Johnny Cash’s hometown is preparing to host one heck of a party. According to a release from Arkansas State University, Dyess, Ark. plans on throwing the first ever Johnny Cash Heritage Festival.
The event runs from Oct. 19—21, just outside Cash’s restored boyhood home in Dyess. That small town lies about 50 miles north of Memphis, Tenn. and just a few miles west of the border between the two states. Officially, the festival takes place in a field where Cash actually picked cotton as a kid.
So far, the festival announced performances from two country stars with deep ties to Cash. His daughter, Rosanne Cash, and longtime friend Kris Kristofferson both play the inaugural event. Rosanne, along with Arkansas State University, played a pivotal role in developing the event.
In addition to music, the festival focuses on the cultural heritage of Cash and the region he grew up in. The town will offer a symposium, arts and crafts booths and a “Memories of a Lifetime” oral history presentation.
“As anyone who has spent any time listening — truly listening — to Johnny Cash knows, his music was born of some of the most profound events of the 20th century,” Arkansas State Chancellor Tim Hudson says. So the festival plans to really honor Cash not just through his music, but understanding the cultural impact of issues he addressed.
And of course, plenty of regional music, too.
The idea for a Johnny Cash heritage festival dates back decades. But several years ago, the community rallied around the desire to restore Cash’s boyhood home. Through various fundraising efforts and concerts over four years, the community raised money for the restoration.
Expect additional artist announcements and details to be released in the forthcoming months.