Carmel Bach Festival

Entertainment — Bach To The Future

Monterey Bay California USA

The very best of Bach comes to life at Carmel’s annual classical music festival.
Photography courtesy Carmel Bach Festival

Meet California's oldest music celebration: the Carmel Bach Festival.

By Greg Archer

In the beginning, the goal was clear: to celebrate the sublime musical works, inspiration, and ongoing influence of Johann Sebastian Bach worldwide. The Carmel Bach Festival has done that and then some since its inception in 1935, when it began as a four-day endeavor featuring a series of concerts in what is now the renowned Sunset School Auditorium and Carmel Mission Basilica. The riveting festival has since morphed into its current two-week outing with Music Director and Conductor Paul Goodwin at the helm. To say it immerses audiences in a unique festival experience would be an understatement. Yes, crowds arrive for the music, but they walk away inspired by the fest's impressive offerings in addition to the profoundly inventive music. This event is an endeavor that hopes to integrate music, education, and ideas and spark meaningful community engagement throughout the year. As for Bach, nobody walks away without being reminded that he is considered the quintessential composer of the Baroque era. The majority of Bach's music was composed in Leipzig, Germany, where he died in 1750 at the age of 65. The Carmel Bach Festival keeps the legend's spirit — and his remarkable works — alive and paves the way for future Bach lovers to appreciate the work.

The next Carmel Bach Festival runs June 14-28, 2018. Learn more at


Jazz may ignite the senses, but place these annual Monterey Bay events in your calendar to further diversify your musical palate.

Jazz Bash by the Bay
March 2–4
Vintage jazz and swing, anyone? Hop this way.

California Roots Music and Arts Festival
May 25–27
Reggae and world music merge in an eclectic Memorial Day outing at the Monterey County Fairground.

Blues in the Park
For five Sundays straight, the lakeside lawns of Laguna Grande host a selection of nationally known blues artists and local up-and-comers.

Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival
It’s the 20th annual installment of the popular fest. Enjoy rustic modern fare pre-rodeo at Montrio Bistro with its 40-ounce prime rib-eye in the old firehouse two blocks away.