Willie Nelson Returning to Outlaw Music Festival Stage for July 4 Show After Missing Seven Gigs Due to Illness

Willie Nelson will be on stage on the fourth of July on Thursday after skipping the first seven dates of his Outlaw Music Festival due to an unspecified illness. The 91-year-old country icon is slated to perform at the gig in Camden, N.J. after missing Tuesday night’s (July 2) concert in Mansfield, MA at the Xfinity Center.


“Willie Nelson is looking forward to seeing everyone in Camden on July 4,” read an Instagram post on Tuesday. “He will not be performing in Mansfield today. Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and Celisse will perform as scheduled. In addition, Lukas Nelson and Family, along with some special guests, will once again play his own set that will include Willie’s classics and other songs.”

Thursday’s show will mark the first time in 14 years that Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic will be held outside of Texas, with Maren Morris and Mavis Staples joining the rest of the acts for the festival date. According to Rolling Stone, Nelson’s son, Promise of the Real band leader Lukas Nelson, filled in for his dad on all the Outlaw festival dates so far, performing with Willie’s longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael and the rest of his father’s band on such classics as “Funny How Time Slips Away” and “On the Road Again.”

The Outlaw festival kicked off on June 21 in Alpharetta, Ga., with Nelson announcing that he was sitting out the opener “per doctor’s orders,” saying at the time that he’d been ordered to rest for four days. The outing is slated to wrap up with a Sept. 20 show in Gilford, N.H. Nelson released his 75th studio album, The Border, in May.

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