MONTEREY MOJO: Monterey is synonymous with great music -- from reggae to blues to the autumntime jazz spectacular -- and a lot of fans return over the course of a year, multiple times, to the area (or just move there to be more music-adjacent, which sounds pretty sweet to us). The Monterey Jazz Festival is back for its fifty-fourth year in 2011 -- the dates are Friday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Sept. 18 -- and 500 artists are set to show. Should we type that again? Sure. Glad to. The festival will host some 500 artists. Right? That's a number that's almost too large to even think about. Now imagine assembling that many talents in one spot. Mega-major-mega-ness.
AND HELLO, HEADLINER: The amazingtastic Herbie Hancock is one of the big names. Mr. Hancock is often said to be one of those artists that must be heard live once, yes? Yes. But there are many others. Bobby Hutcherson, Huey Lewis and the News, India.Arie. Oh, right. We mentioned free tickets before. Here's the contest, which See Monterey tipped us to (thanks, See Monterey). It's going on through Aug. 15, and the pass that's up for grabs is good for three days and two people.