“In the land of Johnny Cash and Elvis” reads the top of the logo for the first annual Ink-N-Iron festival in Nashville. And its roster is filled with artists who pray to those two Tennessee deities… and a handful of singers who knew them.
The three-day event, set for August 7th — 9th at downtown Music City’s Bicentennial Mall Park, will feature sets by an eclectic list of more than 65 acts. Cash disciple Merle Haggard leads the bill, with fellow country outlaws Billy Joe Shaver, Hayes Carll and Nikki Lane also playing. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson (the Queen of Rockabilly) will perform, as will Texas Country Music Hall of Famer, Sonny Burgess. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears will represent the funk and soul portion of the bill, while Jim Lauderdale and Lindi Ortega represent the best of Americana. Rock, punk and metal acts include Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Batmobile and the Bronx. See the full lineup here.
Nine Ink-N-Iron artists have musical roots planted at the Sun Record Company in Memphis, where Cash and Presley both got their musical starts. Carl Mann, Sleepy Labeef, WS Holland, Rayburn Anthony, Stan Perkins, Sonny Burgess, Linda Gail Lewis, JM Van Eaton, Danny B. Harvey and Annie Marie Lewis are all Sun graduates, with ties to the likes of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and, of course, the Man in Black and the King of Rock & Roll.
The “ink” in Ink-N-Iron is for the festival’s massive tattoo show, as artists from around the world will be there to model and create body art for fans. The “iron” is for the Artistry in Iron motorcycle craftsmen contest that takes place during the festival and ends with one contest winner taking home a custom bike. There will also be cabaret performances, vintage fashion shows, art displays, a car show and hot rod racing at the nearby Nashville Fairgrounds.
The Ink-N-Iron Festival originated in Long Beach, California, and is now in its 13th year on the west coast. The Long Beach festivities are set for June 12th — 14th, with its musical lineup to be announced soon.