It’s just not Independence Day in Texas without the Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic. First held all the way back in 1973, the lineup for this year’s concert was announced Monday morning, with Sturgill Simpson, the Head and the Heart and Margo Price among the headlining acts joining the Red Headed Stranger and his Family Band.
This marks the first time that Simpson has appeared at Nelson’s picnic since 2015, the same year that it was first held at its current location, the Circuit of the Americas racetrack just outside Austin. It’s the third year running that Price has appeared on the bill. Also playing this year are Ryan Bingham, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Jamestown Revival, the Wild Feathers, Particle Kid and Folk Uke.
Nelson’s picnic has moved around several locations in the Lone Star State since it was first held in Dripping Springs in the Texas Hill Country. Several of Nelson’s recurring cast of friends who appeared on those early Seventies bills will return this year, including Asleep at the Wheel, David Allan Coe, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Billy Joe Shaver. There will also once again be a strong presence from Nelson’s own family, with son Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real returning this year, as well as his granddaughter’s Raelyn Nelson Band.
The 84-year-old country legend is back on the road after having to reschedule most of his dates from January and February due to a bout of the flu. He is set to perform March 5th at Peace Concert Hall in Greenville, South Carolina, and also headline the Luck Reunion, held on his own property in Luck, Texas, during South By Southwest next week. Nelson’s latest album Last Man Standing will be released April 27th.