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The Monterey Jazz Festival celebrates the legacy of jazz, expands its boundaries, and provides opportunities to experience jazz through the creative production of performances and educational programs.
We are proud to provide year-round Jazz Education Programs, showcased in our annual Next Generation Jazz Festival. We are pleased to present the world's best jazz entertainment in the Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest running jazz festival in the world.
Held every September on the Monterey County Fairgrounds site where the Festival was first presented in 1958, the Monterey Jazz Festival began as a dream for founder Jimmy Lyons and his co-founder and colleague, Ralph Gleason. It was a dream of a "sylvan setting with the best jazz people in the whole world playing on the same stage, having a whole weekend of jazz." That dream became reality in 1958, with the first Monterey Jazz Festival bringing in artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, John Lewis, Shelly Manne, Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Ernestine Anderson, Harry James, Max Roach, and Billie Holiday.
Every year since then, every third full weekend in September sees the same caliber of talent grace the now eight stages on the Monterey Fairgrounds, as the Monterey Jazz Festival presents the best jazz performers in the world for a three-day celebration of the best in jazz. In addition, the Monterey Jazz Festival features jazz conversations, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, clinics, and an international array of food, shopping, and festivities spread throughout the 20-acre Monterey County Fairgrounds.