The 2018 Woody Guthrie Prize goes to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member John Mellencamp, and he’ll visit Tulsa next month to accept it.
"When the center opened five years ago, one of our initiatives was to establish an annual award to recognize those artists who best exemplify the spirit and life work of Woody Guthrie by speaking for the less fortunate through music, film, literature, dance or other art forms and serving as a positive force for social change in America," said Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud.
The past Woody Guthrie Prize winners are Pete Seger, Mavis Staples, Kris Kristofferson and Norman Lear.
"We’ve worked with John Mellencamp a few times over the years, whether it’s been for a Woody Guthrie event, my dad’s done Farm Aid several times with him, and we’re just really honored and happy that the recipient is someone like John Mellencamp," said Annie Guthrie, one of Woody Guthrie's granddaughters.
Mellencamp will accept the award during an intimate program at Flyloft August 30, which will include a few songs.
The next day, the Woody Guthrie Center opens “Mellencamp,” an exhibit of music, art and artifacts curated by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
"Also, we’re going to have his 1966 silver Honda Scrambler 305 motorcycle," McCloud said. "I’m not saying we’re going to ride it."
The program with Mellencamp will be moderated by music journalist Bill Flanagan. Tickets go on sale July 20.