(The video above, narrated by Kris Kristofferson, is a promotional video featured on the Johnny Cash Music Festival website.)
The lineup for the 4th annual Johnny Cash Music Festival has been announced. This year’s featured performers include Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Bobby Bare. This year’s benefit concert will be held on Aug. 15 at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 28. Tickets range in price from $43-$203 (including handling fee).
In May 1934, “Colonization Project No. 1” was established in southwestern Mississippi County and named for W. R. Dyess, Arkansas’s first Works Progress Administration head, who suggested the idea of giving tenant farmers the opportunity to own their own land to one of FDR’s advisors. The colony was laid out in a wagon-wheel design, with a community center at the hub and farms stretching out from the middle. There were 500 small farmhouses, each with five rooms and an adjacent barn, privy, and chicken coop. The houses were whitewashed clapboard, each having two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a dining room, plus a front and back porch.
Ray and Carrie Cash left Kingland, Ark., in 1935 with their seven children and headed north to Dyess Colony Resettlement Area in Mississippi County in search of a better life.
J.R. Cash was three years old when he went to Dyess. He grew up there. He went to church there. He suffered his first major loss there, when his beloved brother Jack died following a sawmill accident in 1944. He would later say that many of his early songs, like “Five Feet High and Rising,” were inspired by his time in Dyess. He left the community in 1950 to join the Air Force. He would eventually become one of the most influential musicians in the world.
For more information on the Johnny Cash Music Festival, visit http://www.johnnycashmusicfest.com. For updates on the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood home of Johnny Cash, log on to http://dyesscash.astate.edu.