Proceeds from the event will again help fund the restoration of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, Arkansas, as well as support an ASU scholarship fund established in Cash’s name. Four students currently attend ASU due to money raised at the previous festivals.
“We have been extremely happy not only with the progress on Johnny’s boyhood home, but also with the funding of this scholarship,” said concert producer and festival founder Bill Carter in announcing the event.
“Johnny’s family made it clear from the start that giving children from his hometown area an opportunity to get a college education is something Johnny would have been very proud of,” Carter continued. “Likewise, the Dyess area will benefit from the economic boost we feel certain this museum will bring to the community. We’re grateful to the artists who are coming in this year to put on a great show for a great cause.”
The restoration of the historic Cash home, which will become a museum honoring Cash’s legacy, is well underway, and is projected to be open to the public in Spring, 2014.
Johnny Cash moved to Dyess with his family when he was three, and lived there until he graduated high school in 1950. The Dyess community, which is located near Jonesboro, was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s as a Depression-era agricultural resettlement colony. Part of the New Deal program, it provided an opportunity for destitute farmers, who were advanced 20 or 40 acres of farmland, a mule, a small home and money to buy food and plant crops--with the understanding that if they were successful they'd pay back the government.
The Cash family home was appraised at $100,000 when ASU acquired it, largely due to its historical significance. The Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project also includes the town’s administration building and theater—the latter facility, which had only its front façade standing, to be rebuilt for use as a visitors center.
“We have made great progress on the actual restoration of the house and are now working with members of the Cash family on acquiring the appropriate furnishings, which are being carefully researched,” said Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director of Arkansas Heritage Sites. “Thanks to Joanne’s and Tommy’s great memories, it’s going to seem as if the Cash family has just stepped outside the door to head to church.”
Tickets for the Johnny Cash Music Festival will go on sale April 1 and are available at ASU’s Central Box Office and online. Tickets can also be purchased by logging onto the official website of the Johnny Cash Music Festival, or by calling 888-278-3267.
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