Johnny Cash festival stars three country legends

Posted: August 14, 2014 at 2:05 a.m.

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn

The fourth annual Johnny Cash Music Festival set for Friday features another all-star lineup.

Country Music Hall of Fame members Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Bobby Bare will perform at this year's sold-out event. Proceeds have helped restore the Cash home and provide college scholarships for Arkansas State University students. Christian singer and comedian Mark Lowry will serve as host and master of ceremonies.

Johnny Cash Music Festival

Featuring: Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Bobby Bare

7 p.m. Friday, Convocation Center, Arkansas State University, 217 Olympic Ave., Jonesboro

(888) 278-3267 or

"This may be our best one yet," says festival founder and concert producer Bill Carter.

The Rector native and Arkansas State University graduate who's now a Nashville, Tenn.-based music producer adds, "You've got three legends on the stage and they are all powerful performers."

Lynn's career spans more than half a century, with her first Top 10 hit, "Success," released in 1962. She is best known for her hit single, album and best-selling autobiography Coal Miner's Daughter. Through the years, she has amassed 52 Top 10 hits and 16 No. 1 songs.

McEntire has sold more than 56 million albums and has hits spanning four decades. She has won numerous honors including two Grammys and seven Country Music Association awards.

Bare has been writing and recording hits for more than 50 years. His first Top 20 hit, "Shame on Me," hit the charts in 1962. Since then, he has recorded 30 Top 20 country hits and won a Grammy for his recording of "Detroit City."

The Johnny Cash Music Festival is special for the artists, Carter says. "Typically when they do dates, they are in and out and don't know anyone there," he says. "But this is a fun event for them."

It's also special for VIP fans who have a chance to visit with the artists.

"These artists don't typically do those meet and greets except for maybe a few fans and here we're going to do one for 200," he says. "Reba agreed to do it right off the bat. But I'm not sure if Loretta will be able to do that; her health isn't great right now and to stand and greet 200 people is tough."

This year's show is sold out. To date, the benefits have raised about $750,000.

The grand opening of Johnny Cash's restored boyhood home at 4791 W. County Road 924 in Dyess (about 47 miles southeast from Jonesboro) will take place Saturday.

After a 10 a.m. dedication ceremony which is free and open to the public, tours of the home offered on the hour will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. Tour tickets are $10 per person and must be bought in advance at the Arkansas State University Box Office in the lower Red Entrance of the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. Box office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

ASU acquired the house in 2011. It was appraised at $100,000, largely due to its historical significance. After its complete restoration, the house was filled with period furnishings and household items, replicating how it appeared between 1935 and 1954 when the Cash family lived there. Cash's siblings Tommy and Joanne assisted.

Cash's youngest daughter, Tara Cash Schwoebel, was among the family members who toured the completed project in April during a VIP inspection tour of the house.

"This is a place that was close to his heart," Schwoebel said. "He talked a lot about growing up here. He would be so happy to see what's been done and he would be so moved and touched." Her visit marked the first time she'd returned to the house since stopping there with her father years ago when he visited on his bus.

"He was a historian and he would be proud of the way everything has been presented. I'm so touched. The beauty and simplicity of the house in the chaos of today's world is refreshing."

Weekend on 08/14/2014