FAQ

Why should I choose Forum Music Festivals?

Forum Music Festivals has hosted thousands of music groups of every age and ability for many years. Our founders were music educators who understood what it takes to build and maintain a music program.

The founders’ focus was to support directors, encourage students, and promote music standards. That remains our focus today.

Constructive, professional adjudicators offer feedback to enrich your students’ musical education and reinforce your classroom teaching.

We welcome all one-day and overnight participants alike. We are budget-friendly, a great fit and there's a place for every ensemble.

It is always our pleasure and privilege to work with music educators and students.

One-Day Festival Package Details

Our one-day festival packages are budget-friendly, ensuring all schools and ensembles can participate in an area festival.

  • Performance in a concert-quality theatre
  • Recorded & written comments by leading adjudicators
  • Inspiring, fun awards ceremony at the venue
  • Rated, non-competitive or “comments only” performance
  • Customized plaque for each group
  • Musicianship plaque awarded by the judges to a student or section from each ensemble
  • Admission to major theme parks & attractions
  • Meal in the Park add-on option
  • Add a Forum Select post-festival clinic on selected dates & destinations
  • Complimentary theme park ticket for each director
  • Complimentary recording of group’s performance
  • Flexible payment schedule—only pay for those who play

Prices are based on the theme park selected. Prices and festival dates available here.

$100 non-refundable registration fee for up to 2 performing ensembles. $100 for each additional ensemble over 2. Early bird discounted registration of $75 if paid by due date prior to 12/31/17.

Visit our Festival Registration page to register for a one-day package.

Custom Overnight Package Details

Our custom overnight packages are built to reflect your tour goals and budget. We look forward to setting up a great trip for you!

  • Performance in a concert-quality theatre
  • Recorded & written comments by leading adjudicators
  • Inspiring, fun awards ceremony at the venue following the festival, not at the park
  • Rated, non-competitive or “comments only” performance
  • Customized plaque for each group
  • Musicianship plaque awarded by the judges to student or section from each ensemble
  • Admission to major theme parks & attractions
  • Lodging at a deluxe hotel near the festival or attractions
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Meal in the Park add-on option
  • Forum Select post-festival clinic-selected dates & destinations.
  • Complimentary theme park & lodging for each director
  • Complimentary recording of group’s performance

Customize a package just for your group!

We want to help you plan a trip that blends the interests and budget of your group. Additional nights at the hotel, attractions, meal options, concerts, and specific suggestions give you many choices for a memorable trip. Contact us today for a no-obligation detailed proposal.

Visit our Festival Registration page to register for a custom overnight package.

What happens at the Festival?

Your day starts with a warm welcome at the check-in desk. Turn in your original conductor’s scores for the adjudicators. A runner will guide your group to the warm-up room, then onstage for performance. The stage is pre-set according to your instructions.

Performance slots are 20 minutes for choral and 25 minutes for instrumental groups. Our announcer will introduce your group. Plan 2-3 pieces of 12 to 15 minutes of music.

Two adjudicators will assess your ensemble’s performance and provide recorded and written feedback. Part of the benefit of the festival is learning from other ensembles. You are encouraged to enjoy & support other festival performers.

Topping off the festival is an exciting Awards Ceremony held at the venue. Your students won’t want to miss it!

Before you leave the festival, stop by the front desk for your scores, the judges’ written comments, and theme park tickets. Judges’ recordings will be air-dropped or emailed to you. You’ll also receive a recording of your festival performance.

Forum Select, an add-on post-performance clinic, is offered on selected dates & destinations. Call us for dates and details.

What theme parks/activities may we choose?

Our one-day and custom overnight packages include theme park admission. You can choose from the following activities, however, we also are happy to arrange other activities if you prefer. Contact us for pricing and availability.

