Mar 312014

New band pic

Long before Austin-based newcomer Sam Riggs released his acclaimed new studio album OUTRUN THE SUN (Vision Entertainment) on October 29th, the seemingly out-of-nowhere buzz about this poignant young artist hung heavy in the air of the independent music climate. A stretch of time spent under the tutelage of the great Texas Music icon Ray Wylie Hubbard early on played a big role in Riggs’ direction as a songwriter, and through that mentorship Riggs learned the time-honored virtue of patience and the aptitude for turning the rough and tumble falls to the ground into a steady, recovered gait. Riggs recalls with humble gratitude, “He opened my eyes to songwriting, and I could see the idiot I had been and the idiot I was going to be, and he helped me to navigate that.  He taught me what it really is to be a songwriter.”  The mutual respect between the two artists is evident in a statement issued by Hubbard himself.  “Sam Riggs wears a legacy of honest country, makes good rock, writes lyrics that matter and straps on a stage presence second to none.”
Turns out the buzz surrounding Riggs was spot on.  Months before the official release of OUTRUN THE SUN, Sam Riggs and his band the Night People exploded into the country music spotlight with a #1 hit music video on CMT’s Pure 12 Pack Countdown with “When The Lights Go Out.”  The video is the kind of monster debut that launches significant careers and, in fact, secured the #2 spot on the “Top 5 videos of 2013” poll.  The record has had some amazing success right off the bat, the most recent being a music spot with his song “Collide” that aired on ABC’s critically acclaimed drama “Nashville” in January.  Glowing reviews are piled high from premier outlets including Country Weekly Magazine, Billboard’s The 615 Blog, Texas Music Magazine, Engine145 and The Boot, and his current single “Angola’s Lament” is currently #13 on the Texas Music Chart.   Bearing witness to his aptitude as a stage performer, Day Trotter, one of the biggest sources for emerging artists, invited Riggs up to their studios in Illinois to record his official session back in December where Riggs joined a coveted list of rising stars that include The Civil Wars, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes Mumford & Sons and the Alabama Shakes to name only a few.  Sam Riggs and The Night People will bring the buzz back home with a special after party performance following the Turnpike Troubadours at Stubbs BBQ on Friday, April 4th.  Showtime is 10:30 PM. Tickets are $5 or free if you bring your Turnpike Troubadour ticket stubs.   Having opened for acts that include Chris Knight; Joe Diffie; Kevin Fowler; Pat Green; the Eli Young Band; the Randy Rogers Band; and, of course, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sam Riggs & The Night People have become well-educated in the art of working a crowd.  Riggs himself never fails to dazzle with his “musical chair” performances that never restrict him to one location on the stage.  Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, fiddle, and even drums are all part of the magic that he hypnotically spins on a nightly basis. Check out for big upcoming shows this summer.

Writer: Brandy Reed

Feb 142014

Cirque du Soleil is coming to Austin with its latest arena show, Varekai, from February 26th until March 2nd. Austin Music + Entertainment had a chance to speak with with Gabriella Argento, one of the highly-talented clown performers in the show. This is what she says the Cirque du Soleil experience is like.

Austin Music + Entertainment Cirque du Soleil

Gabriella and another Cirque clown in action onstage

Austin Music + Entertainment: When did your interest in the performing arts begin? Did you ever see yourself reaching the level you’re at now?

Gabriella Argento: I always wanted to be a stage actress, since I was a little girl. I didn’t have any excuse or direct influence; nobody in my family was an artist.

Until today I cannot explain where this all came from, but I never changed my mind about it. As soon as I finished high school I went to drama school, where I studied traditional theatre. Towards the end of the course, I got in touch with the universe of theatrical masks and fell in love with the clown mask and all the philosophy underneath it.

AME: Describe how you became involved with the current Cirque show.

GA: Wow…Let’s make a long story short. As a clown, most of the events in my life are somewhere in between tragic and funny. In 1997, I went to a Cirque du Soleil audition in Brazil. I was very young and I didn’t want to go. My clown coach just dropped me there and made me do it.

After a long, tiring and very serious process, I was approved to what Cirque calls the potential casting, which is a data bank where they can search for specific profiles when they need somebody for a new show.

So, there I stayed for seven years, until they needed somebody just like me for the show , in Las Vegas, in which I worked from 2004 to 2007.

Then I came back to Brazil, continued my career and in 2012 Cirque offered me the clown position at Varekai.

AME: You are on the road constantly during this show, with people of many different nationalities. What is that like?

GA: This is the best part of the job. Especially for me , as an actress, who is constantly researching the human soul, this is a priceless experience. We are so different, and yet, at the end of the day, we are all the same.

One can just grow working in an environment where you have to understand the whole picture about your stage partner in order to understand him as a performer. It is pure beauty.

AME: How do you find balance between your work and personal life?

GA: Well…I don’t, because what I love the most about life is what I do for a living, so work is not work but pleasure all the time. I feel truly lucky to have found a way to do what I love, with love. When I am not on stage, normally I am watching movies that inspire me, reading to get more technique, writing…but everything is intertwined, and that’s the only way I know how to live my life.

AME: Your performances are practically death-defying, and many people would be terrified to attempt what you do in every show. How were you able to get past that nervousness?

GA: The Circus is a form of art that flirts with death, no matter what. In my opinion, we don’t have to get past the nervousness. We have to acknowledge it exists, and be aware and alert and prepared at all times. You defy death being the most alive as possible, in the moment.

AME: If you could describe this particular show in your own words, what would you say?

GA: The roots of traditional circus kept alive into an incredible oneiric world.

AME: What is your family and/or friends’ reaction to your position in the show?

GA: They miss me performing in Brazil!

AME: What is you personal favorite part of the show, excluding your portion?

GA: End of first act, end of second act. That’s all I can say without spoiling the experience of watching the show.

AME: What is the major aspect of your life that has changed since joining the tour?

GA: I don’t have animals around. I grew up in a house full of all sorts of animals and I am a cat lover. It is extremely hard for me to live without the fulfilling silence of the felines.

AME: In your opinion, what sets Cirque apart from other shows in the same general genre?

GA: The company’s ability to take care of the details. From the catering department, to wardrobe, rigging, lighting, sound…the level of the professionals that are hired is extremely high. Despite all the first class technical gears, amazing costumes…at the end of the day, what makes the difference are the human beings that get together to build a two hour dream to share with other human beings. People make the difference.

Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai will be performed at the Cedar Park Center. Get tickets here.

Oct 252013

Okkervil River

So, obviously, it was only two days long. Which is a huge bummer; the closest thing I can remember to this feeling is when Colt McCoy got knocked out of the 2010 NCAA championship game extremely early. You were all pumped up for something but it was just pulled out from under you on a technicality. No one can control weather, but…damn! I would’ve loved to see The National, Neko Case, Divine Fits, Atoms for Peace…just a bummer.

But the two days that we got to experience before were as rich and exciting as any other ACL I can remember. What follows now is a quick sketch-through of memories and insights from the 2013 Austin City Limits Festival.


It’s hard to imagine having a better entrance timing than walking through the gate at 4 p.m. to the strains of Fun.’s “Walking the Dog.” These guys are always great live.

Okkervil River – also always great live. Why is their crowd so sparse? We know they are an Austin band, but it’s a shame that their hometown would take this awesome band for granted. They must’ve noticed, but the band are such pros they still performed as hard as ever. Inspiring.

You can go ahead and stop cynically wondering when Vampire Weekend’s 15 minutes are up. This is a great American band, and they’re gonna be around for quite a while.

Though it kept our group from seeing Arctic Monkeys, I was grateful for the late afternoon rain. I would come to find this thought ironic on Sunday, though.

I didn’t know how essential Depeche Mode is. Seeing them, I realized 1.) I know more songs by them than I thought and 2.) a lot of what we know and love about music now comes from what these guys did in the 80′s.


Got there earlier! Got to hear some totally unfamiliar groups, too. Junip is kinda cool.

Portugal. The Man is totally legitimate, though. Time to Spotify those guys. Imagine if The Grateful Dead loved Radiohead.

