Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey Jazz Festival 2014
The Monterey Jazz Festival is a not-for-profit festival hosted in Monterey, California. For 3-days each September, the oldest jazz festival in the world attracts an audience of over 40,000 people for a long weekend of jazz, blues and soul music from the very best local and international acts.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is held every year at the beautiful 20 acre Monterey County Fairgrounds. This location is ideal for the festival as it creates a wonderful environment with all the oak trees providing shade for the attendees. It’s located at 2004 Fairground Road right in the city of Monterey, CA. It’s always on the third full weekend in the month of September and starts on the Friday prior.
With more than 500 top performing jazz artist being featured on nine different stages placed throughout the fairgrounds creating over 50 different concert performances, the Monterey Jazz Festival was voted “World’s Best Jazz Festival” three years in a row, 2006, 2007, and 2008, by the readers of JazzTimes Magazine.
One of the most important aspects of the festival is to raise money to help support Jazz programs nationwide. Every year the Monterey Jazz Festival is able to raise money in the six-figures to donate to these programs, which is something to be proud of.
Top student musicians are also invited to participate in the “Next Generation Festival” held each spring, a festival supported by the funds raised from the Monterey Jazz Fest.
In addition to the music, the festival is also host to an auction full of unique memorabilia that has been donated by performing artists and various jazz-related vendors from the surrounding areas. There is also an exhibition of the festival each year full of interesting items, information and jazz movies which is free for anyone to visit.
Among the Jazz greats that have been invited to perform are Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Pat Methany, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, Bola Sete, Cal Tjader, and Sarah Vaughan.
Video Highlights of the Monterey Jazz Festival (mixed years)
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The Monterey Jazz Festival was founded by James L. Lyons (aka Jimmy Lyons), San Francisco jazz radio broadcaster, and a jazz critic named Ralph J. Gleason in 1958. Since then all the top jazz performers have been featured on the stages of the festival, including Billie Holliday. Besides concert performances, the program includes exhibitions, workshops, and panel discussions. The MJF is the oldest annually held jazz festival in the world today.
In the year 2006 the festival broke all records for attendance, with more than 40,000 attendees. All five major concerts which were held on the main stage arena were sold out. This was the festival’s 49th year and Oscar Peterson, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Brubeck, The Yellowjackets, Hank Jones and the Charles Lloyd Quartet performed.Show More History...
The following year, 2007 drew the same number of attendees who came for the 50th Golden Celebration. That was same year that a series of discs containing the most memorable concerts was inaugurated.
“We wanted to create a lasting legacy for our 50th anniversary,” says Monterey Jazz Festival General Manager Tim Jackson. “To kick it off, we’ve assembled some of the masters of Jazz who have a close relationship with the Festival to carry the MJF name across America. We’ve had all-star groups who have performed at Monterey in the past, but they’ve never gone on a multiple-week tour in the US, so this is an historic occasion for us. All the members represent the spirit and educational enthusiasm of the Monterey Jazz Festival that we’d like to present to the country…plus they’re an incredible band, they were mesmerizing at the 50th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2007. They embody the past, present and future of Jazz history.” – Source: A Passion 4 Jazz
During the years 1992 – 2011, Tim Jackson held the position of Artistic Director of the festival while serving as General Manager. In 2011 Chris Doss took over the position of Managing Director and Tim Jackson stayed on as Artistic Director. Of special significance is the fact that since 1992 Clint Eastwood has been a member of the Board of Directors for MJF.
Being run as a nonprofit organization, the Monterey Jazz Festival has always donated its profits for musical education since the organization was formed in 1958. In 1970 a scholarship program began with $35,000 in the fund. Current figures show that the festival invests in excess of $500,000 a year educating recipients in jazz. Music students from all over the country are invited every spring to be a part of the “Next Generation Festival“.
The festival initially got approved by the city council in 1958 thanks to Dave Brubeck, who was persuaded by founder Jimmy Lyons to come to Monterey and hold a private performance for them. The approval was granted and Dave Brubeck has come back and performed 14 times since then. He was even featured at the 50th Golden Anniversary in 2007. These performances were all photographed by the festival’s longtime photographer since the 1970s, Ron Hudson who passed away in 2011.
More Photos in the ‘Gallery‘ Tab below.
The 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival lineup has not yet been announced.
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If you’ve heard any rumors of who might be playing or headlining then please leave them in the comments section below.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, the 2013 Monterey Jazz Fest lineup was as follows:
2013′s GRAMMY Award-winning lineup includes Arena headliners Diana Krall; Wayne Shorter Quartet; Bobby McFerrin; Bob James & David Sanborn featuring Steve Gadd & James Genus; Dave Holland’s PRISM featuring Kevin Eubanks, Craig Taborn & Eric Harland; Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Quintet: Sound Prints; George Benson; The Relatives; Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club; Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra; and Gregory Porter.
The GRAMMY-winning saxophonist, Joe Lovano, will serve as the Festival’s 2013 Artist-In-Residence, and will perform with Us Five; with Dave Douglas in Sound Prints, playing music inspired and commissioned from Wayne Shorter; and as a soloist with the Festival’s all-star student band, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.