Anaheim/Los Angeles Area:

  • Disneyland Resort
  • Knott's Berry Farm
  • Universal Studios
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Medieval Times Dinner Theatre
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure
  • Museums, Presidential Libraries & Science Centers
  • Group meals at student-friendly restaurants
  • Symphony or music theatre tickets throughout Orange County/LA

San Francisco Area:

  • California's Great America
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
  • Museums & Science Centers
  • Exploratorium
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Bay Cruises or Alcatraz
  • Group meals at student-friendly restaurants
  • Symphony or music theatre tickets
  • Step-on guides for personalized city tour

San Diego Area:

  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Safari Park
  • Balboa Park
  • Seaport Village
  • USS Midway
  • Hornblower Cruise of the Bay
  • Museums & Science Centers
  • Historic Old Town San Diego
  • Group meals at student-friendly restaurants
  • Symphony or music theatre tickets
Where do we perform?

Performing in a suitable venue enhances your performance. Festivals are held at well-equipped venues with lighting & sound systems - many are college theatres or recital halls.

Is there a dress code for performers?

Informal attire is fine since most groups enjoy an activity after the festival. Many groups wear concert attire, but it’s not a factor in judging. No dressing rooms are provided at the venue.

What equipment is supplied?

We provide the following equipment at our festivals:

  • Tympani
  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes,
  • Xylophone
  • Grand Piano
  • Choral Risers
  • Recorded accompaniment playback
  • PA System – up to 6 microphones

(Other equipment may be available at individual venues. Please feel free to ask if you need any-thing other than what is listed above. No snares, cymbals, drum sets, or bass amps are available.)

A stage set up form is included with your performance schedule. Return the completed form to us before the festival and our stage crew will position your set-up for your performance!

Do I pick music from an approved list?

No, we do not have a preferred music list. Select literature appropriate to your group’s ability that plays to their strengths. Adjudicators comment that the most frequent error at festivals is music selection that’s too demanding for the group. Performing difficult music poorly doesn’t impress judges.

Do the adjudicators need original scores?

Yes. Bring 2 original conductor’s scores for the adjudicators. Photocopies scores are acceptable unless accompanied by a letter from the publisher.

When will we be scheduled to perform?

Performances are scheduled approximately 4 to 6 weeks prior to the festival.  Directors receive their performance schedule by email.

Directors must inform Forum Festivals 60 days prior of any transportation limits or other concerns that have an effect on your arrival at the festival . A $100 cancellation fee will be assessed for any performing ensemble pulled from the festival after the schedule is distributed.  See cancellation policy for details.

How much music may we play?

Choral ensembles have 20 minutes; instrumental groups have 25 minutes. This includes taking the stage, introductions, pausing between selections, and exiting the stage. Plan on 12 to 15 minutes of music, typically about 2 to 3 pieces per ensemble.

How are performing groups rated?

Forum Music Festivals’ non-competitive, rated format means that directors choose either a rat-ing (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, Merit) OR a “comments only” non-rated award—Excellence in Performance. Groups are not ranked. Regardless, all groups receive a plaque at the Awards Ceremony.

Because our adjudicators hear many groups during the festival season, you may evaluate your rating with schools of similar grade levels from across the country.

Groups awarded a gold rating are invited back the following year to participate in the Judges’ Invitational, an annual competition of the “best of the best.”

What types of ensembles are allowed to perform?

We are able to accommodate many different ensemble types. Typically our festivals see the following participants but please contact us directly if you have a unique ensemble that is interested in participating.

Concert Band

Concert/Chamber Choir

Show Choir

Orchestra

Jazz Band

What is Forum Select?

Forum Select is an add-on post-performance clinic with a master clinician. A clinician will hear the festival performance, then escort the group to a separate clinic room or join the group onstage to work with the director and the group for 20 to 25 minutes. Forum Select is only available for select destinations on specific dates. For available dates, please visit our Festival Dates and Pricing page. For more information and pricing, please contact office@forummusicfestivals.com.

Tell me about the Award Ceremony...

Your students deserve a great awards ceremony! Our Award Ceremony acknowledges and celebrates your students' hard work and supports other performers. Awards typically last 15 minutes.  Each ensemble receives a customized plaque and a musicianship plaque to one student/section from each ensemble.

Awards are held  at the festival venue. It’s fun, positive, and motivational. Your group may enjoy the balance of the day with no interruption of your afternoon or evening.

