Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic was back in Austin, Texas, on Thursday to celebrate Independence Day. Alison Krauss returned for the first time since 2016, joining Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver, Steve Earle & the Dukes, and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, who made their Picnic debut. Luke Combs also performed at his first Picnic, delivering a powerful set of hits like “Beautiful Crazy,” “Hurricane” and his new single, “Beer Never Broke My Heart.”
Of course, it’s the Red Headed Stranger who ties it all together. The outlaw country legend offered his customary staples, from “Whiskey River” to “On the Road Again,” and also nodded to Hank Williams with “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” and “Hey Good Lookin’.”
With roots dating back to Nelson’s first Independence Day bash in nearby Dripping Springs in 1973, the 46th installment of the Picnic marked its fifth year in its current home at Austin360 Amphitheater at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack outside Austin.
As Ray Wylie Hubbard told Rolling Stone backstage, “You know, all the people who play Willie’s Picnic, they all have an integrity of being songwriters, because Willie is such a great songwriter. But to be a performer [here] it kinda validates ya.”
See more photos from the 4th of July Picnic above.