Ben Haggard

Rod Thornburg/For The Californian Merle Haggard 's Boxcar Fest at the Kern County Museam. Ben Haggard plays at the second annual Haggard Boxcar Music Festival takes place at the Kern County Museum.

Enjoy a piece of music history while exploring everything the Kern County Museum has to offer at the annual Haggard Boxcar Music Festival May 11.

The festival honors Merle Haggard’s childhood home and his contributions to country music and the Bakersfield sound. When his family moved to Bakersfield in 1935, the boxcar was Merle Haggard's home growing up. The boxcar was restored and later transported to the Kern County Museum thanks to a group called Citizens Preserving History that raised awareness.

The festival will be celebrating its third year with Merle Haggard’s sons as the main headliners.

Noel and Ben Haggard have been the headliners for the last three years. Along with them are other up-and-coming country musicians like Mo Pitney and Truxton Mile. Though the festival features country music, there will be various styles, from solo artists to bands.

“This year, we are seeing a lot of growth,” said Nicole Bolinger, the marketing director at the Kern County Museum. “We’re getting great feedback from the community. They’re excited about the event. The word was finally coming out.”

Bolinger hopes for the community to come out have “a good ol’ country time.”

The festival takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. with doors opening at 3.

There will be multiple stages. While bands will not be playing at the same time, there will be music playing throughout the event. The festival also allows concertgoers to tour the museum and enjoy the food trucks and vendors.

Tickets are available at the Kern County Museum website, www.kerncountymuseum.org, and the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame for $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

So bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a piece of Bakersfield history.

“We encourage Bakersfield to come out and enjoy the music, tour Merle Haggard’s boxcar and help the museum. We really want to embrace the community and give you a good time,” said Bolinger.

All proceeds from this fundraiser festival go to the Kern County Museum. For tickets and more information, visit www.kerncountymuseum.org/haggardboxcarmusicfestival. 

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