Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic Goes Virtual for a Cause

The Austin music legend celebrates his 47th annual concert benefiting local organizations

By Hannah J. Phillips
Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic
Photo by David McClister

After hosting his annual Luck Reunion festival virtually in March and celebrating his 87th birthday in April, Willie Nelson will once again grace Austin living rooms this weekend. Now in its 47th year, Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic is one of summer’s most anticipated Austin events, and music fans can rejoice that the show will go on this year – albeit virtually. Whether you already had tickets to the annual event or have been meaning to check the festival off your list, this year’s online picnic is the perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July at home.

This year’s event partners with local nonprofit, Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA), and Assembly Kitchen to create chef-created picnic baskets to pair with the musical experience. The curated artisan picnic kit features fare from Austin’s top restaurants, including Comedor and Nixta Taqueria, as well as goodies from AFWA grant recipients Pure Luck Farm & Dairy, Two Hives Honey, Confituras and more. As an added bonus, each kit includes a copy of What to Grow in Austin, a new zine created by Trisha Sutton of Urban American Farmer. Illustrated by Adam Young and with recipes from some of Austin’s favorite award-winning chefs, Sutton’s guide is a must-have for those looking to become novice gardeners or simply cook with more seasonal ingredients.

Photo courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Alliance

Along with the zine, each kit will include two tickets to Willie’s Picnic streaming event and a commemorative Luck metal tumbler. Priced at $59, the deadline for ordering the two-person Assembly Kitchen kit for local delivery is by midnight, July 3. Kits are selling out quickly, but never fear: if you miss the picnic kit, you can still order a cocktail kit to sip along while enjoying the live stream. With enough ingredients to make six to eight drinks and a streaming ticket to the picnic, the refreshing “Altar of the Sun” kit features a collaborative Buffalo Trace bourbon cocktail from local mixologists Jessica Sanders of drink.well and Paul Finn of Garage. 

Other local restaurants and bars are also commemorating the annual picnic, with La Condesa offering a take-home party pack called The Willie. Featuring a pound each of carnitas, shrimp and barbacoa, 8 ounces each of their classic chile de arbol & verde salsas and a dozen delicious, house-made corn tortillas, the $70 feast will feed up to four friends and is a great way to enjoy the picnic while supporting local restaurants. 

Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings at the Dripping Springs reunion that later became Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.

Standalone digital tickets to the event are $35, with day-of tickets available for $45 at WilliePicnic.com. The show kicks off tomorrow at 3:30pm with Prime Cuts, a live, cook-along event featuring award-winning chefs and musical guests. Live-streamed performances from Luck’s Saloon and Chapel stages will then lead into a 90-minute concert film featuring remote performances, interviews and Picnic memories woven throughout. Hosted by Willie’s sons, Lukas and Micah, the lineup includes artists like Nathaniel Rateliff, Margo Price, Sheryl Crow, Robert Earl Keen and, of course, Willie himself. 

All in all, it’s shaping up to be the perfect Fourth of July celebration – not just with Willie, but for Willie since we must protect him at all costs by staying socially distant this year.


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