Mark your calendars for Flower Pickin’ Festival

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Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late great Johnny Cash, will headline the second annual Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival scheduled to be staged in downtown Starkville, Mississippi next month.

My friend Shirley Dawkins(the same one who is my plant donor) is pictured with Cash more than 40 years ago. They were attending a private party following the concert which was also attended by Margaret Ann and Barry Wood, of the now world famous Little Dooey Restaurant.

Cash fans from around the globe are expected to attend the festivities which will take place October 17-19 in the city where Cash was incarcerated more than 40 years ago for picking flowers in the garden of a local family. For his crime, he spent the night in the Starkville City Jail which later became the title of one of his songs.

The festival will feature music, guest speakers, a charity auction and a symbolic pardon of Cash’s crime of “pickin’ flowers” in the small northeastern Mississippi town.

Paying tribute to the “Man in Black’s” life through redemption and flowers on Oct. 17-19, Cash’s friends, family and fans from throughout the world will gather to honor his life and legacy.

The records show that Johnny Cash was actually arrested for public drunkenness in Starkville on May 11, 1965, after performing at Mississippi State University. In his inebriated condition he decided to wander away from his motel room and pick some flowers which is when he was detained.

The motel booked by Cash and his band will be open for the festival and a night in the Johnny Cash Suite will be auctioned.

Rosanne Cash said the arc of her dad’s life “was the story of redemption. Even when it didn’t totally pan out, he still believed in redemption.” Johnny Cash’s life was filled with struggles with alcohol and amphetamine abuse, straining his relationship with family and friends. He eventually contained his addiction but never forgot how it hurt people close to him.

“There were so many difficult, even devastating, events in his life that he bore and assimilated, without blaming others,” Rosanne said in a recent interview. “Starkville is the perfect little microcosm of that larger story.”

Marshall Grant, Cash’s original bassist and former tour manager, helped organize the festival. He said if Cash was alive, he would be proud of the festival paying tribute to his less than perfect life.

Contact information: Visit www.pardonjohnnycash.com, e-mail pardonjohnnycash@gmail.com or call festival organizer Robbie Ward at 662-418-4290.

2 thoughts on “Mark your calendars for Flower Pickin’ Festival

  1. The Johnny Cash festival brings back a MSU memory. Eugene Murray, Billy Joe Ayers, and I attended that concert at MSU. We wandered backstage after the concert and I got Johnny’s autograph. I pinned it to my bedroom wall where it remained until I left for the Air Force. Over time I lost track of the autograph. I believe June Carter was in the room also. His arrest was the news of day.

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