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Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?

GUEST,Guest - Lin 19 Aug 13 - 01:58 AM
Joe Offer 19 Aug 13 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Guest - Lin 20 Aug 13 - 03:35 AM
Joe Offer 21 Aug 13 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Guest - Lin 29 Aug 14 - 03:52 AM
Joe Offer 29 Aug 14 - 04:21 AM
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Subject: Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?
From: GUEST,Guest - Lin
Date: 19 Aug 13 - 01:58 AM

I know there is a lot of venues for country music in Bakersfield, California but I have not been able to find any venues that have folk music on a regular basis. I guess the city of Tehachapi would be more likely a source for folk music but it is not easy to get there at night by public transportation - so I am looking to find venues in the city of Bakersfield only. I do not have a car and need to find (if possible) folk clubs in Bakersfield, (not outside areas.)

The Fox Theater in dtwn. Bakersfield on a very, very rare occasion might have a folk act play there - but it is not by any means a folk club/venue. Saw that Jim Curry who performs John Denver music will be playing one night at the Fox Theater in Oct. I believe.

Yes, there is the Buck Owens Museum, restaurant, gift shop - but although a nice place - it does not have have folksingers performing there - it is a country music place of course.

So what I am looking for is (if exists) a folk club/venue that has folk singers or open mikes for folk music on a regular basis.
Looked in the newspaper when I was there called "Bakersfield Californian." I did see venues for music - it was country, rock, jazz, even some bluegrass one night - but not folk music or singer/songwriters/open mikes for folk music.

Even called the visitors bureau while I was there and they had no information about any venues for folk music.
This kind of surprised me because Bakersfield is a large city.
I think once a year they have an Irish music festival held at the college - but nothing at all on a weekly or monthly basis.

Well perhaps someone reading this who currently lives in Bakersfield, would be interested to open a folk club there. :-))

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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 13 - 03:07 AM

I've been a frequent visitor to Bakersfield since the mid-1970s; and I have never, ever found folk music there. Some excellent country music, though.

Closest folk venue I know of is McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica - it's not all that much of a drive, although some may find the nighttime drive back over the Grapevine to be daunting.

I can't imagine folk music in Tehachapi, either - but then I haven't been there since about 1990. It was a strange, strange city. I went to the police department, and the doors were wide open and there was nobody there. But when I did encounter a police officer, he frisked me - even after I showed my identification as a federal investigator. I built a better relationship with them after a while. When I needed to interview the town drug dealer, they told exactly how to find him. I had to wait in line at a respectable distance, until he had completed a drug sale. Oh, and can I tell you about all the rattlesnakes on the road to the view of the Tehachapi Loop?

I had all sorts of experiences there. I tried to interview Cesar Chavez at Keene, and he refused to see me. I got stuck in a three-day dust storm in Bakersfield, and I was lucky to be in the only motel in town that had electricity.

I did find some interesting entertainment at the state university, but mostly I worked and went to the movies when I was there. Oh, and the Basque food is terrific in East Bakersfield.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?
From: GUEST,Guest - Lin
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 03:35 AM

You had quite an adventure in Tehachapi! You got frisked by the police there? Wow! That's unbelievable - if you were working as a federal investigator!

Santa Monica is a long way from Bakersfield. I go up there several times a year by Amtrak or Greyhound and stay in Bakersfield for 3 or 4 days. I might go up there in early Oct. to see Jim & Anne Curry who will be performing at the Fox Theater -dtwn. Bakersfield.
Closest Hotel is the famous Bakersfield landmark - The Padre Hotel about a block or two away from the Fox Theater. I think it might be a little expensive though to stay there.

Jim Curry does all the music of John Denver & he & his wife are fine singers and musicans. They often have other musicians performing with them - one being a guy (can't think of his name at the moment) but a really good musican who used to perform with John Denver.

Haven't had any Basque food but hear there are quite a number of Basque Restaurants in Bakersfield. I did eat at a nice Mexican Restaurant called Maria's (I think that is the name - but could be wrong.) Ate at several Mexican restaurants actually.

Anyway, wish there were some places for folk music in Bakersfield. Most cities of that size have at least a few folk venues around.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 02:29 AM

I figured I ought to also tell some of the good things about Bakersfield:

I always enjoyed my working visits to Bakersfield, and I made some nice friends there. I needed to find oilworkers who had worked with one security clearance applicant, and the oilworkers union business manager drove me out to several rigs west of Bakersfield and introduced me to people who knew my guy. Then he took me out to dinner at a country place that had terrific barbecued ribs. And then he had me drive a union-owned vehicle back to Bakersfield for him - so he got something out of the deal, too.

And then there was the guy working at the California Aqueduct, right where it starts to go south across the Grapevine. He gave me a three-hour tour of his facility, and it was fascinating.

And then there were the grape pickers I interviewed in the field on a hot day, and I learned all about their lives.

And the train conductor who rode the Tehachapi Pass route every day.

And the police officers in nearby Shafter who were so proud of their coworker who wanted to be a Fed, that they lined up to be interviewed by me. And after those interviews, I took a country road back to Bakersfield and went through acres and acres of roses that were being grown in a huge nursery.

I used to hang out at the Border Patrol office because I could use the photocopy machine and the government phone there. If I was there at lunchtime, they'd give me an extra bag lunch if they had one left over from the detention center. They were usually white bread baloney sandwiches made by the Kern County Jail. About the only time I can think of, that I ate jail food.

It was interesting to see the converted theater when Buck Owens operated his recording studio in Oildale, just across the Kern River from Bakersfield. [Buck Owens was born in Texas in 1929, and moved ot the Bakersfield area at the age of 21. He lived in the area until he died in 2006, at the age of 76. He had performed at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace theater in Bakersfield the night before. [(obituary)]

Merle Haggard was born in Oildale, but I never saw much evidence of Merle Haggard there. I think he left town in the 1950s, while Buck Owens lived in Bakersfield most of his life.

And it was fascinating to have first-hand contact with the oil industry.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?
From: GUEST,Guest - Lin
Date: 29 Aug 14 - 03:52 AM

Hi Joe:

Looks like I will be back in Bakersfield again this October 2014.
Do you still go up there? Since my last posting have you heard of any folk venues or Meet-ups in Bakersfield for folk/acoustic music?
I also like Celtic and Scottish music, traditional and contemporary and listen to folk/rock as well. So if you know of anything new up there, please let me know.

I haven't tried Basque food yet, although I know the area has many Basque restaurants to choose from. The only hesitation I have is that most people (from reading about the Basque restaurants there) seem to draw families or large group of friends as they have long tables that everyone sits at. So would it be a little strange to visit a Basque restaurant if you are on your own? Some of the food looks interesting although I would not be interested in trying tongue. Not my cup of tea so to speak. I guess that is just one of their foods they are known for. But some of the other foods look interesting that they serve.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Bakersfield, California?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Aug 14 - 04:21 AM

Hi, Lin-
I used to spend a week a month in Bakersfield, but that was in the 1970s. After that, it was a week once or twice a year until I retired in 1999, and since then it has been one or two nights a year. I always went by myself, mostly for work.
You really do need to go to a Basque restaurant in East Bakersfield. A meal at a Basque restaurant is an experience you'll never forget. It's all comfort food, so you're bound to like it unless you're really fussy. They serve a multiple-course dinner, always starting with cold tongue (which tastes like brisket and is delicious).
If you go to Bakersfield and don't eat Basque food, that's like going to Hamtramck and not eating Polish food (the czarnina in Hamtramck is especially good).

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