Grimes sure has her legions of passionate fans. I’m an outsider, but I get the appeal. One of the singular acts in pop and electronica at this time. Great dancers, too!

There probably isn’t a stronger suite of songs available to this lineup as the one held by Wilco. And with this set running through every major phase of their two-decade career, it’s clear they’re just gonna keep on being great. I look forward to their next album and their next Austin concert.

Speaking of guys who are gonna be around for a long time: Kendrick Lamar is a star. Pick up that good kid, m.A.A.d city, learn the songs, follow his career. Real deal talent and a great stage presence.

We left right in time to get a good amount of The Cure and miss on the torrential rainfall that closed out their set. I like Depeche Mode more, but Robert Smith still sounded good. Elder statesman he is.

Final Thoughts

Stick with the $6 beers and Torchy’s. Yummy and the most affordable stuff you can find at Zilker.

Extremely efficient filling station and bus service for the third straight year. Great job, ACL!

Next year I’m hoping to see one or two of these names: Radiohead (every year until it happens), Guided by Voices, Frank Ocean, Arcade Fire, Tom Waits (long shot, I know), The National (to make up for this year), Spoon, The New Pornographers, Dirty Projectors, Modest Mouse, Diane Birch, TV on the Radio, Blur (a man can dream) and anyone who’s gonna surprise me. See y’all at Zilker in 2014.

Aug 312013

How’s it feel to be halfway through the first afternoon of the three-day Labor Day weekend? It feels pretty good to us at Austin Music + Entertainment; we are planning a ton of fun activities for ourselves. So what is going on in Austin this Labor Day?

Tonight (August 31)

The first University of Texas Longhorns game starts at 7:15  at Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium. The Longhorn are facing the New Mexico State Aggies for their home opener. We’re hoping they’re gonna be good this year…

Buddy Guy is coming to ACL Live at the Moody Theater tonight, as well. The checkered guitar, the red hot licks – Buddy keep on tickin’. 8 p.m.

And in local act news, Sounds Under Radio comes to Stubb’s. Doors at 9 p.m.

Sunday, September 1

Head over to Waterloo Records for a free in-store performance from Black Joe Lewis. 5 p.m.

On the first day of September, another blues legend comes to Austin. John Mayall will play the One World Theatre for an early evening show. Doors at 6 p.m.

Stubb’s will also hold a benefit concert for famed firefighter Colin Camp at 6 p.m.

The return of the Backstreet Boys comes to Austin at the Cedar Park Center. Starts at 7:30 p.m.

Monday, September 2 (LABOR DAY)

Sci-fi royalty George Takei will be in Austin at The Dragon’s Lair from 4-6 p.m. signing autographs. The guy’s hilarious and definitely a celeb worth meeting.

Get on back to ACL Live at the Moody Theater for a nasty, loud time with Rancid. Doors at 7:30 p.m.

And if you want a more genial hangout, there’s the Food, Drink and Fun celebration at Mister Tramps!

Aug 282013

Bob Schneider is no longer the man who wrote and performed “Tarantula.” Sure, he still lays claim to that era of his career, but now he’s as established as he’s going to get in the industry. Clearly he realized, for his latest album Burden of Proof, that a change had to come. The result is probably Schneider’s most introspective and least boisterous release.

The first three songs – “Digging for Icicles,” “Wish the Wind Would Blow Me” and single-worth “Hop on the World,” show a heavy meditative streak. Schneider’s wind-swept baritone becomes a pure exhalation on some of the lower notes. The lyrics on all these songs deal with disappointment and frustration – signaling the least sentimental approach Schneider has ever taken. Bill Callahan’s influence is obvious.

The first full-bore electric guitar finally shows up on “Swimming in the Sea,” which has the production, arrangement and hook hit of a Quiet Company song. Schneider must be aware of the recent great work of Taylor Muse. The rock feeling continues on the power chord-raining “Unpromised Land,” which would be in tune with Bob’s party-hard compositions of the past if it wasn’t for the cynicism and reservations that dominate nearly the entirety of Burden of Proof.

