Archive for Willie Nelson Picnic

(More Than) 30 Years Out: Willie Nelson Picnic, 1974

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 28, 2008 by 30daysout


Willie Nelson’s first July 4 picnic was in 1973 in Dripping Springs, west of Austin, and it was a near-disaster.  More than 50,000 fans jammed the rural roads leading to the concert site, and understaffed concert workers continuously treated heat exhaustion and fought with drunken fans.

So the next year, they just made it bigger.  Somebody called it “The Great Willie Nelson Commando Hoo-Ha and Texas Brain Fry.”  I can attest to that “fry” part – College Station, Texas, in early July is kinda like the surface of the sun and Willie’s picnic, a three-day event at the Texas World Speedway, was hotter than the devil’s digestive tract after a Tex-Mex meal at Las Manitas.

Of course, Willie opened the show.  He kicked off with “Whiskey River” and “Stay All Night” and you know you’re certainly gonna do that.  Now this all-day affair wasn’t country rock, it was stone country in some parts (Bobby Bare and Sammi Smith, look ‘em up).  But guys like Waylon Jennings rocked pretty hard; I remember everyone going nuts for him.  Jimmy Buffett was there, he hadn’t yet found the tropics so he sang “Let’s Get Drunk And Screw.”  And the crowd replied, “OK.”

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