Johnny Cash festival expands, moves to Dyess

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

DYESS, AR - An updated version of the Johnny Cash Music Festival will premiere this October with a new name and some additions.

The last music festival was held in 2014.

"We had four festivals and the first four were to raise funds for the restoration of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home," Dr. Ruth Hawkins, executive director of the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites program, said. "Of course, we finished that restoration in 2014 so once we opened we decided to take some time to look at how we would go forward with the festival."

After discussions with the Cash family, the event is now called the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival and includes more than just music.

The event will now include educational exhibits and a symposium as well as food and craft vendors.

"We'll focus on both Johnny Cash and New Deal era," Dr. Hawkins said.

It will also be moved from Jonesboro to Dyess.

There will be two keynote speakers at the event. One is Michael Streissguth, the author of "Johnny Cash: The Biography."

The other speaker is a man who has compiled a book of photographs from the New Deal era, according to Dr. Hawkins.

There will be regional musicians performing on Thursday and Friday night of the festival.

"Which will be in the colony center, on the stage in the colony center," Dr. Hawkins said. "And then on Saturday afternoon we will have our big concert, which kind of equates to what we were doing in Jonesboro. The exciting thing about that is that will be in the field next to the house that Johnny Cash grew up in."

The proceeds from the heritage festival will now go to expand the home in Dyess.

"This one will raise money for the next phases of the project, which will include putting all of the out buildings back at the Cash home, the barn, the smokehouse, the chicken coops, and the privy," Dr. Hawkins said.

The festival will be Oct. 19-21.

The lineup for the major concert Saturday night will be announced on Monday, Feb. 13.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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