How long is the Award Ceremony? Do we have to attend?

Our Award Ceremonies are a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate your students' hard work. They typically last about 15 minutes but we highly recommend attending. Although you are not required to attend, we believe our Award Ceremony is a highlight of your trip and your students will miss out on a valuable and encouraging educational experience.

We want to participate! How do I register?

Registering your group is easy! You may…

Register at our website: www.forumfestivals.com. The quickest way to secure a date, our website walks you through the registration process. Create a new online account or access your current account.

Telephone in your registration. We’ll answer your questions and register your group over the phone. Remember—registration is confirmed once registration fees are paid.

Complete your online registration or call us with your information and your ensemble has a tentative spot in the festival line-up. A $100 non-refundable registration fee for up to 2 performing ensembles confirms the date for one or two performing groups. Entries are scheduled on a first come basis upon receipt of the registration fee. Additional ensembles over two from the same director are registered on a space-available basis at a $100 registration fee for each additional group. Early bird discounted registration of $75 available if paid by due date prior to 12/31/17. Schools attending on two different dates are required to register for each date and the registration fee is required for both dates. At the time of registration, please note any information that will affect your arrival at the festival.

What is your payment schedule?

Forum Music Festivals will reserve a spot in the performance schedule based on receipt of registration & registration fees. All fees must be paid in full prior to participation at the festival. Schools delinquent in payment of festival fees will be removed from performance schedule.

Payment may be made on our website or by submitting a check to Forum Music Festivals. Our payment system online is the most secure and immediate way to pay outstanding deposits and invoices.

One-Day Packages:

Please make note of the following financial deadlines:

50% of per person festival fees (based on estimated attendance) is due 60 days prior to the festival date. The final payment based on the confirmed attendance is due 30 days prior to the event.

Changes regarding the number of students and chaperones are permitted up to the final payment, but directors are required to confirm their student and chaperone numbers no later than 10 days prior to the festival.

Overnight Packages:

Please make note of the following financial deadlines.  Payment schedules can be customized to meet the needs of the group’s fundraising activities. Consult with Forum Music Festivals to create a customized payment schedule.

  • 30 Days Following Registration –  Registration fee & hotel deposit per person which will be applied to final package balance.
  • 90 Days Prior to First Date of Travel – One-Third of total estimated package balance which will be applied to final package balance.
  • 60 Days Prior to First Date of Travel – One-Third of total estimated package balance.  Rooming List due at this time.
  • 30 Days Prior to First Date of Travel – Final balance of total confirmed package based on Rooming List.

Schools must submit an accurate rooming list 75 days before the festival date so we can prepare a final invoice due 30 days before the trip.  Most hotels require a room list at 30 days or the reservation may be dropped. Some hotels have earlier due dates, but we will advise the director, as needed.

Directors are allowed one change at no charge after the rooming list is submitted to FMF after due  date.  Rooming list changes are not allowed after the 30-day deadline. After that first change, a fee will be charged for added changes.

Overnight proposals and packages are subject to hotel availability at the time that the group approves the trip which may affect per person pricing from the initial proposal.

Important Dates:

  • Upon approval, return Acceptance/Acknowledgment form
  • 1st payment - Return Contract (sent with first invoice)
  • 75 days prior to festival: Submit final rooming list online.
  • 4-6 weeks prior to festival: Final performance schedule released
  • 30 days prior to festival: Participant Release forms due for ALL participants (sent with first invoice)
  • 30 days prior to festival: Set-up sheets and director comments due (sent with final performance schedule)
  • 3 weeks prior to travel: Itinerary finalized
  • 1 week prior to travel: Pre-arrival package shipped to school with tickets, itinerary, and helpful information
  • Note: Airfare will be billed separately based on carrier due dates and requirements

Registration after 90 days:

Forum Festivals staff will confer with any director of groups that register after the 90-day deadline to agree on financial deadlines based on amount of time remaining prior to the festival.

Overnight proposals and packages are subject to hotel availability at the time that the group approves the trip which may affect per person pricing from the initial proposal.