It’s a virtue of the record that each song has its own personality. “Best Day Ever” has a beguiling female vocal sample driving it.” “The Effect” has an acoustic guitar (or is that a mandolin?) strumming pattern and call-and-response vocals that recall Paul Simon. “Please Ask for Help” has a yearning sensibility and simplicity that make it one of the record’s top tracks.

“John Lennon,” late in the record, is heartfelt and interesting even if it falls into the “Lennon-as-saint” shortcut so many items about the man do. In terms of recent songs about Lennon, this is nothing compared to Bob Dylan’s “Roll On John” from 2012′s fantastic Tempest. The record ends with two starstruck ballads, “The White Moon” and a cover of “Tomorrow” from Annie. The darkness of the earlier tracks wear off and hope has crept back into Schneider’s performance. It works for the thematic arc of the album.

However, the whole album is done in less than 40 minutes. Many songs are over before you have a chance to really immerse yourself in them. It’s like Schneider wanted to get out of this head space as quickly as possible. This renders the album as a rather slight experience. So Burden of Proof is a new, interesting fold in Bob Schneider’s career, but he’s still never made a great record.

Final Grade: ***1/2 (out of five)

Aug 232013

AME likes to wait this late to do our Austin City Limits festival preview because now we are able to see on what days certain acts are playing. It’s just good for general specificity of recommendation. It’s a great lineup this year, obviously. Everyone has already said that. Without further ado, here are the acts you should check out at ACL 2013.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place at Zilker Park on October 4-6 and October 11-13


fun. - They had one of the biggest hits of last year and bring one of the best live shows around. I caught them at SXSW last year and they rocked the house at Stubb’s. Nate Ruess’ dancing form will be a good, mid-afternoon pick me up. 4 p.m. at AMD Stage.

Okkervil River – One of the bright lights of the Austin rock scene, Okkervil River has been quietly releasing a string of excellent records and building a passionate fan base over the past decade plus. They are currently at work on a new album, so it’s very possible that new material will make a debut for this set. 5 p.m. at the Honda Stage.

Vampire Weekend - The quirky, intellectual indie rock quartet already has quite a bit of excellent material under their belt, so it comes as a great delight that their third album, Modern Vampires of the City, might be 2013′s best record. The 12 songs on Modern Vampires – all of them great choices for live performance (but we can expect “Step” and “Diane Young” for sure) – will enrich the older Vampire Weekend material like “Oxford Comma” and “White Sky.” 6 p.m. at AMD Stage.


Passion Pit - Gossamer, dream synth-pop outfit Passion Pit’s second album, further established the sunny melodies and ear pricking production that made us fall in love with “Little Secrets” in the first place. Sadly, Passion Pit is playing at the same time as another AME recommendation, Wilco, so you will have to pick one or the other. 6 p.m. at AMD Stage.

Wilco - One of America’s greatest rock bands, Wilco is a familiar face at ACL. It is good to see them back, however, as they will be playing material from 2011′s masterful The Whole Love this time ’round. Wilco will also be playing a late night show at Stubb’s, so they’ll have a busy ACL for sure. 6 p.m. at Samsung Galaxy Stage.

Kendrick Lamar - One of 2012′s great breakouts, Kendrick Lamar represents the future of hard hip hop. good kid, m.A.A.d city is a masterpiece that gains in power on each listen. Seeing this major new artist live is an experience not to be missed. We’ll be talking about Lamar for a while. 7 p.m. at the Honda Stage


Divine Fits - Maybe there will come a day when this Britt Daniel (of Spoon) and Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade) supergroup isn’t on tour, but until then let’s enjoy the fitful, hip rock music they’re making right now. 4:30 at the Honda Stage.

The National - Now, if Modern Vampires of the City is not the year’s best record, then maybe The National’s euphoric Trouble Will Find Me has its eye on the prize. The last time they were at ACL, they upstaged the headliner Eagles. Now they’ve got even stronger material. This is probably the must-see concert of the whole festival. 5:30 at AMD Stage.

