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Willie Nelson Performs at Fourth of July Picnic After Missing Outlaw Music Fest

Willie Nelson missed several Outlaw Music Festival shows over the past weeks due to an unspecified illness. Despite these absences, his annual Fourth of July Picnic proceeded without a hitch.

Nelson, who is 91, missed around six music festival shows as per reports. Though his doctors cleared him to perform last week, he still missed the July 2 concert. However, he made a triumphant return to the stage in Camden, New Jersey, on Thursday, greeted by a cheering crowd.

Performing fan favorites like “On the Road Again” and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Nelson also welcomed his son Lukas on stage. Together, they performed “Texas Flood” and Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe.”

Overall, Nelson delivered a 10-song set that thrilled attendees. The show also featured performances from Mavis Staples, Maren Morris, and Bob Dylan, among others.

The Outlaw Music Festival began on June 21, but Nelson missed all the shows before his Thursday comeback concert. The next destinations for the tour include Bethel in New York, with subsequent stops in Pennsylvania, California, Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, and New York. The tour will conclude on September 20 at BankNH Pavilion in Gilford, New Hampshire.

Willie Nelson has been hosting the Fourth of July Picnic since 1971. Over the years, the event has seen its share of challenges, including a fire that destroyed the property in 1972, a fine in 1973, and multiple crimes and arrests in 1976. That year also saw a drowning and kidnappings. Typically held in Texas, this year marked the first time in 15 years that the event took place outside of the Lone Star State.

The Outlaw Music Festival is a key part of Nelson’s legacy, drawing fans from across the country to celebrate his enduring talent and iconic music.

Source: Rolling Stone, Ultimate Classic Rock, KYW, Penn Live, KXAN