The daughter of legendary country singer Johnny Cash smiled as she recently dug through her closet and pulled out her father’s Air Force shirt, a heavy black knee-length leather jacket and frilly collared white shirts he wore underneath his trademark black suits.
“I want people to see a side of Dad that they never saw,” said Cash, 52. “He was a father, grandfather, a family man. His family was so important to him and he was such a compassionate man.”
Fans of Johnny Cash will have an opportunity to view personal family mementos Saturday at the third annual Johnny Cash Music Festival at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The festival will feature various artists, including singer Kris Kristofferson.
The event also will feature an auction in which Cindy Cash will sell some of her father’s personal items. Proceeds will go to the Coalition to End Family Violence and Ventura County FOOD Share.
This year, young Cash fans can play at the kids’ corral, while parents can take in the music or view a selection of classic cars, including Johnny Cash’s Mercedes-Benz.
Ross Emery, producer of the event, said Cash fans will not only have the opportunity to listen to professional musicians do their interpretation of the country singer’s music, but also hear and see the influence Cash has had across various music genres.
“His music influenced me as a young musician, and he has influenced almost everyone in music,” said Emery, a member of the Ventura rock band Raging Arb and the Redheads. “His music affected our culture, but he was more than that. He was an icon, but he also was a father and a family man.”
Cindy Cash followed in her dad’s footsteps and also pursued a career as a singer, following him to Nashville, Tenn., when she was 19. She often went on the road and performed alongside her dad and was in a group called Next Generation.
Johnny Cash lived in Casitas Springs, Calif., for six years with his first wife, Vivian, and their four daughters, Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy and Tara, until the couple divorced in 1966. Cash moved to Nashville and married fellow country singer June Carter in 1968 and had a son, John Carter Cash, two years later.
June and Johnny took their act on the road for the next 35 years until June died in May 2003. Cash died four months later. Vivian remarried and stayed in Ventura County until she died in 2005.
Aside from her father’s musical legacy, Cindy Cash said she hopes fans who attend Saturday’s festival will also see how her father’s marriage to her mother also influenced his award-winning body of work.
While a selection of stage clothes, letters, glasses, guitar picks and other memorabilia will be on display Saturday, plans are already in the works for a Johnny Cash exhibit at the Museum of Ventura County in 2013, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the singer’s death.