The Monterey Jazz Festival is expected to have its 64th showcase in 2021. This festival, which is hosted at the Monterey Fairgrounds, originated in 1958 and the longest running annual jazz event in the world. Today, it is one of the largest jazz events in the United States every year, bringing in musicians from around the world. Over the years, acts such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, B.B. King, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock have graced the stage.
Each year this three day event is held on the third weekend in September. Over 500 hundred artists perform on the 9 stages spread throughout the 20 acres of the Monterey Fairgrounds. The array of artists includes jazz, folk, blues, American and rock bands. Many festival goers bring their own lawn chairs and move from stage to stage throughout the day. The festival is filled with local food vendors with international cuisine, beverages, jazz workshops, exhibitions and shopping tents. The event has seen as many as 40,000 in attendance. When attending the jazz festival, there is a relaxed and laid back environment mixed with cheers, laughter and dancing.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is a nonprofit organization comprised primarily of volunteers and donors who are dedicated to the advancement of music education. In 2020, due to Covid-19, the Monterey Jazz Festival was forced to move to a virtual format on YouTube. This showed once again the continued commitment that the Monterey Jazz Festival Board has to the jazz community. The organization spends over $500,000 a year towards its music advancement programs. Along with showcasing professional artists, the local Monterey community and student artists benefit from being able to showcase their budding musical talents at the festival.
Tickets are currently available for sale on the Monterey Jazz Festival website. You are able to purchase single day to three day tickets. There are different ticket types including arena, arena lawn, grounds tickets and premier club. Each of these different ticket types allow for access to different stages. If you are coming in from out of town for the event, staying in downtown Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Marina, Carmel or Pebble Beach allows close access to the festival. There is parking located on and near the fairgrounds if you’ve purchased it in advance with your event tickets. Nearby parking at the Monterey Peninsula College with access to a shuttle is available.
Signing up for the Monterey Jazz Festival newsletter will give you access to the anticipated lineup for 2021 when the performing artists are announced. More information about the festival can be found at the website: https://montereyjazzfestival.org/