Public Presentations Attract Fans During Day Two of Cash Festival
Presenters of “Memories of a Lifetime” (from left) Ben Manatt, Bentonville High School EAST Initiative; Dr. Michael Bowman, Media, Arkansas State University; and Dr. Ed Salo, Heritage Studies, Arkansas State University.
DYESS, Ark. — A full day of presentations and reminiscing dominated day two of the 2018 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival. The symposiums were part of the “Ties that Bind” academic theme for the three-day event.
Six seminars hosted by academic experts included public presentations Friday, beginning at 9 a.m., with “Ties of Childhood: Johnny Cash’s Early Musical Influences,” presented by Christian Stanfield of Memphis, with moderator Dr. Adam Long, Heritage Sites, Arkansas State University; “Reflections of Johnny Cash in Popular Culture,” presented by Jessica Kelleher and Lauren Zazzaro of LeMoyne College of Syracuse, N.Y., with moderator Dr. Cathy Calloway, English, Arkansas State University; “Ties Beyond Dyess: Little Rock, San Antonio and Beyond,” presented by Dr. Revis Edmonds, Old State House Museum, moderated by Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, history, Arkansas State University.
Elementary and junior high students from the area, known as the Rivercrest Voices, performed on the Dyess Colony Circle outdoor stage during the noon lunch break.
An update on the Memories of a Lifetime Project, which invites past residents of Dyess to record their oral histories, was presented by Dr. Ed Salo, Heritage Studies, Arkansas State University; Dr. Michael Bowman, Media, Arkansas State University; and Ben Manatt, Bentonville High School EAST Initiative.
The trio offered a small sampling of the “Memories” project containing video interviews with past residents sharing their oral histories.
“We wanted to start a project where people could learn and have a story about what people in Dyess experienced,” said Dr. Salo. Manatt’s students did work on the project with help from Dr. Bowman.
“Some of the interviews came from former residents about how they and families were impacted by the flood of 1937,” added Dr. Bowman. “Also, everyone talked about what a great place Dyess was to grow up in.”
Joanne Cash Yates, sister of Johnny Cash, was present and shared several stories about her family growing up in Dyess.
“Shared Voices: Johnny Cash and His Contemporaries,” followed with Dr. Deborah Chappel Daniel, English, Arkansas State University, serving as moderator. Presenters were Anthony Childress and LaDawn Fuhr, both graduate students at A-State’s Heritage Studies program.
Dr. John Alexander had the keynote presentation at 3 p.m., titled “The Man in Song: A Discographic Biography of Johnny Cash.” Dr. Carl Cates, dean, College of Liberal Arts and Communication, Arkansas State University, served as moderator and the presentation was followed by a book signing.
Day two closed Friday evening with five musical acts with KASU Music Nights. Musical entertainment were Stephen Hardy, Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright, Harmony, The Zyndall Wayne Raney Band, and Cory Jackson.
The festival concludes Saturday afternoon with the concert in the former cotton field adjacent to the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, featuring artists Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, with Ana Cristina Cash, Suzanne Cox, Heather Berry Mabe and Ira Dean. Gates open at 11 a.m. Shawn Camp will open the performances at noon, followed by Bill Miller at 1:05 p.m. John Carter Cash, the Grammy-winning son of Johnny and June Carter Cash, is the event host. The main event, the Johnny Cash Show 50th Anniversary Tribute, will be from 2:15 to 5 p.m.