Monterey Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival 2023

SEPTEMBER 22-24, 2023


A local fixture, Monterey Jazz Festival brings world-class acts to the California coast for three days of music, food and friendly vibes.

The Monterey County Fairgrounds have had their fair share of music festivals, from the seminal Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 to California Roots in the present day. But the true fixture at this 20 acre, oak-shaded stretch of land is Monterey Jazz Festival, returning in 2023 from September 22 to 24. 

Started in 1958, Monterey Jazz Festival is the world’s oldest continuously-running jazz festival. Here, you not only see artists on stage, but walking around the grounds (keep an eye out for Clint Eastwood, he’s also known to frequent the event). This year, Snarky Puppy, Thundercat and Herbie Hancock lead the lineup, which fuses sounds both old and new. 

Weather in Monterey is known to fluctuate in September, but the festival still welcomes first-time and returning visitors with warmth. People are known to patronize Monterey Jazz Festival year after year, making it feel more like a family reunion than other music events. When you aren’t catching a set at one of the outdoor stages, be sure to check out the food vendors, selling everything from soul food to Jamaican cuisine, and Yamaha’s instrument petting zoo, where kids can play with an assortment of real instruments. 

The Specs

  • About 35,000 people are expected to be at the festival each day.
  • Three-day arena tickets start at $285 and include full access to the grounds stages and all 14 performances at the Jimmy Lyons Stage.
  • Three-day grounds tickets start at $195 for adults and do not include access to the Jimmy Lyons Stage.
  • Single day arena and grounds tickets are also available for purchase, and the full breakdown can be found here
  • Check out Fifty Grande’s guide to California here


What is history of the Monterey Jazz Festival?

According to its website, the annual Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world. Held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, the nonprofit Monterey Jazz Festival is celebrates America’s cultural heritage through its jazz musicians, composers, and young rising stars.

Is festival re-entry allowed?

Re-entry is only allowed when you exit through Gates 3, 5 and 10. There, you will be given a wristband for re-entry.

Can I bring food and drinks inside the festival grounds?

Outside food and drinks are not permitted inside the festival grounds. However, each person is allowed to bring one water in a stainless steel or non-breakable, individual use bottle. 

What time do the festival gates open?

The gates open at 3 pm on Friday and 11 am on Saturday and Sunday.

Are the Monterey Jazz Festival and Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour the same thing?

No, they are different. The Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour feattured Tony and Grammy Award-winning NEA Jazz Master vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, Grammy Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling, Lakecia Benjamin, Christian Sands, Yasushi Nakamura and Clarence Penn. It was a 25-date tour and the festival is an annual event.

The trek was the sixth national one that ran under the festival banner. The tour ran from January to April and stopped in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco (Berkeley) and Philadelphia.

Who is on the full lineup for the Monterey Jazz Festival 2023?

Herbie Hancock, Thundercat, Dianne Reeves, Snarky Puppy, Samara Joy, Jamie Cullum, Terence Blanchard, John Scofield & Yankee Go Home, Terri Lyne Carrington & New Standards, Christian McBride’s New Jawn, Isaiah Sharkey, John Scofield (solo), Charles Lloyd Quartet, Ambrose Akinmusire Presents Isakoso Ara Featuring Oumou Sangare, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra directed by Gerald Clayton with special guests Lakecia Benjamin & John Handy, North Carolina Central University Jazz Combo, Cisco Swank, Texas Southern University, Jazz Combo, Lakecia Benjamin & Phoenix, Elena Pinderhughes & Lionel Loueke, Donny McCaslin, Katie Thiroux Trio, Sunday Gospel with Tammy L. Hall & The Texas Southern University Choir, Scary Goldings featuring John Scofield, Gerald Clayton presents the Listening Space, Kendrick Scott’s Corridors featuring Chris Potter & Reuben Rogers, MJR Regional All-Star Vocal Ensemble, Zach Westfall Quarter, Ray Obiedo’s Latin Jazz Project, Santos, Claudia Villela, Lew Tabackin Quarter featuring Jeremy Pelt, Lucia Micarelli & Leo Amuedo, Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke, Catherine Russell, John Santos Sextet, Ali Ryerson & Ricardo Peixoto, Tony Lindsay & The Soul Soldiers, Azar Lawrence Experience, Latin Jazz Collective with John Nava, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Connie Han Trio, Benny Green, James Francies Trio, Sullivan Fortner Trio, Ben Flocks Trio, Taylor Eigsti Group, Kait Dunton Band, Kris Davis’ Diatom Ribbons, Sandy Cressman, Billy Childs, Chris Cain Band, Berklee Jazz & Gender Justice Quarter, American Patchwork Quarter, Sarah Wilson’s Brass Tonic, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Combo and Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo directed by Katie Thiroux.

2023 Festival Video

BY Lauren Harvey