Award-winning trumpeter Dave Douglas returns to the Festival as the 2013 Showcase Artist, and will perform three times throughout the weekend: on the Grounds with his own Quintet; and with Sound Prints in the Arena and on the Grounds. Sound Prints acts as one of the dual 2013 Commission Artists along with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which will debut newly commissioned music in tribute to the late Dave Brubeck in the Arena. – Source: Monterey Jazz Festival
Tickets for the 2014 Monterey Jazz Fest go on sale in Spring (dates unconfirmed, 2013 tickets went on sale May 21st).
Ticket prices for the 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival started at US$125 for grounds packages and US$225 for arena packages. Single-day tickets went on sale July 8th and ground tickets (daily) started at US$40 and arena show prices started at US$66 for Friday and $132 for Saturday/Sunday.
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Arena Packages include a reserved seat (renewable each year), for all five shows, on the Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage AND access to the other seven Grounds general admission stages located throughout the Fairgrounds for the entire weekend. Everyone, regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter the Arena. – Source: MJF – Tickets
Grounds Packages include 1 Grounds ticket for each day of the Festival. They provide access to seven general admission stages located throughout the Fairgrounds. You do not have access to the Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage with this ticket. - Source: MJF – Tickets
One (1) reserved seat for all shows on one (1) particular day, on the Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage AND access to the other seven Grounds general admission stages located throughout the Fairgrounds. Everyone, regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter the Arena. - Source: MJF – Tickets
One (1) Grounds ticket for each day of the Festival. This ticket grants you access to seven general admission stages located throughout the Fairgrounds. You do not have access to the Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage with this ticket. - Source: MJF – Tickets
With Arena or Adult Grounds Stage Ticket purchases, the Festival’s Premier Access Pass is available. This allows holders to enter the Fairgrounds through a special VIP entry gate, access to the Premier Access Club which has closed circuit simulcasts of Arena performances, visiting jazz artists and allows the use of private restrooms. Holders also receive Premier Access Gift Bags. The price for the Premier Access Pass in 2013 was $65 Fri; $100 Sat or Sun; $265 Weekend. The tickets however do not allow entry to the Monterey Jazz Festival.
The Festival lasts all weekend, with gates open from 6:00 PM to midnight on Friday, 11:00 AM to midnight on Saturday and 11:00 AM to 11:30 PM on Sunday. There are live jazz performances throughout the festival, non-stop.
The Festival Arena features 5 main concerts during the weekend of the Festival. There is reserved seating only for the entire Arena. To reserve your seating there are Arena Packages or Single Day Arena Tickets available for purchase. Either option will also allow access to all Grounds activities as well as to 7 additional stages at no additional cost.
Simulcasts of Arena concerts taking place in the Jazz Theater are included with Grounds Stage Tickets. This is presented by Alaska Airlines and also provides for access to 6 additional Grounds states as well as all Grounds activities.”
On-site parking is available for people who have purchased an Arena Package or for Premier Access Pass holders. Parking passes must be purchased in advance and one ticket will be issued for each vehicle, for one parking space for one day. You will have the right to drive in and out during the day the ticket is valid.
There is no on-site parking available for limousines, buses or motor homes.
On-site Parking Fees
$20 on Friday
$35 for Saturday or Sunday
$90 for the entire weekend
Parking off-site is available at Monterey Peninsula College, located only 10 minutes from the Festival Fairgrounds. Parking passes may be purchased in advance or during the weekend of the Festival at the College.
There is a free shuttle service to and from the Fairgrounds. There are no in and out parking privileges. The shuttle service will begin when the Festival parking areas open and all shuttle buses will be wheelchair accessible.
Parking areas at Monterey Peninsula College open at 5:00 PM on Friday, 10:30 AM on Saturday, and 10:00 AM on Sunday.
Cost is $10 per vehicle per day
Monterey Peninsula College is located at 980 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940.
There is no overnight parking permitted at the College.
Our thanks go out Monterey Peninsula College for allowing our fans to park on their premises. We also want to thank Monterey-Salinas Transit for their assistance in providing transportation services to our fans.
Reminder: Monterey Jazz Festival is not responsible for losses or any damage to your vehicle. Please do not leave valuables inside and lock your vehicle at all times.
There is no parking available at Monterey Peninsula College for limousines, buses or motor homes.
Off-site RV parking
- Cost is $100 per night per RV with a 3 night minimum.
- Chase/tow vehicles are an additional $95.
- Please contact the MJF Administration Office to request additional information or to make a reservation. You email them or phone 831-373-3366.
There is a wide variety of foods and beverages available to purchase and enjoy at the Monterey Jazz Festival, it’s reasonably priced. You can also enjoy a variety of brews from North Coast Brewing Company - They celebrated their 8th anniversary as the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Official Beer in 2012. You can also purchase and enjoy a variety of wines from Scheid Vineyards.
As with previous years, there will be a ‘Taste Tent’ which will allow you to sample some of the best beer, wine & food from some of the best local restaurants, wineries and brewers in Monterey.
