Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 15, 2014
With the 40th anniversary in the rear-view mirror, the increasingly annual Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic is once again coming up on the horizon.
The show will be held in the Fort Worth Stockyards for the 7th time, hosted by Billy Bob’s Texas and taking place mostly on two stages on either end of the North Forty field near the massive club.
Along with Willie Nelson and Family, of course, previously announced headliners are Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham and the Josh Abbott Band. Bingham played the Picnic last year and fit in perfectly alongside the grizzled Picnic veterans.
This week, it was announced that most of those veterans will return: Johnny Bush and Ray Wylie Hubbard were timeless last year and are likely to play early slots this year. Jamey Johnson started playing the Picnic in 2010 and has quickly become a fan favorite. Billy Joe Shaver is on the schedule, though his Twitter feed said on Tuesday that he would be in Illinois on Independence Day. And David Allan Coe returns, even though he struggled last year in his return to the stage not long after he was seriously injured in a car wreck. We’ll see if Coe, who has also had some of the most riveting performances of the Fort Worth Picnics, can return to form.
(Sadly, we’ll miss longtime Picnic veterans Ray Price, who was too ill to make last year’s show before he died in December, and Leon Russell, who likely said farewell last year to the Texas tradition he helped Willie create 40 years prior.)
Continuing their own Picnic tradition that’s been growing over the past decade, Willie’s kids will perform. Lukas Nelson was absent without explanation last year, but is back on the bill. Insects vs. Robots (with Micah Nelson) will make their second Picnic appearance. And Paula Nelson and Folk Uke (Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie) will be the Picnic’s only female voices.
Advance purchase tickets begin at $40 and end with $250 "skybox" seats. Find more information at williespicnic.com.