Payment Details:

The registration fee does not apply toward any trip balances. Invoices will be available to the director prior to each due date.  Notify Forum Music Festivals immediately of changes in participant numbers, date changes, or rooming list changes. Forum Music Festivals accepts district purchase orders, but all fees must be paid in full prior to the trip.

Students with theme park annual passes will be charged a “festival only” fee for participating in the festival.

Helpful Forms & Downloads

Below are several useful forms and resources that you may need as a festival participant.
Please contact office@forummusicfestivals.com with any questions.

Participant Release Form

Stage Set-up Form (Complete by Hand)

Stage Set-up Form (Digital version for instrumental groups)

Judges' Invitational Stage Set-up Form

Director Comments Form

• 2018 Director's Guide

• Disney Performing Arts Application

How do I budget the cost of a festival trip?

Calculating trip costs has several parts, including lodging, meals, buses, and activities. If you are trying to stay within a budget number, let us know that right from the start. That helps us make suggestions that match your needs within the budget. With your estimated budget, we’ll sketch out an itinerary to start the planning. Together, we can plan the itinerary to fit your group’s interests.

Plan early. Allow time for students to meet fundraising goals. This yields a higher ratio of involvement. Start with a realistic number to avoid returning to students for more funds later. Building in a surplus gives you options — refund money, or plan a special meal or extra outing.

Create a timeline for collecting funds. Take into account holiday breaks and payment process-ing time. Busing is a large part of the travel budget. Determine these costs before giving a per person cost to students. Base your transportation expenses on a realistic number of travelers, so if there’s a drop in numbers, your bus expense will be covered. Other charges may apply— a day sleeping room for the driver, driver’s rooms, parking or toll fees.

How many chaperones should we bring?

Many groups recruit chaperones based on a 1 per 10 ratio. Check with administration for guidelines. Be specific about chaperone’s expectations before the trip. Responsibilities can include bus counts, room checks, managing equipment, supervising behavior, enforcing curfews. Chaperones often are in charge of a preset group of students. Make them aware that, though the trip is enjoyable, their job is to supervise students. Check with your district to verify requirements for chaperones, i.e. background checks, fingerprinting, etc.

Do you offer scholarships?

YES! Forum Music Festivals offers one student scholarship for each consecutive year of participation up to five years or 10% off total student balance, whichever is less. Scholarships are deducted on the final invoice once student numbers are confirmed. Scholarships apply to one-day and overnight packages (hotel, festival, breakfast, theme park) and are available to school groups that book directly with Forum Music Festivals, not through outside tour operators or travel planners.

Can you arrange our lodging?

YES! Hotel accommodations are reserved at hotels near your activities. When selecting a hotel for your group, safety and security are of the highest importance. Groups are only lodged at quality hotels with interior corridors. We request that student rooms be blocked close to chaperone rooms. Rooms are requested on the second floor or higher. We do not book student groups in rooms with outdoor access.

Our relationship with specific hotels helps keep your trip within budget. Any specific requests you provide to us is shared with the hotel.

Many bus companies require a paid day sleeping room for each driver if the group requires transportation at night. We can book a room for your bus drivers at your hotel whether or not we have arranged your charter bus transportation. Driver’s rooms must be listed on the rooming list. Charges for bus driver’s rooms vary. This information will be listed on your itinerary - no surprises!

How many are assigned to each room?

Students usually stay 4 or 5 to a room. Chaperones usually stay 2 to a room. Packages include a complimentary room for each director.

Pricing listed on your itinerary is a per person price based on quad (4/room) or quint (5/suite), triple, double, or single occupancy package with lodging, breakfast, & activities.

How do I submit my rooming list?

After registering, you’ll receive an email giving you access to our online rooming list form with your due date indicated. Complete the form for all travelers (students, adults, drivers).

Your rooming list is due to us at least 75 days prior to your trip. Certain hotels require earlier due dates, but our staff will advise you if this applies to your trip.

Can I make changes to my rooming list?

Changes occur in student travel, so we’re as flexible as possible. Additions are allowed through Forum, based on hotel availability. After submitting your rooming list, you may change the rooming list one time at no additional fee. After that, a charge for each subsequent revision applies. No changes to the rooming list is allowed after the 30-day deadline. Please see our cancellation policy for more details.