Attendees are not allowed to bring in picnic baskets, coolers or barbeques. There is no alcohol allowed to be brought into the Fairgrounds either. There are containers at all entrance gates to dispose of alcohol cans and bottles. Security personnel will be on hand to search anyone entering the Fairgrounds.
The nearest international airport to Monterey, CA is the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). Distance from Mineta San Jose Airport to Monterey County Fairgrounds is 73 miles (117Km) and takes around 1hr 15 minutes to drive there by car/taxi.
Currently 11 airlines operate from Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC):
Transport options from San José International Airport to Montery Jazz Festival can be found on the Airport Ground Tranportation Page. Most people choose to use the Monterey Airbus, it’s cheap, confortable and quick.
The cheapest hotel and accommodation options I could find in and around Monterey, California, USA during the festival period (mid September) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list).
Check out the nicest hotel in Monterey >> !!
*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival dates. Book early to avoid disappointment. ***
I would recommend checking Monterey hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing any booking. Alternatively, why don’t you try something different and rent someones apartment during the festival period at AirBnB?! Click here for a free £15 credit towards your first booking!
If you are on a super shoe-string budget then search HostelWorld and get a bed in Monterey for as little as $22.00 - which I personally think is a bargain!
Attendees have the option of renting an RV from the Festival. It’s convenient and maybe the easiest way to stay close by while enjoying the Festival.
With an RV rental you are provided with:
- Ability to cook your own meals – Groceries available across the street at CVS
- Pots, pans, dishes and linens come with your RV
- Electricity, water and sewer hook-up provided
- Less than 200 yards from the Jimmy Lyons Stage
- Only a 5 minute drive from the airport
RV rentals require a 4 night minimum reservation with only a limited number available. Each occupant must have a Full Weekend Arena Package or a Full Weekend Grounds Package ticket.
- 35 ft. RV rental – $499 per night with a 4 night minimum, all inclusive.
- 27 ft. RV rental – $449 per night with a 4 night minimum, all inclusive.
Sizes and models of RVs can change and are based upon what’s available at the time. To make a reservation or to make an inquiry, please contact the MJF Office via email or phone 831-373-3366.
Parking is available for a limited number of RVs behind the Arena. All parking spaces provide water, a sewer connection and electricity. RVs over 38 ft. must be fully self-contained. If you have a tow or chase vehicle, you must purchase an extra parking permit. Handicap parking spaces are available but limited. Each occupant must have purchased a Full Weekend Arena Package or a Full Weekend Grounds Stage Package ticket.
4-night stay: Thursday, September 18 – Sunday, September 21, 2014
Arrival: Noon – 10:00 PM Thursday
Departure: Prior to 1:00 PM Monday
3-night stay: Friday, September 19 – Sunday, September 21, 2014
Arrival: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM Friday
Departure: Prior to 1:00 PM Monday
Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the Monterey Jazz Festival this year. However, if you really did want to camp, either in a tent or your own RV/Motorhome, then you check out this page about campsites in Monterey.
We currently have not been able to interview anybody at the Monterey Jazz Festival, if you work for the festival and would like to answer a few questions for this section of your listing, please contact me so that we can get something arranged, thank you.
If you’ve come to Monterey especially for the jazz festival then it would be a shame not to take a couple of days out to see the other delights that this beautiful city has to offer. A couple of personal recommendations:
Take a walk around Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail & Monterey Bay
The Monterey Peninsula is a beautiful hiking trail which runs alongside the Pacific Grove and Monterey Coast-line. It’s reknowned to be one of the most beautiful coastal paths on the west of America. For those on a limited schedule or who are generally cycle fanatics, you can rent a push bike and see it on two wheels (The paved portion begins in Pacific Grove, park near the Beach House Restaurant) - Suitable for all the family.
Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
If you decide to go along the Monterey Peninsula above then you’ll pass the Monterey Bay Aquarium en-route. It’s located at the oceans edge and is home to sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies and thousands of other marine animals and plants. Perfect for children of all ages, especially good at ‘feeding time’. Located at the end of Cannery Row. Tickets are $40/adult and whilst I think it’s expensive, it’s worth it for a ‘one-off’. There is also a restaurant there which is also rather pricey but food is good and you get what you pay for in terms of quality and service. Bring a change of clothes as you could get wet…
Take the kids to the Dennis the Menace Park
This lovely little children’s park was designed by the creator of Dennis the Menace, Hank Ketchum, and offers a good little ‘feet-up’ for adults whilst the kids have fun playing. Equipment all in good condition and lovely views around. There is a rock wall, swings, slides, monkey bars, tunnels, a maze. Recommended for children under 10.
If you require any further information on this festival or would like to leave a message for others then please use the comments section below.
NB. You also find photo galleries, live festival news, transport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.
- Wikipedia Page on Monterey Jazz Festival
- Top 20 UNUSUAL (but somehow essential?!!) Festival Items
- Monterey Jazz Festival Digital Recordings/Festival Archive
- Monterey Jazz Festival Reviews on Yelp.com
- 2013 Festival Reviews: #1 (Jazz Times) | #2 (allaboutjazz)
- MJF on About.com
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