BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA. – If you try to make it in the music industry, it turns out Bakersfield isn’t a bad place. This comes from a new list that ranks our city 17th as the best place for musicians.
The list is made up of cities that are ideal for musicians for a variety of reasons, from their low cost of living to their legendary music venues. According to cubesmart.com of all America’s travel destinations, Bakersfield is not only home to great artists, but also has 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. Country, reggae or jazz, Bakersfield takes genres that you think you know and makes them your own with a little grit and lots.
Some local musicians agree with the list, saying that Bakersfield is still a great city for musicians, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy.
“I feel like my job is kind of a unicorn because I am able to work full-time and support myself and my family in the music business here in Bakersfield,” said Brian Boozer, owner of Aum Studio and drummer for local band Soulajar.
Boozer pays the bills with money from his studio and various drum gigs around town. Boozer has been playing music in Bako since his youth and is very closely connected to the local music scene.
“I would say that probably 95% of the musicians in Bakersfield have a regular day job,” he said.
In the past, artists like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Korn all started out in Bakersfield before they made it big. Kim McAbee is the Executive Director of the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. She says it’s not exactly Bakersfield, which makes it harder for musicians these days.
“I have to say, it’s just the music industry in general that makes it a little more difficult at the national level. Awareness is a difficult thing even in a local community, she said.
“There are a lot of venues that do live music, they just aren’t traditional music venues,” Boozer said.
And the problem with that, says Boozer, is that there aren’t a lot of well-paid gigs for bands starting in Bako.
“A lot of these venues don’t make a lot of money with the musicians either, so that’s what keeps the people, the Bakersfielders, entertaining when they come in and play and have the chance to have a good time,” said McAbee-Carter.
“I think the best part about being a musician in Bakersfield is the community. The music community is strong and very closely related. Just like the people who watch live music, they really appreciate live music, “Boozer said.
Other places that top the list include New Orleans, Nashville, and Austin, Texas. And the number one place for musicians: Athens, Georgia, which the website describes as “a well-known university town with a rich musical history and bold new acts”.