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Willie Nelson’s 50th Anniversary Special: Famous 4th of July Picnic Returns to Q2 Stadium

Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic is back for its 50th Anniversary
Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic is back for its 50th Anniversary

Hot Summer Nights is back and ready to make this summer unforgettable with free festivals across the Red River Cultural District (RRCD) from July 20-23. With 11 venues in the area, all within walking distance, the multi-genre festival has something for everyone.

This is the sixth year for the decentralized festival, which the RRCD mirrors in the winter for Free Week. Hot Summer Nights was the originator, planned to keep the gigs flowing during less busy months as the nonprofit’s first official district-wide event.

“Block out your calendars on July 20 through 23 as we all reunite for a summer celebration that not only offers festival-goers free access to some of Austin’s best bands and most popular venues but also helps provide greater support for local venue workers and musicians,” said interim executive director Nicole Klepadlo.

Willie Nelson - 4th of July Picnic 2023 to be at Q2 Stadium in Austin

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic 2023 to be at Q2 Stadium in Austin

Shows are booked courtesy of the RRCD in cooperation with each venue, meaning the performers get paid by corporate sponsorships and individual donations. Visitors can also contribute to that pool by making a donation to keep the fun going.

The festival is both an industry boon and a fun opportunity to get to know local bands from Austin and Central Texas, keeping the Red River pocket of Austin at its best. Proceeds this year will go back to the RRCD for ongoing programs in “creative, service, hospitality, and production” sectors. The nonprofit has distributed $250,000 via more than 3,000 grants and has paid for 300 gigs so far.

Participating venues from south to north, about half a mile apart, include Flamingo Cantina, Mala Vida, Swan Dive, Chess Club, Empire Control Room & Garage, Elysium, The 13th Floor, Valhalla, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, Cheer Up Charlies, and Mohawk.

Although this announcement only includes dates and venues, participating artists and more updates will come in May. The festival is still looking for corporate sponsors. To sponsor, contact

For more information about Hot Summer Nights, visit

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