Lonely Planet Writer

Johnny Cash’s iconic Folsom Prison gig is being recreated on this small Irish island

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s iconic gig at Folsom Prison in California. With that in mind, Spike Island, a tiny landmass just off Cork harbour in Ireland (that even boasts its own 200-year old fortress) is remembering the man in black with a special recreation of the event this month.

Spike Island in Cork seen from above.
Spike Island in Cork seen from above. Image by Spike Island

Inviting members of the public to become inmates for the evening, Spike Island recently announced that Johnny Cash tribute band Strictly Cash will play a special evening on Saturday 30 June, along with Dutch rockabilly band the Black Suspenders as special guests. Organising it at Fort Mitchell, a star-shaped stronghold that at one time acted as a jail housing 2300 prisoners, the event proved incredibly popular and sold out within minutes, with people all over Ireland scooping up tickets. This led to Spike Island quickly adding two more dates on the following days, which also sold out.

Tribute act Strictly Cash will play the events. Image by Spike Island / Strictly Cash

“This event is unique in that members of the public have rarely had the chance to experience a concert in a former prison environment. Guests will be carried to the prison to be given a brief tour of the island before being escorted to Mitchell Hall, where the scene will be set to recreate the gig,” Paddy Dunphy of Spike Island told Lonely Planet Travel News. Paddy also said that due to the massive response, the prison will definitely be looking at running similar events, hopefully at an outdoor area to accommodate much larger crowds. “We are very excited by the potential gigs we may hold in the near future,” he said.

The organisers at Spike Island said that they plan to host more concerts in the future. Image by Spike Island

No strangers to Cash, in 2008 Ireland marked the 40th anniversary of Folsom Prison with another jailhouse gig at Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison.

More information on future events at Spike Island is available at the official website.