Welcome to Bakersfield
This is the setting of Upton Sinclair’s Oil!, which was adapted into the 2007 Academy Award–winning film, There Will Be Blood. In the 1930s the oil attracted a stream of ‘Okies’ – farmers who migrated out of the Great Plains – to work the derricks. The children of these tough-as-nails roughnecks put the 'western' in country and western by creating the ‘Bakersfield Sound’ in the mid-1950s, with heroes Buck Owens and Merle Haggard waving a defiant middle finger at the silky Nashville establishment.
Downtown Bakersfield is making moves to fancy-up, evident in the upbeat mix of restored buildings and new restaurants, theaters and clubs.