Arts & Culture

Billy Bob’s Texas announces its own 4th of July Picnic

Merle Haggard at Bass Hall
Merle Haggard at Bass Hall archives

Willie Nelson won’t be celebrating the 4th of July in Fort Worth this year.

For the first time since 2011, Nelson’s annual, day-long picnic will be held somewhere other than the Fort Worth Stockyards, as earlier today, Billy Bob’s Texas announced its own, inaugural, two-day 4th of July Picnic.

Beginning July 3, the festival, spread across two stages, will feature an impressive roster of country talent.

Gates open at noon both days, with music beginning at 1 p.m.

Tickets — $45 for single-day general admission, $70 for two-day general admission and $200 for a single-day VIP ticket — go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.

The Friday line-up includes Merle Haggard, Ryan Bingham, Chris Stapleton, Green River Ordinance, American Aquarium and more to be announced.

The Saturday line-up includes Turnpike Troubadours, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hayes Carll, Corb Lund, Shiny Ribs and more to be announced.

Billy Bob’s Texas marketing director Chris Spinks says the festival will encompass about 16 artists in total, and the 4th of July Picnic will not be held in the North Forty, as the last couple Willie Nelson picnics have been.

Instead, the new 4th of July Picnic will have a stage set up in Rodeo Plaza, with the indoor stage being the big showroom stage inside Billy Bob’s Texas.

Nelson has not announced where, or even if, he will be hosting this year’s picnic, but Spinks says plans for Billy Bob’s 4th of July Picnic began early this year.

“We’re very hopeful this will turn into an annual event,” Spinks says. “People can expect some fun things we might add to it, with our own little twist.”

In other Billy Bob’s Texas news, the venue’s Tilt campaign to bring rocker Jack White to Fort Worth became fully funded over the weekend, less than seven days after it was launched.

So what happens now?

“Now we take that to Jack and Jack's people, and work on negotiations,” Spinks says.

Spinks says the venue is trying to “work as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” so that those who have been charged $50 for a possible ticket to a White show at Billy Bob’s won’t be left hanging indefinitely.

It’s unclear at this point whether the show will remain at its current capacity of 2,750 or if the venue will sell more tickets, all details Spinks says will be worked in the coming weeks. If the show ends up falling through, those who pledged money will be given full refunds.

He estimates a 30-45 day time period in getting some concrete answers about White’s potential Stockyards gig, and points to several of White’s band members circulating the Tilt campaign on social media as a good sign.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713

Twitter: @prestonjones