Over the weekend of November 18-20, a five-minute drive from downtown Monterey will take you to the Monterey County Fair & Event Center. And when you get there the 18th Annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival will be in full swing! According to the organizers, last year’s festival “was a resounding success”. The best in cowboy entertainment will be at this year’s offering as well. Here are some details to help you with your planning…

The Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival’s raison d’être is rich and multifaceted:

• A celebration of Monterey’s contribution to our Western heritage and history
• Cowboy poetry, music, and a Western Art & Gear Show
• A communion of like-minded people from the United States and Canada
• An opportunity to learn about the ‘cowboy way of life’, culture, and values
• A glimpse of a history that includes Californios, Mexican and other traditions

Every volunteer on the Board of Directors of the festival love cowboy music, movies, and western art/gear. They’re a non-profit organization formed in 1998. Their mission includes bringing top talent and artisans to Monterey. Every year they bring in both new and established musicians and poets. In addition, they host “some of the finest Western crafts from artisans, collectors, and craftsmen”. Their charitable partner is the Salvation Army who they say “has been living the cowboy way of life for some time.”

This year’s schedule is jam-packed with events that begin on the Friday night. Here are a few highlights:

• At 6 p.m. on November 18, just after a Happy Hour for artisans, artists, sponsors, All-Event Pass Holders, and Ticketed Guests, the Western Art and Gear Marketplace opens for all in the West Art Room, Salinas Room.
• Also on Friday evening, starting at 7 p.m., you can catch WLS IS ON THE AIR in the Monterey Room. Host Skip Gorman & his Waddie Pals will be there along with several special guests of Skip.
• Saturday at the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival has so many events that we can’t list them all! Among them, the 8 a.m. opening of the Western Art and Gear Marketplace, a special remembrance of “Those who’ve gone on before” in the Monterey Room at 8:30 a.m., and Sign-ups for Adult Open Mic at 10 a.m. That’s just the morning, and doesn’t include all of the events that morning! The afternoon activities start at noon with Kids Open Mic. Join hosts Dixie Dixon and Craig Collard in the Salinas Room. Several other activities dot the afternoon. The evening kicks off with Bob Wills is still the King at 7 p.m. in the Monterey Room. The big event is at 10 p.m.: The Saturday Night Dance. Many artists will be featured including Rich O’Brien’s Monterey Cowboy All-Star Band.
• Sunday has several activities as well. Cowboy Church opens at 8:30 a.m. in the Monterey Room. Several speakers will be in attendance, and all proceeds from collections go to The Salvation Army. The Marketplace opens at 9:30 a.m., and at 10 a.m. it’s Guitars Only, Partie Deux. Mike Beck will be there with special guests. Other events take place in the morning as well. At 1:30 p.m. Dawn and the Don’s: The Romance of Monterey takes place in the Monterey room.

For more information on and a complete listing of the events please click the link above. For tickets to this “great mix of cowboy music and poetry” please click this this link. The main website has all sorts of additional and useful information, from a list of performers to links to their Store, their Education Program, and much more.

This list was accurate at the time of publication; please check directly with the venue(s) to ensure dates, times, and locations remain the same.

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