By Shelby Parker
Over the past 40 years, The Runner has covered numerous music-related stories, not only on the California State University, Bakersfield campus, but also out in the community. The newspaper has been providing coverage of album reviews, local musical acts, along with major events such the Jazz Music Festival. There were even occasions when well-known musicians and entertainers would sing at our very own venues from the Icardo Center to the Amphitheater.
Here are just a few of the top moments that have taken place at CSUB:
Bakersfield Jazz Festival/Jazz Coffeehouse
The Jazz Festival was first covered in a 1974 issue of The Weekly Roadrunner. Since it was only a newsletter at the time, it simply highlighted the one-day event, which was held at The Commons, and lasted just a few hours. The festival still takes place every May, and is still one of the largest events for CSUB to this day, as it is put on by the CSUB Music Department. The festival has become a two-day event, filled with jazz musicians. Jazz styles all across the board are performed by local musicians, as well as the occasional special guest, like Pete Christlieb, who was a former tenor saxist from the “Tonight Show Band.”
Jim Scully was quoted in the May 24, 2000 issue saying, “I think the Jazz Festival is an absolutely great event for the city of Bakersfield,” and was also a performer that day.
Aside from the annual Jazz Festival, The Runner has also offered coverage on The Jazz Coffeehouse. It was also the first type of CSUB music concert for students, and was first covered by The Weekly Roadrunner in 1975. The Hobbit Hole Coffee House presented a Tuesday night concert that was hosted in the Dining Commons.
Bakersfield Business Conference
The Bakersfield Business Conference has brought entertainers all across the board to CSUB, when it moved from its original campus in 1992. While it has hosted many presidents, political officials, speakers and athletes, many musical acts have also joined in on the fun. Musicians like Ray Charles, Reba McEntire, and Buck Owens have come to wow the crowds.
“It’s inspirational to realize he exceeded further beyond any dream that he had and to become a successful businessman, which tells me anyone willing to work hard can succeed beyond what their dreams are,” said conference attendee, Richard Hunter, of Buck Owens’ surprise visit in 1999.
MTV Campus Invasion Tour
In April 1999, the MTV Invasion Tour came to the Icardo Center, as the bands Sugar Ray, including lead singer Mark McGrath, and Orgy entertained the crowds. The idea behind the Invasion Tour was to host up-and-coming bands that were targeted at college students. Before the concert, tents were lined up with band members playing “until the extremely gusty winds blew the event into the evening.” McGrath even sported a CSUB tank top, representing the school. It was a cold evening, but that didn’t stop the throngs of fans from coming to the show.
The Runner, has covered a variety of music with everything from The Beatles, Cher, and mainstream hits of today. Hopefully within the next 40 years of The Runner, the entertainment will continue to grow and expand, not only on campus, but all around town as well.