Editor’s note: This article was originally published February 24, 2014
After shrinking into an event that could barely fill Billy Bob’s Texas in 2012, Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic got a 40th anniversary boost last year from contemporary country artists Gary Allan and Justin Moore, as well as Americana favorite Ryan Bingham and Texas’ Randy Rogers Band.
It was clear that the Picnic would need to continue to evolve from the Willie-and-old-friends format that we’ve seen (with a few exceptions) over the past few decades to maintain that momentum. And it has: Dierks Bentley has been announced as a headliner for this year’s show at the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Bentley, a contemporary country artist, has been nominated for multiple Grammys and won newcomer awards from the Acadamy of Country Music and the Country Music Association in 2004 and 2005. He’s had 10 No. 1 hits, including "What Was I Thinkin’," ""Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)" and "Home." He’s released seven albums, including a bluegrass album in 2010.
So far, Willie and Bentley are the only artists announced for the daylong show, hosted for the seventh time by Billy Bob’s Texas. Another lineup announcement is scheduled for April 14. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 28.