Marty Stuart To Headline Starkville's Cash Festival

This appeared in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - September 6, 2007

Mississippi native Marty Stuart will walk the line to Starkville to headline the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival in November.

Stuart, a Philadelphia native, will headline the event meant to honor Cash, the country music legend whom Stuart called boss and father-in-law. Festival officials announced the musical guests for the event Wednesday.

"We wanted to pick a headliner for the first festival who had a direct Johnny Cash connection and who also had a Mississippi connection," said the festival's executive director, Robbie Ward.

The festival is set for November 2-4, 2007 in downtown Starkville.

Stuart was a member of Cash's band and was married to one of Cash's daughters. Also, since Cash's death in 2003, Stuart has worn black in tribute to "the man in black," Ward said.

"When we approached him to headline the festival, he said he would bring his Fabulous Superlatives here and put the Johnny Cash in them," Ward said.

Stuart has received four Grammy Awards and has had six Top 10 hits, five gold albums and one platinum album.

In addition to Stuart, Ring of Fire - termed "one of the premiere Johnny Cash tribute bands in the country" by Ward - also will perform at the festival. Country band Kingbilly also will perform, as will Jordan Carter and the Larry Wallace Band.

Besides music, the festival will feature a public viewing of the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line," a charity auction and social at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house, and a redemption service.

And, if all goes well, members of Cash's family will be on hand to accept a pardon from the city, county and state, Ward said.

On May 11, 1965, Cash was arrested in Starkville for public drunkenness. He wrote the song "Starkville City Jail" about his experience.

By Sheena Barnett

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