NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield among the 'Best Places for Musicians'

Posted at 12:53 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 02:21:52-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — If you are trying to make it in the music industry it turns out Bakersfield isn't a bad place to be. That's according to a new list that ranks our city seventeenth as Best Places for Musicians.

The list is made up of cities that are ideal for musicians for various reasons from their low cost of living to their legendary music venues. According to of all the destinations in America, Bakersfield stands out not only for being home to greats artists, but also for must-see music venues like Buck Owens' Crystal Palace and Riley's Tavern.

This city works hard, it plays hard, and its music scene is no joke. Whether country, reggae, or jazz, Bakersfield takes genres you think you know and makes them its own with a little grit and a lot of anything-goes.

Some local musicians agree with the list, saying that Bakersfield is still a great town for musicians, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy.

“I feel like my job is sort of a unicorn actually because I actually am able to work full time and support myself and my family working in the music business here in Bakersfield," said Brian Boozer, the Owner of Aum Studio, and Drummer for local band Soulajar.

Boozer pays the bills with money from his studio, and from various drumming gigs around town. Boozer has played music in Bako since he was young, and he’s very connected with the local music scene.

“I would say probably 95% of musicians in Bakersfield have a regular day job," he estimated.

In the past artists like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Korn got their start in Bakersfield before hitting it big. Kim McAbee is the Executive Director of the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. She says it isn’t exactly Bakersfield making it tougher on musicians nowadays.

“I have to say, it’s just the music industry in general that makes it a little harder on a national level, exposure is a tough thing to get, even in a local community, she said.

“There are many venues doing live music, they’re just not traditional music venues," Boozer said.

And the trouble with that, Boozer says, is that there aren’t a lot of well-paying gigs for bands getting their start in Bako.

“A lot of these venues aren’t making a lot of money on the musicians either, so letting them come in and letting them play, and having a chance to have a good time is entertaining the people, the citizens of Bakersfield, that’s what that’s for," McAbee-Carter said.

“The best part about being a musician in Bakersfield, I think, is the community. The music community is strong and very tight-knit. As well as the people that do go out to see live music are very appreciative of live music," Boozer said.

Other places topping the list include New Orleans, Nashville, and Austin, Texas. And the number one place for musicians: Athens, Georgia, which the site describes as "a well-known college town with a rich music history and bold new acts."