quartets. Each performing group is adjudicated by University Professors of Music from several Universities throughout the State of Florida. Each group competes for ratings and prizes. The competition is held at a local High School in Orlando which in turn supports the local band.
The All American Music Festival is dedicated to the educational value of the Arts in High Schools and supports continuing education in this area. Each band is disciplined in the mastery of one or more musical instruments. The students learn how to read and play music not only individually but by working together as a group. They learn stage presence, timeliness and following the direction of their Director. It is a wonderful learning experience for each member; not only do they learn music, but they also learn the ways of traveling to another city, staying in a hotel away from their parents and this gives them the opportunity to grow as they become adults.
Who can attend the All American Music Festival?
Any group can attend as long as they are affiliated with a Middle School, High School or College Music program. Most participants are of High School age.
How much does it cost?
Prices do vary depending upon the size of the group. Now is a good time to call a All American Music Festival representative for answers to this question.
How far in advance must I sign up?
The earlier you make your reservation, the better your schedule will be on the performance date you choose. However, we will accept applications at the last minute as long as there is a slot in the schedule to fit your group in.
Is there a minimum number of participants required?
Yes and no. Each performing unit usually travels with a larger number of participants so if you have a jazz trio or a string quartet, you will be allowed to perform.
Are auditions necessary?
The All American Music Festival does not require auditions; however, some area Theme Park festivals may require a taped audition and photo of the performing group.
What about classifications and scheduling?
Each group will be classified based on school enrollment. Classes range from A to AAAAA. Certainly a group which has a High School of 500 would not be competing with a group with a High School enrollment of 2500. Therefore, you will be competing with the same groups in your class.
Our scheduling maximizes extreme ease and efficiency. We will not schedule a group to perform at 8:00 am and then their next performance at 4:00 pm. Although, we are very sightful of the educational aspect of the music festival, we do know there are plenty of wonderful Theme Parks to visit and have fun.
How much time is allowed for warm-up and performance?
Each group is allowed a twenty minute warm-up prior to performance and a thirty minute performance on the main stage.
What type of equipment will be provided?
The All American Music Festival normally supplies most large percussion equipment, saving you the expense of transporting this equipment. Each individual is responsible for bringing their own personal instrument. Items such as String Bass are not usually available, but we can make arrangements for loans from other schools or rentals.
What about clinics?
Each performing group will receive a 5-10 minute on stage mini clinic by one of the adjudicators. We can also arrange for Master Classes at nearby Universities.
What do students receive for participating in the festival?
Each performing group is given a rating of Superior, Outstanding, Excellent or Fair. In addition, each group receives a plaque with this rating. Each group also receives a trophy with their placement that day in the festival; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Special trophies are also given to individuals for outstanding performances in certain sections or solos. At the end of the festival season all scores for the entire season will be compiled and posted on our website where you can see how you compare to schools throughout the country.
What is a typical festival day like?
Each group will be met at the festival location by one of our professional, adult coordinators. They will be briefed as to the locations of the warm-up area, performance area, cafeteria and lavatory facilities. They will then be asked to leave their instrument cases on the bus so the campus does not get over loaded with cases. Then the Director will proceed to the greeter’s table where they will leave their musical scores in the order they are to be performed along with a seating chart for each group.From there, another professional will take them to the warm-up area where they will have five minutes for entering the area and getting into position. They will then have twenty minutes for a warm-up. From there they will be taken to the Main Performance Stage where they will enter the stage and get into position. They will then have 30 minutes for their performance followed by a 5-10 minute mini clinic. After their performance someone else will direct them from the stage to the photographer where he will take a group photo. This photo will then be posted on our website where you can access it and send it to friends, family, etc. After this, the group will change into their street clothes and proceed to their motor coaches and are free to enjoy the remainder of their day in the Theme Parks or other activity. This is a continuous cycle throughout the day; all going smoothly and easily. In the evening, sometime between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm we will hold an Awards Presentation at a local Theme Park, usually Universal Studios Orlando. Trophies and plaques will be awarded with ratings announced. At the completion of the ceremony the Director will come to the stage and pick up his musical scores, adjudicators written comments and a personal gift. That concludes a typical day at the All American Music Festival!