Friday, March 31, 2023

Arkansas State University & the City of Dyess plan Johnny Cash Boyhood Museum
Officials at Arkansas State University announced the first Johnny Cash Music Festival concert, to be held Thursday, August 4, 7:30 p.m., at ASU’s Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro.

The media event featured members of the Cash family. Rosanne Cash, John Carter Cash, and Tommy Cash officially announcing the creation of the festival and the talent lineup for this inaugural concert. The Cash family is working with Arkansas State University to develop an annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, with proceeds each year going to restoration of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the establishment of a museum. The university recently acquired the original Cash homeplace in Dyess and plans to restore the structure. The university also plans the establishment of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Museum in the New Deal Era Administration Building at Dyess.

The Cash family is committed to ongoing involvement in this project to ensure that the festival remains vibrant and that the Johnny Cash legacy is preserved in Dyess. Ray and Carrie Cash and their children, including 3-year-old J. R. (later known as Johnny Cash), were among five colonist families recruited from Cleveland County, Arkansas, to the historic Dyess Colony. 

Johnny Cash lived in Dyess until he graduated from high school in 1950. His music is greatly influenced by his experiences in Dyess, including such songs as “Pickin’ Time” and “Five Feet High and Rising.” The Cash home is one of the few houses remaining in the former agricultural resettlement colony. 

As Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director, Arkansas Heritage Sites and Arkansas Delta Byways, emphasized, “The Johnny Cash Music Festival will not be just a concert, but an opportunity to preserve the legacy of an internationally recognized legend. We are proud that Johnny Cash is from Arkansas and that growing up here had an impact on his music. It is time that we pay permanent tribute to his memory, and we are especially grateful to the Cash family for their involvement and support in this endeavor.” 
Key partners working with Arkansas State University on this first festival include Bill Carter of Gaither Television Productions, Jan Eric Volz of Northern Sierra Entertainment Services, Joey Pruett of Glen Sain Motors, the Cash family, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Suddenlink, and the City of Dyess. 

The City of Dyess reports: “We have purchased the Dyess Colony Administration Building!  All proceeds from concerts and fund raising will be used to complete the renovation of the building to make the Johnny Cash Memorial.   After that is finished, we are planning to restore the town circle as close as possible, to its original state.  This includes restoring the old movie theater, and renaming it the Johnny Cash Movie theatre, making it as original and old fashioned as possible, based on the original plans and the memories of our senior residents from the time of Johnny Cash’s childhood.”  
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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