Cuesta College hosting Jazz Festival, reunion show

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cuesta College will host the 36th Annual Central Coast Jazz Festival on March 8 and 9 at the college’s San Luis Obispo campus. The competitive jazz festival invites middle school, high school, and college/university big bands and combos from across California to participate.

Each year a guest artist is invited to perform at the festival. This year, an inaugural concert will bring together the best of the best of Cuesta jazz over the last 20 years. Carefully selected professional musicians from all over California and beyond who got their start at Cuesta College will return for a reunion band entitled “The Fantasy Cuesta Big Band.”

“This reunion band, a first for the festival, is probably the best big band that we have ever assembled at Cuesta,” said Director of Jazz Studies and Festival Director Ron McCarley. “The concert will feature many of the local heroes in the music scene and some of the best musicians that San Luis Obispo has made in the last several years. They include Cuesta College alumni who are now important players in the music industry such as Josh Collins, Nathan Conrad, Michael Mull, and Wes Smith.”

The Fantasy Cuesta Big Band will perform on Friday, March 8 at 8 p.m. at the Harold J. Miossi Cultural and Performing Arts Center Mainstage. The concert will also include a set by the Cuesta Jazz Ensemble, the college’s student big band. Tickets for the general public are $15 and may be purchased online at or at the box office starting at 7 p.m. the night of the event. All proceeds go to support the instrumental jazz program at Cuesta College.

Cuesta College has a long history of excellence in jazz education transferring students to some of the best jazz schools in the country. The Music Department features one of only two Jazz Studies AA programs in California. For more information on the music program or the jazz festival, call 805-546-3195 or visit the department website at


Video News