The first ever "Cash Fest" was held in Nashville on November 10, 2019 at the War Memorial Auditorium. By all accounts, the stellar event with an all-star lineup hit it out of the park in its inaugural configuration with a non-stop three-hour celebration of the Man In Black - Johnny Cash.
The grand finale at Cash Fest brought it all full circle in Music City.
Presented by The Johnny Cash Trust and The Best Fest, in partnership with YouTube, the unprecedented charity concert in Nashville honoring the music of the legendary Johnny Cash was held on the day before the much anticipated release of The Gift: THE JOURNEY of Johnny Cash - a Youtube Originals documentary. Skillfully and artfully conceived and created by Emmy-award winning Thom Zimny - the director was on hand to kick off the proceedings with help from John Carter Cash. Together the pair discussed Johnny's lasting cultural impact and importance to the Mid-Tenn region before turning the stage over to the high-powered line-up that featured over 75 total musical participants in a well-presented and rewarding revue style format.
"Making this film, I learned a lot about different things and if Johnny taught me one thing, it was gratitude," Zimny said as he thanked YouTube, the Cash-Carter family, and to Johnny Cash. "I also want to say thank you to Johnny Cash for his music, his faith, his family, and his love. It has really touched my life. Tonight is a dream come true for me."
One of the biggest bands in country music - Little Big Town.
"The thing is, there's nobody else in the world like him," Cash said of his father. "I'm so grateful because he has a humility and a strength that endured because he established this lasting legacy himself based on his kindness and who he was as a human being, based on the way that he loved in life."
Highlights included an early dose of dynamic super-stardom from one of the biggest bands in country music as Little Big Town poured out a stirring rendition of Cash's gospel take on "Why Me, Lord?" that was enthusiastically received by the Cash-Carter family representatives who were positioned on couches set up in front of the stage.
John Carter Cash , Carlene Carter and the Carter Family reunion put the legacy and the lineage on display.
Other crowd favorites included Wilder Woods' - better known as Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe rocking - with a convincing delivery of "God's Gonna Cut You Down". The biggest cheers of the night went up after Midland's lively cover of the Cash composed "Ghost Rider's In The Sky". Dennis Quaid's version of "Walk The Line" added some high powered Hollywood representation to the mix. Devin Dawson was perhaps the most influenced as he is often seen dressed as a "Man In Black" so his song choice was very personal and it showed.
Perry and Etty Farrell were an unexpected pair as the Jane's Addiction frontman and his wife dazzled on the June Carter penned "Ring of Fire". The festive evening was rounded out by appearances from Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant, Elle King, Judah & The Lion, Dennis Quaid, Grace Potter, John Oates, Drew & Ellie Holcomb, Nikki Lane, Joy Williams, Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters, Clare Bowen and Brandon Robert Young, Cam and more. But, the show and celebration really came full circle when the full cast joined John Carter, Carlene Carter and the Carter family for the meaningful song that first put the dynasty on the map. In 2019 "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" proved that the music goes on and on as the wheel goes around and we can't wait until they do it all over again.