Time Signatures

1926: Golden State Theatre opens on Alvarado Street in downtown Monterey.

1927: Carmel Music Society is founded by a group of local music lovers, including Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous.

1935: Carmel Bach Festival, also founded by Denny and Watrous, debuts with a four-day series of concerts at the Sunset School Auditorium and the Carmel Mission Basilica.

1938: Gastone Usigli is named first Carmel Bach Festival music director.

1947: Monterey Symphony gives its first performance at the officers’ club at Fort Ord.

1955: Pianist Erroll Garner performs “Concert By The Sea” at Sunset Auditorium, the precursor to the Sunset Center, promoted by Monterey Jazz Festival co-founder Jimmy Lyons.

1956: Sandor Salgo is appointed as conductor and music director of the Carmel Bach Festival (1956-1991).

1958: Monterey Jazz Festival debuts at the Monterey Fairgrounds.

1959: Jazz vibraphonist Cal Tjader plays “Concert by the Sea” as a preview performance for the second annual Monterey Jazz Festival at the Sunset Auditorium.

1963: The Monterey Folk Festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds features performances by Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia (playing in a group called the Wildwood Boys).

1965: Big Sur Folk Festival plays at the Esalen Institute, with performances from Joan Baez, Richard and Mima Fariña and Mark Spoelstra.

1965: The Sunset Center (then the Sunset School) is purchased by the city of Carmel. Its first director is photographer Cole Weston.

1966: Chamber Music Society of Monterey founded.

1967: Hidden Valley Music Seminars moves from Southern California, presenting seminars for high school students at Stevenson School in Pebble Beach and York School in Monterey, before moving to its Carmel Valley campus in 1973.

1967: Monterey Pop! Nuff said.

1979: Tribal Stomp Festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds, with The Clash, The Chamber Brothers and Peter Tosh.

1981: The Henry Miller Library is founded in Big Sur.

1992: Bruno Weil is named conductor and music director of the Carmel Bach Fest.

1987: Monterey Blues Festival kicks off at the Fairgrounds with a lineup featuring B.B. King, Keb Mo and Buddy Guy. The festival continues until it closes in 2012.

1988: The Grateful Dead play a show at Laguna Seca.

1998: The city of Seaside launches its Blues in the Park series in Laguna Grande Park.

2001: Debut of the West End Celebration in Sand City.

2001-02: Sunset Center Auditorium renovated through public-private partnership.

2004: Patti Smith plays a benefit concert for Henry Miller Library at the Sunset Center.

2010: The first Cali Roots reggae festival at Monterey Fairgrounds.

2011: Paul Goodwin is named artistic director and principal conductor of Carmel Bach Fest.

2011: Philip Glass founds the Days and Nights Festival with performances in Big Sur and Carmel Valley. Subsequent years feature shows in Seaside, Carmel and other venues.

2017: A return of the blues with the Monterey International Blues Festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds, headlined by Charlie Musselwhite.

2020: John Wineglass named composer-in-residence by the Monterey Symphony.

2021: The future beckons.

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