The term “outlaw” in the country music will go hand in hand with the names of The Highwaymen – Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. This day marks a special day for this group of respected artists. 33 years ago, they came together on the stage for an annual event, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.
Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic
In 1972, a music festival that helped spark the rise of progressive country music was created by four music promoters from Dallas, Texas. Edward Mullen, Michael McFarland, Don Snyder, and Peter spearheaded the event that offered promising lineups of notable personalities in country music. Performers for the show included Roy Acuff, Tom T. Hall, Tex Ritter, Sonny James, Earl Scruggs and Hank Snow. Though the event did not reach their target audience, it inspired the rise of Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.
In 1973, Willie Nelson decided to lead an annual event that would annually gather country icons. On its first staging, the show attracted an estimated attendance of 40, 000. The “picnic” continued to be celebrated annually, and the largest audience population was recorded in 1976. There were unfortunate incidences that happened throughout the annual celebration, but the show went on until 2015. Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves, Eric Church and many other contemporary country artists joined the line-up.
For additional information, Texas Senate Resolution 687 proclaimed July 4, 1975, as “Willie Nelson Day.”
1985 Picnic Gathered the Highwaymen
Heavy rains may have surrounded the South Park Meadows in Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic 1985, but it did not stop the reunion of The Highwaymen. After almost 13 years of performing together, the outlaws joined for numbers of sets on the stage. Also, Neil Young, Hank Snow, and June Carter Cash added to the maximum country music experience of the picnickers.
The Highwaymen was known to be the country supergroup known for their pioneering influence on the outlaw music sub-genre. The group has been active between 1985 and 1995. The band continued to tour before Jennings and Cash both started to decline in health. For the love of country music, all four continued to perform as solo artists. Jennings died in 2002 and Cash died in 2003. On the other hand, the iconic members starred in the 1986 film, Stagecoach.
Meanwhile, let’s witness the Outlaws perform together once again. Enjoy watching!