Atoms For Peace - This is the day of the supergroups. Thom Yorke’s (of Radiohead, of course) project with Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers, clearly) and Nigel Godrich is getting one of the chunkier sets of the festival, as would benefit superstars of these guys’ league. Amok. their first official album together, is another of this year’s most talked-about releases. 7:40 at AMD Stage.

Remember, ACL is two weekends this year, so there might be some schedule discrepancies. Check your guide before you go. And let AME know if you’re headed out ACL – we’ll see you there!

Aug 232013

Austin Music + Entertainment is a big fan of Austin-based businesses, so we kinda see it as our duty to report on news involving entertainment-based Austin start-ups. Which leads us to Open Labs, an Austin, Texas-based music software and hardware company that is currently experiencing major growth and seeing some top-level publicity come its way. Open Labs are the creators of a music composition and recording software called StageLight. StageLight is a Windows-based alternative to Garage Band that is both sleekly designed and universally accessible. As “the Easy Way to Create Music,” StageLight provides an intuitive approach to music making for novices and professionals alike.

With a chief product like that, it’s no surprise that Open Labs is catching eyeballs all over the place. They are an international operation, as StageLight is seeing major usage in dozens of countries around the globe. Among the major partners Open Labs has picked up from the larger entertainment world are California rap rockers Linkin Park. Earlier this week, that partnership yielded an awesome BitTorrent Bundle competition that offers a host of Linkin Park production sounds, intro videos and a demo version of Linkin Park’s customized version of StageLight, StageLight Linkin Park (or StageLight LPE). The BitTorrent contest has already gotten huge response, which is not surprising seeing as Linkin Park has one of the most active and powerful online presences of any major rock band.

That’s not the only big news coming from Open Labs, though. Also earlier this week, the company unveiled its new website. A commanding, major update on the Open Labs online branding, their new website has seen gigantic positive response on social media and elsewhere. There are opportunities to buy all of Open Labs’ products – not just StageLight, but also larger software packs like Music OS and the SoundSlate Pro. Musicians can also sign up to be part of the Open Labs Artist Community, a wide-ranging networking space for artists who want to grow their reach among like-minded StageLight users.

Open Labs is quickly becoming one of the major lights of the Austin music industry. Keep tuned to AME for more big announcements!

May 072013

As the recovery in West, Texas continues, Austin and the surrounding communities’ strong music culture is responding in kind. Austin Music + Entertainment is proud to report that The Texas Thunder Music Festival is coming to the state to entertain the masses and help West back on its feet again. Below is the full press release for the Festival:

“Gardendale, TX (April 30, 2013) – Today, Governor Rick Perry lent his support to the Texas Thunder Music Festival that will raise money for those affected by the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. The music event that will host The Randy Rogers Band, The Josh Abbott Band, Wade Bowen, Stoney LaRue, Casey Donahew Band, among others will take place May 17-19 in Gardendale, Texas. “The city of West has a long way to go to get past the grief and devastation and move on to rebuilding,” Gov. Perry said. “In the true spirit of Texas, the people of our state are coming together to help ease the suffering of individuals who lost loved ones, and help this strong community get back on its feet.”

“My thoughts are with everyone in the city of West. I am proud of the Texas musicians who are coming together for this event,” Senator Joan Huffman, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman of Houston, said. “It reinforces the well-known fact that when anyone in our state needs help, fellow Texans automatically rise to the occasion.”

“Our small town is made up of big hearts. The people of West have always given and supported,” said Tommy Muska, Mayor of West, Texas. “This event will allow the people of Texas to show their support and love to the great residents of West. We appreciate all the artists that will be giving of their time to make this event a success.”

Last week, the Texas Thunder Music Festival announced all net proceeds will be donated to the first responders and schools of West, Texas. The Odessa based firm of Johnson, Miller & Co. will oversee all the accounting and distribution of funds.“As a fellow Texan, my heart went out to all those that were affected by the explosion,” says festival landowner Herb Graham. “We could not sit around and do nothing, so my partners and I quickly decided to donate all the net proceeds from this festival to rebuild the school and get first responders equipment.”

