Spearheaded by Cash’s children Rosanne and John Carter Cash, the inaugural Johnny Cash Music Festival Aug. 4 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro raised $310,000 that will be used for the restoration of Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, Ark. ASU bought the house in April.
Among the performers were Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Gary Morris and son Matt, bluegrass act Dailey & Vincent, Rodney Crowell, and Cash’s siblings Tommy Cash and Joanne Cash Yates.
“There are four generations of Cashes here tonight,” said Rosanne Cash. “And if it wasn’t for that little house, none of us would be here.”
“It’s about the heart; it’s about the spirit. It’s about bloodlines, too,” John Carter Cash noted. “The things my father believed in are being continued here. He was a child of Arkansas, a child of this area. The sweat and blood he put into this gumbo soil may be showing the flowering fruits of that now.”
Practically all of the entertainers dressed in black, and most of the 40 songs performed were either written by or hits by Cash. The four-hour concert will be made into a PBS-TV special.