Thursday, August 30, 2007

50th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival- Yes, It's Been That Long

About three weeks from this article's publication, the 2007 edition of what is now the longest running jazz festival in the world will commence on the same famed Monterey Fairgrounds site that has been played by so many important, creative, maverick               [Photo Credit: CNN]

artists in the worlds of jazz and popular music. That the Monterey Jazz Festival is a major fest is no grand revelation, of course, but it's fairly shocking to realize that the festival has gone through a half-century without stopping.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

It also seems sensible to note that there's never been any ringleader swiping away the cash from merchandise and ticket sales, either. The festival's been a non-profit since Day One, donating its proceeds to musical education around the Monterey and Salinas Valley areas and hosting local, as well as international jazz education programs for some time as well. 

So there are some of the constants of Monterey's existence.  It should also be noted, while we're on the subject of consistency, that what makes the 50th annual event something to look forward to isn't one particular headliner, set, or any other specific detail. Rather, what really makes it rip this year is the fact that the festival is just doing what it does best, which would be taking top-tier performers from the Swing, free jazz, bebop, and West Coast cool pantheons and making them available for an audience of both connoisseurs and novices over three days, for a price that could be paid by more than just the Gentry. 

And just to clear things up, the list of styles mentioned above have not dictated the programming of this year's festival with an iron fist, with fusion maestro John McGlaughlin and rockers Los Lobos are headlining, but Monterey is also still an actual jazz festival this year, with fans being able to see veritable Monterey mascot Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, and Diana Krall, among others during the four-day event.

Tickets for the festival, which runs from September 21-23, can range from $35 for a one-day "Grounds" ticket, which gets you all the performers except those in the festival's main Arena stage, to a $210 three-day package to the Arena and all other stages, though the latter is sold out.

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