The first-year Texas Thunder Music Festival in Gardendale, Texas presents an all-star, all-Texas line-up, with both musicians and fans coming together to help bring support to those who need it most. Weekend passes are available for a discounted price of $65 with camping starting at $110. A very limited number of single-day tickets are available for $35.

Texas Thunder tickets are now available for purchase at Graham Central Station in Odessa, Rockin’ Rodeo Midland and Arriba Midland. For more information or to purchase tickets and camping, please visit or call 855-362-0535.

For the most up-to-date information on Texas Thunder, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter @txthunderfest.


Texas Thunder Line-Up:



3:00-4:00pm Bri Bagwell

4:30-5:30pm Curtis Grimes

6:00-7:00pm Micky and the Motorcars

7:30-8:30pm Charlie Robison

9:00-10:00pm Aaron Watson

10:30-12:00am Josh Abbott Band



1:30-2:30pm Kimberly Dunn

3:00-4:00pm Johnny Cooper

4:30-5:30pm Brandon Rhyder

6:00-7:00pm Whiskey Myers

7:30-8:30pm Turnpike Troubadours

9:00-10:00pm Wade Bowen

10:30-12:00am Randy Rogers Band



1:00-2:00pm Jake Kellen

2:30-3:30pm Kyle Bennett

4:00-5:00pm William Clark Green

5:30-6:30pm Brian Milson

7:00-8:00pm Stoney LaRue

8:30-10:00pm Casey Donahew Band


Media Contacts:

For festival media coverage and radio partnership inquiries, contact

Brad Hendrixson / 615-777-6995 x229 /

Jeremy Westby / 615-777-6995 x228 /

Kirt Webster / 615-777-6995 x230 /

Brandy Reed/615-830-3508

For sponsors and vendors, call: 866-802-6418

For tickets & camping, call: 855-362-0535″

Head out to the Texas Thunder Music Festival for great music and to help in a great cause!

May 022013

Texas Americana artist William Clark Green’s third album, Rose Queen, was released on April 30th. Green’s second album, Misunderstood, spouted a Texas Music Chart hit with “Tonight,” and it looks like the momentum is going to continue. Rose Queen is being released on Bill Grease Records, and it features strong work that show off all of Green’s influences – Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett and Willis Allan Ramsey.

The album cuts a large swath of stylistic ground. There’s Cajun flavor on “Let’s Go,” introspection on the breakup fable, “It’s About Time” (the album’s lead single) and the album-closing “Welcome to the Family” shows how warm and humane Green’s muse can be. For the first time, Green worked with a co-writer on four of Rose Queen‘s 11 tracks. This seems to have pushed him to new, improved stylistic ground.

Rose Queen was recorded at 16 Ton Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. It is one of the highly-anticipated releases of 2013. The album is available now, and Green is sure to tour all through Texas in support.

Mar 272013

Willy Nelson, who turns 80 this year, will be doing his classic show tonight at ACL Live at the Moody Theater for the Darrell K Royal Foundation’s 4th and Goal Gala. “Ben Willie Darrell,” as the event is being short-handed, will be the signature event for the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease. Doors and show start at 8 p.m.

From the official release on the ACL Live website:

“This fund will support cutting edge Alzheimer’s research and supplement the almost $18 million the State of Texas has invested to date in Alzheimer’s research. The fund will promote collaboration between and amongst our Texas scientists and the finest geneticists, neuroscientists, physicians, biostatisticians worldwide.

About Ben Willie Darrell Together Again – The 4th & Goal Gala B W D – 4th & Goal Gala proceeds will provide grant funding to medical schools and research organizations in Texas and their global partners in pursuit of treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Additional information and sponsorship opportunities will be announced.

The Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease is a designated/fiscal sponsorship fund of the Dallas Foundation, a 501c3 public charity.”

IN ADDITION, this July 4th will be the sight of both Willie and America’s birthday. Check out Willie’s Nelson’s Picnic website, or read this release:

“FORT WORTH STOCKYARDS, TEXAS — This year, Willie Nelson will be 80 and his Fourth of July Picnic will be 40. The Fort Worth Stockyards “North Forty” field will be the site of the highly-anticipated annual all-day outdoor concert on Independence Day 2013.

