by: Ken Beck
Fans of the Man in Black can get close to his roots, his family, his friends and his songs at the second Johnny Cash Music Festival Oct. 5 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.
Headlining the bill, along with Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash, will be Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley and The Civil Wars.
Funds from the concert are going to restore the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, Ark., and also will support a scholarship fund in honor of the country music legend.
“Dyess is an area that really needs help, and this project (the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home) will help. We have a lot of good friends in Dyess, and the family is proud to see the project moving along. The best thing is that it is a continuing project, and we hope it will continue for many years to come,” said John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.
Arkansas State University (ASU) is leading efforts for the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project, which will preserve the heritage of the Dyess Colony, a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Program during the Great Depression. More than $1.4 million has been raised, including $300,000 in proceeds from the first Johnny Cash Music Festival.
The redevelopment plan includes restoration of the Cash family home and renovation of the historic Administration Building and Theater Building in the Colony Center. Partnership between the town and ASU also will see a re-creation of the Cash farmstead outbuildings, historic markers placed throughout Dyess and a walking trail linking the Colony Center and the Cash house.
Cash’s parents, Ray and Carrie Cash, raised their seven children (Roy, Margaret Louise, Jack, J.R. (Johnny), Reba, Joanne and Tommy) in the house where they lived from 1935 to 1954 on an East Arkansas cotton farm.
The Johnny Cash Boyhood Home is scheduled to open late summer/early fall 2013, in time to mark the 10th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death, which was on Sept. 12, 2003.
For information on how you can attend, or support the efforts to refurbish Johnny Cash’s childhood home, and create museum/library: