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Monterey Jazz Festival

Event date: September 21–23, 2018
Monterey Jazz Festival

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As the oldest jazz gathering in the world, Monterey Jazz Festival is the hot ticket to secure for anyone who knows their boogie-woogie from their barrelhouse. Over 500 artists perform nonstop on eight stages for three nights and two days. United by the power of jazz, this is a great way to immerse oneself in music from some of the world’s best jazz performers, within the low-key surrounds of the Monterey county fairgrounds. Each year, several heavyweights are invited to headline, continuing the legacy of those who played before them. When the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Diana Krall and Ernestine Anderson count among the great, we begin to understand why this event continues to pull the crowds.

Alongside the music, spend time watching jazz films, attend panel discussions, browse the exhibitions and listen to some of the student musicians who are performing. When hunger and thirst set in, the Taste Tent is on hand with locally brewed beer and wine, while food is served up by Monterey restaurants.

An entire trip could be planned around both festival and the coastal landscape which surrounds it, so be sure to plan ahead and explore by car when replete with jazz.


  • There’s strictly no re-admission. Once in, no one is readmitted, so check on everything required for the day and night.
  • Get Arena tickets. It provides entrance to all eight stages. Secure these as soon as the event goes on sale as they are the most popular for a reason, and sell out quickly. The other option is Grounds tickets, which means entry into everything apart from the arena.
  • Bring a seat cushion. This festival is fancy free, and seating is comprised of metal fold out chairs, bleachers and the grass. The merchandise booth often sells cushions, so swing past early if last-minute comfort is required.
  • Stay until the end. Sunday marks the final performance night. However seasoned jazz fans know to linger for a chance to see artists play on inside venues like Dizzy’s Den and the Night Club, well after their assigned slot time finishes. These crowd-less performances are often the most magical to witness.
  • Rent a car. There’s so much to see and do close by that it’s better to have one’s own mode of transport. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium (one of the best in the world), drive through Big Sur or explore San Francisco’s dining scene.

Visit Monterey Jazz Festival

Groups of people on benches at tables eating and others walking past at the Monterey Jazz Festival grounds
Photo by Cole Thompson
Photo by Cole Thompson
Photo by Cole Thompson
Photo by Cole Thompson
Published on April 6, 2016
Location: Monterey, California
Country: United States Of America ›
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