Returning to help Willie celebrate the 40th annual picnic will be such stars as Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson, David Allan Coe, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Ray Price. In addition, Academy Award and Grammy winner Ryan Bingham and rising star Justin Moore are scheduled to perform. Willie will be joined by his family – son Lukas and daughters Paula Nelson and Amy Nelson. More entertainers will be announced in coming weeks.

“Beginning in 1973 in Dripping Springs, Texas, Willie’s Fourth of July Picnic has become a Texas tradition unlike any other. We are thrilled to play a small part in the 40-year history of the picnic and do it in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Our mission this year was to design a monumental event worthy of a 40 year anniversary and Willie’s 80th birthday. When you see it you will agree.” Said Concho Minick, president of Billy Bob’s Texas. John Pritchett of Ben E. Keith Budweiser added “The Fourth of July is something we really want to get behind, it fits well with our brands Bud and Bud Light to be apart of the celebration of our independence and we just think this event lines up perfect with what we want people to put in their minds about our brands.”

Two stages will provide non-stop entertainment from noon until night. Special areas including a VIP Tent and Sky Box will add to the concert-going experience and provide guests with a place to stay cool. Tickets range from $35-$250 on sale at or by calling 817-624-7117.

About Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Long before Lollapalooza and Coachella Music Festival , there was Willie’s Picnic — an outdoor music festival that began in a small Texas town that would continue for decades.

The event has changed much in its nearly four decades, culminating into this year’s event, the 40th annual– an all-day concert outside of Billy Bob’s Texas with a fan base spanning several generations.

At its start in 1973, the hippie movement was well under way when a 40-year-old Willie Nelson decided to hold a music festival in a field in Dripping Springs. Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Tom T. Hall headlined the festival that brought over 40,000 people to the inaugural run of what would become a Texas tradition.

Nelson threw another picnic in 1974 in the form of a three-day outdoor festival at Texas World Speedway in College Station. Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Buffett and Jerry Jeff Walker were the leading acts. In just it’s second year, this was the year Willie’s picnic established itself as an “annual” event.

In 1975, just a few days before Willie’s third annual picnic, the Texas Senate honored Willie by declaring July 4, 1975, as “Willie Nelson Day in Texas.”

In 1976 The largest audience in the picnic’s history attracted an estimated 70.000 attendees.

1980, Willie announced this picnic would be the last. -it was even printed on the tickets – it was held at Willie’s newly purchased Pedernales Country Club. Obviously it was not his last.

Over the next 3 decades the picnic continued to hold steady in fans and entertainers, moving around various cities in Texas, from Austin to Luckenbach.

It was a big deal in 2004 when Nelson announced at a press conference in the Fort Worth Stockyards that he was bringing his picnic to one of his boyhood homes – Fort Worth. The announcement made the front page of the Dallas Morning News and the mayor of Fort Worth gave Nelson a key to the city.

It was outdoors in the North Forty behind Billy Bob’s with the brilliant addition of two stages so audiences didn’t have to wait for the stage to be stripped and set back up between each set.

In 2011 and 2012, a scaled down version of Willie’s 4th of July Picnic was held inside and outside Billy Bob’s Texas.

About Billy Bob’s Texas

Billy Bob’s Texas is the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk” that can accommodate more than 6,000 guests in its 127,000 square-foot venue featuring more than 30 bar stations. It opened in 1981, and quickly vaulted to national prominence with two dance floors, musical stages, arcade games, and billiards tables, Billy Bob’s sports an indoor rodeo arena that features weekend bull riding events.

Billy Bob’s Texas has won eight Academy of Country Music’s “Club of the Year” awards and has also been awarded the Country Music Association’s “Club of the Year” three times. For more information please visit

The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District boasts shopping, dining, entertainment, a daily cattle drive, weekly rodeo, and accommodations for visitors.

For more information
Pam Minick 817-624-7117
Concert updates at

Great events with one of Texas’ patron musical saints are coming up!