WRITTEN BY: SARA MCNEIL
Singer-songwriter and author Rosanne Cash announced that she will host the second Johnny Cash Music Festival on Friday, Oct. 5, at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas. According to Bill Carter, the festival’s executive producer, the talent lineup will be announced at an 11 a.m. news conference on Thursday, May 24, at ASU’s Cooper Alumni Center, 2600 Alumni Blvd., Jonesboro. On Thursday, May 24, Rosanne Cash will be in the studios of WKNO-Memphis to promote the premiere of the PBS special filmed at the inaugural Johnny Cash Music Festival held Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, at ASU’s Convocation Center. Check local listings for time and channel information.
Tickets for the second Johnny Cash Music Festival go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 25, at ASU’s Central Box Office, online at http://www.astate.edu/tickets/. Tickets can also be purchased by logging onto the official website of the Johnny Cash Music Festival, www.johnnycashmusicfest.com. Call to purchase tickets toll-free at 1-888-278-3267 or locally at 870-972-2781. The first-ever Johnny Cash Music Festival was a sold-out success. Fans young and old, urban and rural, from places as close to Jonesboro as the small borough of Bono and as far away as Norway, crowded the Convocation Center to witness a behemoth concert of Cash family and friends, what Johnny Cash himself might have called “kith and kin,” who had gathered in tribute to the man and his musical legacy.
As Rosanne Cash says, “My dad always said he didn’t want to mythologize growing up on a farm and how hard they worked—he said it was just too hard to mythologize. But he always held this place, and this area, in his heart, because this was the roots of where the music came from, where his inspiration came from—this place and his family. Now people will be able to come here and touch something tangible, my dad’s house, where he actually grew up…The music the family sang while working in the fields, the music in church, and the music that came across the radio in that little house in Dyess was the background of their lives.”
In his 1997 autobiography, “Cash,” written with Patrick Carr, Johnny Cash wrote: “Inside me, my boyhood feels so close, but when I look around, it seems to belong to a vanished world. In the United States in the late 1990s, is it really possible to imagine whole families, boys and girls of eight to eighteen at their parents’ sides in the cotton fields, working through the July heat from dawn to dusk, driving away exhaustion with songs of the spirit?…Back in Arkansas, a way of life produced a certain kind of music.” Arkansas State University, and its director of Heritage Sites, Dr. Ruth Hawkins, who heads the restoration project, is determined to preserve that vanishing world before it is completely eradicated.
Rosanne Cash spoke to a press conference crowd in April 2011, saying, “There’s a real need for authenticity now. And everything about this is authentic. It’s authentically real, it’s part of my family, it’s my dad’s history, it’s where the music came from, and it will be here now forever.”
For more information about the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project, the Historic Dyess Colony Master Plan, or the Johnny Cash Music Festival, visit www.johnnycashmusicfest.com, or contact the Arkansas Heritage Sites Office at Arkansas State University at 1-888-225-8343 or 1-870-972-2803.