Can the hotel keep our group together?

Your group’s room block is based on your rooming list. Chaperone rooms are blocked between student rooms. Directors often request boys’ and girls’ rooms be on different floors. We’ll communicate your requests to the hotel.

What about meals?

Breakfast is included on all Forum Music Festival custom overnight trips. Meal vouchers may be added. We’ll also work with your budget to schedule other meals you need at student-friendly restaurants.

Can you arrange our travel or other activities for our trip?

Absolutely! We arrange everything from theatre, symphony tickets to bowling parties, trips to Alcatraz, sightseeing tours, clinics, workshops, and everything in between.

Contact us for a custom package perfect for your students.

What about ground transportation?

Our relationship with reputable bus companies yields competitive rates and you save money! You will receive a no-obligation quote based on your itinerary. Here are a couple of initial tips to get you started:

  • Let’s order buses as soon as you have a confirmed date. We work with bus companies to get a clear picture of costs upfront so you have an accurate quote. A deposit may be required to hold your bus.
  • The Department of Transportation determines rules about off-duty hours for drivers. Safety is top priority. Drive time limits are key when planning your return trip.
  • Traffic jams, bathroom breaks, and surprises happen. Our itineraries provide drivers with precise destinations. We confirm it all so you don’t have to!
Do we need transportation from hotel to festival to theme park?

Yes, the venues are 15 to 30 minutes from the hotel or theme park. Inquire about hotel shuttles and other options. We have resources to help you keep costs down.

Are there other venues or performance opportunities in which we can perform?

YES! We have many different opportunities for groups to perform outside of the Festival. Contact us directly for more information.

What about a tour escort?

Our itineraries are so thorough, you won’t need a tour escort. However, we can schedule someone to meet your group to handle check-in & other stops on your itinerary, as your budget will allow.

How may I stay informed and up-to-date with Forum Music Festivals?

We'd love to keep you posted on everything happening with Forum Music Festivals! Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, our mailing list, and follow us on Facebook.  Don't forget to tag us using @forummusicfestivals and post your favorite Festival photos directly to our page!

I have forgotten my password. How can I find out what it is?

For your security, we do not have access to your password. Please use your username or email associated with the account and request a new password on the log-in screen.  From there, you can create a new password and access your account.

What is your cancellation policy?

Registration fees are non-refundable. Theatre tickets are non-refundable. Bus and hotel deposits may not be refundable. Cancellation requests, signed by a school official, must be faxed or mailed to our office. The postmarked date and time reflected on the FAX will be used as the cancellation date. Please allow 30 days after the festival for refunds.

Festival registration fees for both one-day and overnight packages are considered non-refundable and do not apply towards festival balances.

Cancelled one-day packages are subject to the following refund policy:

For packages cancelled 45 days or less  prior to the festival date, a time slot has been reserved for your performing group in the schedule and no refunds will be processed after that time.

Once the performance schedule has been released (approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the festival), a $100 cancellation fee will apply when directors remove an individual performing group from the schedule, but do not cancel the group in its entirety.  We are happy to add your additional performing ensemble as space permits, but directors must inform us when an ensemble will not perform prior to the release of the schedule so other ensembles may participate.

Cancelled overnight packages (including the hotel deposit) are subject to the following refund policy (applies whether entire group cancels or individual cancellations):

  • Prior to 60 days before first day of travel: Full refund minus registration fee or any non-refundable deposits (theatre, bus, hotel, etc).
  • 49-59 days prior to first day of travel:$25 per person fee will be assessed. All other payments will be refunded unless designated as non-refundable deposits.
  • 45 days or less prior to first day of travel:No refunds approved for group cancellations. No refunds approved for individual cancellations 30 days or less prior. Participants unable to travel may be replaced by another traveler but a $25 change fee may be assessed. Please contact FMF for options.

A Note on Attrition:
Forum understands changes occur in student travel. We accommodate changes to your package to the best of our ability. Pricing is based on current availability, fees, & taxes based on the total number of participants (students, chaperones, & educators). If that number changes, we may re-price your package to adjust prorated costs, etc. Please note that if the package is re-priced due to attrition, it will likely increase the per person price by just a few dollars.

The Fine Print (Release/Responsibility Clause)

Forum Festivals of Music, Inc. (dba Forum Music Festivals), its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors and assigns (collectively “Forum Music Festivals”) does not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your trip, including, for example, lodging facilities, transportation companies, local ground handlers, food service or entertainment providers, etc.  As a result, Forum Music Festivals is not liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person, or any other third party not under its control.  Without limiting the foregoing, Forum Music Festivals accepts no responsibility for any risk or injury, delay, inconvenience, damage, or death which results from criminal activity, terrorism or the threat thereof, weather or other acts of God, accidents, disease, epidemics or the threat thereof, illness, the provision of inappropriate or no medical attention, the demands of indoor or outdoor activities, attacks by animals, strikes, political or civil unrest, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations, structural or other defective conditions in hotels or other lodging facilities, insurrection or revolt, or any other event beyond its direct control.  Participant hereby agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Forum Music Festivals from any financial liability or obligation incurred by that individual participant and from any injury or damage to the person or property of others which that participant causes, or contributes to while participating in a Forum Music Festivals Program.  Forum Music Festivals retains the right to expel any participant from the Program at the participant’s expense (and with no refund) if it believes that person’s continuation in the Program exposes him or herself or others to a risk of harm.

Forum Music Festivals is not responsible for personal injury and/or physical damage arising from acts of negligence of any member of a group attending a Forum Music Festivals event.  If it becomes necessary or adviseable to cancel or alter the schedule of events, Forum Music Festivals may do so in its discretion.  By registering for the festival or program, the School agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Forum Music Festivals from any financial liability or obligation incurred by either the School, or any individual participant, and from any injury or damage to the person or property of others which any participant causes, or contributes to, while participating in a Forum Music Festivals event.  The School, by submitting the application, releases Forum Music Festivals from any and all causes of actions, claims and damages of any kind, or nature, whatsoever, arising from any injury, loss, damage, cost, accident, delay, irregularity, or expense arising out of, or in any way connected with, the performance or operation of a Forum Music Festivals program.  Forum Music Festivals disclaims all liability in actions resulting from the unlawful reproduction of parts and/or entire scores of music.

ARBITRATION

Any dispute concerning this Agreement, the brochure or any other material concerning the trip or the trip itself must be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration in Santa Ana, California pursuant to the current commercial rules of the American Arbitration Association then existent.  In any such arbitration, substantive (but not procedural) California law will apply without regard to the California Arbitration Act.

State of California Registered Seller of Travel:  CST 2098512-40. (Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.)

For California Consumers:Upon cancellation of the transportation or travel services, where the passenger is not at fault and has not cancelled in violation of any terms and conditions previously disclosed and agreed to by the passenger, all sums paid to the seller of travel for services not provided will be promptly paid to the passenger, unless the passenger advises the seller of travel in writing, after cancellation.  This providision does not apply where the seller of travel has remitted the payment to another registered wholesale seller of travel or a carrier, without obtaining a refund, and where the wholesaler or provider defaults in providing the agreed-upon transportation or service.

This transaction is covered by the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund (TCRF) if the seller of travel was registered and participating in the TCRF at the time of sale and the passenger is located in California at the time of payment.  Eligible passengers may file a claim with TCRF if the passenger is owed a refund of more than $50 for travel services which the seller of travel failed to forward to a proper provider or such money was not refunded to you when required.  A claim must be submitted to the TCRF within 12 mos. after the scheduled completion date of the travel.  A claim must include sufficient documentation to prove your claim and a $35 processing fee.  Claimants must agree to waive their right to other civil remedies against a registered participating seller of travel for matters arising out of a sale for which you file a TCRF claim.  Request a claim form by writing to:  Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation, P.O. Box 6001, Larkspur, CA. 94977-6001.

California law requires certain sellers of travel to have a trust account or bond.  Forum Music Festivals has a trust account.