Gateway to the Central Valley and a short drive from the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Bakersfield is the ninth-largest city in California and one of the fastest developing areas in the world. It is a birthplace of the country music genre, known as the Bakersfield Sound, and has a very divergent economy. As seat of Kern County, Bakersfield contributes to the most productive oil-producing county in the country; it’s also the fourth most productive agricultural county in the United States. But this city also has an emphasis on education, with California State University, Bakersfield and Bakersfield College contributing a vibrant scene of arts and entertainment. In the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield has become central to California.