The best holiday of the summer is quickly approaching as the Fourth of July is just two weeks away.
Americans will celebrate our country’s independence day however they choose, but for most, they’ll be spending time outside, in some capacity, firing up the grill and popping a few tops in the name of freedom.
Originally hosted at the Hurlbut Ranch in Dripping Springs, TX circa 1973, Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic has been held annually, with several exceptions, ever since.
With what I believe will be the 39th installment of the tradition this coming July, the vast majority of events have been held in Austin, or at least throughout Texas, but throughout its history six states have hosted the event.
Just a couple of days ago, a post made to Willie’s Instagram account highlighted some of the event’s lineups from years past.
“A look back at a few of the notable 4th of July Picnic posters throughout the years! Less than a month out from Willie’s Annual 4th of July Picnic”
Out of curiosity, I looked back at the rest of the past lineups, and to no surprise, ol’ Willie has been able to pull together some pretty insane lineups over the years.
So, with that being said, see below for some of my favorites, featuring Waylon Jennings, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Grateful Dead, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Turnpike Troubadours, Chris Stapleton, and dozens more of the best to ever do it.
1973 – Hurlbut Ranch (Dripping Springs, TX)
Willie Nelson – Waylon Jennings – Kris Kistofferson – John Prine – Doug Sahm – Sammi Smith – Tom T. Hall.
1974 – Texas World Speedway (College Station, TX)
Willie Nelson – Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band – Jimmy Buffett – Townes Van Zandt – Kinky Friedman.
1977 – Tulsa Fairgrounds Speedway (Tulsa, OK)
Willie Nelson – Lynyrd Skynyrd – Waylon Jennings – Jesse Colter – Jerry Jeff Walker – Asleep at the Wheel – Leon Russell.
1978 – Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas CIty, MO)
Willie Nelson – Grateful Dead – Waylon Jennings – Jessie Colter – Jerry Jeff Walker – Missouri.
1985 – Southpark Meadows (Austin, TX)
Willie Nelson – Waylon Jennings – Kris Kristofferson – Johnny Cash – Neil Young – Hank Snow – June Carter Cash.
2004 – Billy Bob’s Texas (Fort Worth, TX)
Willie Nelson – Kris Kristofferson – Cross Canadian Ragweed – Clarence Brown.
2005 – Billy Bob’s Texas (Fort Worth, TX)
Willie Nelson – Bob Dylan – Doobie Brothers – Lightnin’ Willie & the Poorboys – Pauline Reese.
2007 – Gorge Amphitheater (Quincy, WA)
Willie Nelson – Son Volt – Old 97s – Drive-By Truckers – 40 Points.
2014 – Billy Bob’s Texas, Fort Worth Stockyards (Fort Worth, TX)
Willie Nelson – Charley Pride – David Allan Coe – Ryan Bingham – Ray Wiley Hubbard – Dierks Bentley.
2015 – Circuit of the Americas (Austin, TX)
Willie Nelson – Eric Church – Merle Haggard – Kacey Musgraves – Jason Isbell – Asleep at the Wheel – Sturgill Simpson – Leon Russell – Chris Stapleton – Billy Joe Shaver – Johnny Bush – Kris Kristofferson – David Allan Coe – Ray Wylie Hubbard – Jamey Johnson – Paula Nelson – Greezy Wheels – Raelyn Nelson Band – Folk Uke – Hudson Moore – Amber Digby – Pauline Reese.
2017 – Austin360 Amphitheater (Austin, TX)
Willie Nelson – Asleep at the Wheel – Billy Joe Shaver – David Allan Coe – Folk Uke – Hayes Carll – Insects vs Robots – Jamey Johnson – Johnny Bush – Kacey Musgraves – Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Margo Price – Ray Wylie Hubbard – Sheryl Crow – Steve Earle & the Dukes – Turnpike Troubadours.
2018 – Austin360 Amphitheater (Austin, TX)
Willie Nelson – Asleep at the Wheel – Billy Joe Shaver – David Allan Coe – Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Folk Uke – Gene Watson – Jamestown Revival – Johnny Bush – Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Margo Price – Particle Kid – Ray Wylie Hubbard – Ryan Bingham – Sturgill Simpson – The Head and the Heart – The Wild Feathers.
2022 – Q2 Stadium (Austin, TX)
Willie Nelson – Tyler Childers – Steve Earle & the Dukes – Particle Kid – Midland – Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Charley Crockett – Brothers Osborne – Asleep at the Wheel – Allison Russell.
2023 – Q2 Stadium (Austin, TX)
Willie Nelson – Tyler Childers – Dwight Yoakam – Shaky Graves – Shane Smith & the Saints – Sierra Ferrell – Asleep at the Wheel – Particle Kid.
And you can actually watch his entire 1974 concert on YouTube: