Willie's Picnic Rocks Stockyards

Concert returns to Fort Worth after five years

By Chris Van Horne
|  Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011  |  Updated 12:29 AM CDT
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Thousands of music fans packed the Stockyards on the Fourth of July for the return of Willie Nelson's Picnic.

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

Thousands of music fans packed the Stockyards on the Fourth of July for the return of Willie Nelson's Picnic.

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Willie's Picnic Returns to Fort Worth

Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic returns to the Stockyards in Fort Worth.

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The Fort Worth Stockyards rocked all afternoon on Monday as thousands celebrated the Fourth of July at Willie Nelson's Picnic.

More than 6,000 people were expected to be at Billy Bob's Texas. By the time the gates opened, hundreds of people were waiting in line in their cowboy boots and patriotic attire.

For 38 years Willie Nelson has held the picnic as part of his summer concert series. The concert was last in Fort Worth in 2006.

This year's event is part of his Country Throwdown Tour.

The event always brings in a lot of out-of-towners, such as Craig and Connie Bennett, of Eagle River, Alaska.

"Well, it's the best music in the world, and we're just excited to have Willie back to Fort Worth," Craig Bennett said, nothing they also were in town to see relatives.

The big difference between this year's Fourth of July Picnic and the last time the event was in Fort Worth is that half of the acts are performing in the plaza outside Billy Bob's with the rest inside.

But some veteran picnic-goers said they weren't sold on the new feature.

"I don't know; we'll have to see how it goes," Kenny Kasik said. "I like the fact that we can cool down, especially since [my wife is] pregnant this year."

But everyone was ready and prepared for the Texas heat. A lot of people gravitated toward the shade during David Allan Coe's performance.

"We got here about 10 a.m.," Craig Bennett said. "We just couldn't wait, and we'll be here until Willie quits."

"That's [a] pretty intense [day], but as you can see, they got the hardcore fans out here," Kasik said.

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