If you’re going to Willie’s Picnic, here’s who’s playing which stage

Willie Nelson at his Fourth of July Picnic in 2015. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

It’s almost that time again. Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic happens on Tuesday at Circuit of the Americas, and the venue has now announced the order of performers for acts on the event’s two stages.

Exact set times have not yet been released, but gates open at 11 a.m., and music on the smaller Plaza Stage begins at noon. In the past two years, music on the main Pavilion Stage (in the Austin360 Amphitheater) has started just past 3:30 p.m. Here’s a rundown of who’s on each stage, in order of appearance:


  • Ray Wylie Hubbard
  • Hayes Carll
  • Margo Price
  • Turnpike Troubadours
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Willie Nelson & Family


  • David Allan Coe
  • Raelyn Nelson Band
  • Folk Uke
  • Billy Joe Shaver
  • Insects vs. Robots
  • Johnny Bush
  • Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
  • Asleep at the Wheel
  • Steve Earle & the Dukes

Texas author and songwriter Kinky Friedman returns as emcee on the Pavilion Stage, with Eric Raines of Austin country station KOKE-FM doing the honors on the Plaza Stage.

As concessions at Circuit of the Americas are pricey, it’s wise to take advantage of the following exception to the venue’s usual no-outside-food rule: Concertgoers may bring “one (1) 1-quart sized clear plastic bag with food, per person.” A single 20-ounce factory-sealed water bottle is also permitted, per the venue’s standard policy; those bottles can then be refilled at water stations on the grounds.

RELATED: Advice from an 18-time veteran of Willie’s Picnic

We’ll have more on Willie and the Picnic in Sunday’s American-Statesman, including an interview with Buddy Cannon, the Nashville producer who has been central to Nelson’s recording career in recent years. Here’s an excerpt involving Cannon’s mother, Lyndel Rhodes, who wrote the opening track on Nelson’s new album “God’s Problem Child”:

Last fall, after Cannon and Nelson finished recording her sweetly hummable tune “Little House on the Hill,” Cannon drove to his mother’s house in Lexington, Tenn., and filmed a short video of her hearing it for the first time. It’s been viewed nearly a million times on YouTube since then.

Rhodes, 93, wrote the song around a decade ago after visiting Cannon in Nashville one day. “She just wanted to get back home to her little house up on the hill,” Cannon said. “She wrote the song on the way home. I didn’t know she had it written for nine years or so.

“One day when I was visiting, she started showing me these songs she had written. I had her sing into my phone. And this one just stuck in my head. When we were getting ready to make this album, I made a little bit cleaner demo of it with me doing the vocal and I sent it down to Willie. In about 10 minutes, he emailed me back and said, ‘I love this, let’s put it on the album.’”

It’s the first time his mother has ever had a song recorded by someone. “She doesn’t quite realize what it means to have a Willie Nelson cut, you know,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve tried to tell her that if every songwriter in Nashville only got one song recorded and it was a Willie Nelson cut, they would feel like every dream they ever had came true.”

The full article is now online here:

» Buddy system: Willie Nelson makes great music with Nashville producer

Author: Peter Blackstock

Music writer for the Austin American-Statesman and austin360.com. Twitter: @Blackstock360

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