During his prime, Sousa was one of the best-known musicians in the world. Many consider him to be the first American superstar. He and his band had fans in every America town, as well as overseas. When the Sousa Band started touring, people didn't have radios or televisions. Some members of their audience had seen smaller bands or played music at home with their families, but a Sousa Band performance was their first exposure to classical music and professional musicians. It was also their chance to see a famous composer. Sousa's marches, from his dance hit The Washington Post to his patriotic march The Stars and Stripes Forever, were wildly popular. And people loved hearing them played by the actual composer and his band. Many towns declared it "Sousa Day" when the band came to town.
The Sousa Band was an ideal band for their time. As a newspaper reviewer wrote, "A concert by Sousa's Band is more than a mere concert, it is a dramatic performance, a stirring lesson in patriotism, and a popular musical event, all on the same program."