Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic poster

Holiday tradition now in its fifth decade

Print Page

In 1973, Willie Nelson launched the first Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic concert. The three day event, held in Dripping Springs, attracted 40,000 fans and gave rise to a longstanding summer tradition.  

The inspiration for the picnic concert came to Willie Nelson in 1972 when he played at a two day outdoor concert dubbed the Dripping Springs Reunion. He was one of 16 different acts that played the concert. The show attracted 15,000 fans, despite being poorly advertised, and encouraged Nelson to try a similar concert himself.  

Since that first concert in 1973, Nelson has been able to attract top-notch talent to join his Picnic, including such acts as Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Jimmy Buffett, the Pointer Sisters, Lynyrd Skynrd, June Carter Cash, Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, and Bob Dylan. While the concert has not always been an annual event, and it hasn't consistently been held in one place (or even in Texas for that matter), it has become a staple of the summer music scene.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic poster Artifact from Austin
Browse All Stories

Read stories from people across Texas

Browse All Stories