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Johnny Cash Concert Biggest Thing Ever For Regal, Minn., Population 70

August 19, 1989

REGAL, Minn. (AP) _ A farm town that consists of two bars, a grain elevator, a church, baseball field and 70 people can now boast it’s the smallest place Johnny Cash ever played.

Cash took the stage in the alfalfa field behind the County Line Bar on Friday night before nearly 5,000 people, just about all of them from out of town.

″Twenty years ago, they had Woodstock. Welcome to Cornstalk,″ the singer kwown for such hits as ″I Walk the Line″ and ″A Boy Named Sue″ told the mass of fans, many sitting in lawn chairs and sporting caps emblazoned with feed company logos.

Mike Kampsen, 33, organized the concert in part to please his father, Herman, a longtime Cash fan who sings with a local band called Country Cruisin’.

The elder Kampsen, a 65-year-old farmer, got to sing a couple of songs with the Man in Black.

″I’ve liked him since, it seems like when I was a kid,″ Herman Kampsen said. ″I guess I like him because he was a poor man at one time. He sings songs about poor people. Like us.″

Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash, opened the show at 8 p.m., and Cash took the stage an hour later. Daughter Cindy Cash and Carter sisters Helen and Anita also performed.

Cash, a severe cold draining his voice, struggled through versions of ″Folsom Prison Blues,″ ″Ring of Fire,″ ″Orange Blossom Special″ and other old favorites, plus a series of gospel songs during his 75-minute performance.

″I’ve been getting fan mail from Europe from people asking ’Where’s Regal? We can’t find it on the map,‴ Cash said. And he said he and his family had been looking forward to the Regal show more than any other concert date on this year’s schedule.

Cash’s manager, Lou Robin, confirmed that Regal, about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis, was the smallest town the singer ever played.

″It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,″ said Pat Beirer of Regal.

Kaye Stein of Kimball said she brought her husband, Paul, who had never been to a concert before. She called Cash ″the most human of all the country- western singers.″

Mike Kampsen said earlier he needed to sell 3,500 tickets at $20 to $30 each to break even on the show. Diane Hoffenkamp, who handled concert publicity, said 4,800 tickets were sold.

Kampsen borrowed money from a bank to make the up-front payment to Cash, but wouldn’t say how much he paid the singer.

″The banker thought I was kind of nuts, but he gave me the money anyway,″ he said.

Dave Johnson and about 40 others came from Fargo, N.D., on a bus provided by a local radio station.

″We’re just a bunch of country hicks who like Johnny Cash,″ Johnson said. ″About a week ago, we heard about it and said ‘Gee, we ought to go, we’re done with harvest.’ But we didn’t know where it was. We had a 1970 atlas and we couldn’t find Regal.″

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