Any country music fan will tell you that if it isn’t Nashville, it had better be Bakersfield. Home to the “Bakersfield Sound” pioneered by hometown heroes Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, we’re still the hotbed of Cowboy Swing.

The area’s creative scene also gave rise to acts such as Big House, Tracy Barns and The Smokin’ Armadillos, and the next major star might be found in one of the county’s many small clubs.

The life of the country music legend is still celebrated at Buck Owens Crystal Palace — a combination theater, restaurant and museum that stands as a monument to the success of Bakersfield’s favorite son. The historic Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield and the state-of-the-art Rabobank Arena regularly play host to visiting stars.

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