Willie Nelson is on the road again

by LORI BASHEDA

Willie Nelson is on the road again – and he’s headed for Irvine.

The country music legend will headline the Outlaw Music Festival, featuring five bands, on Oct. 16.

“The Outlaw Music Festival Tour has always been about family and friends coming together for a great day of music and fun,” Nelson says. “With the amazing group of artists joining us, this year promises to be our most special Outlaw Tour to date.”

Irvine is one of only 14 stops on the 2021 Outlaw Festival Tour. The last time the festival toured, pre-pandemic, it stopped at the Hollywood Bowl.

First time in Irvine

Blackbird Presents CEO Keith Wortman says Outlaw Festival partner Live Nation recommended Irvine for the 2021 comeback tour.

Wortman himself came to check out the Great Park venue, which can accommodate 12,000 fans, and was impressed.

“This is our first time in Irvine,” he says. “It’s now part of our annual plans. We love the area.”

There are still tickets available, so if Shotgun Willie is on your bucket list, this is your chance.

“Fans are in for a very special night of music,” Wortman says.

The festival kicked off in late August with a sold-out show in Austin, Texas.

“Everyone is really grateful to be out and safely enjoying live music again,” Wortman says.

Ticket holders must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Friends and family

Honky-tonk hippie Nelson, now 88 years old, is “as vibrant as ever” and happy to be returning to live music, Wortman says.

In a longstanding tradition, Nelson plans to bring out family members to play with him.

“I just can’t wait to get back on the road again,” Nelson says, echoing the sentiment of one of his famous tunes.

Chart toppers

Other acts will include folk-rock band The Avett Brothers, Southern rock jam-band Gov’t Mule, folk singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams and alt-folk duo Ida Mae.

In addition to seeing their favorite musicians, fans can purchase food, drinks and souvenirs at the festival’s Vendor Village.

The FivePoint Amphitheatre is located at 14800 Chinon in Irvine, at the Great Park.

Ida Mae

THREE MORE COMING ATTRACTIONS

• JAZZ AT THE BARCLAY

Combining the dynamism of gypsy jazz with the Great American Songbook, the Black Market Trust delivers a high-energy jazz performance filled with some of the best songs ever written.
Oct. 22 at Irvine Barclay Theatre.

• HALLOWEEN 5/10K RUNS

Treat yourself to a Halloween-themed race around Irvine Valley College on Oct. 30. Awards will be given for best costume at the Fit Fall Halloween Harvest 5K/10K race. Racers must sign up online before the event.

• GLOBAL VILLAGE FESTIVAL

Celebrate Irvine’s diverse cultures at the 20th annual Global Village Festival on Oct. 9 at the Great Park. Sample local and global cuisine and enjoy music, art, exhibits and a kids’ petting zoo. Admission: $6.