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Willie Nelson to Hold 4th of July Picnic

April 17, 2004 GMT

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Willie Nelson will hold his famous Fourth of July Picnic at the Fort Worth Stockyards this year.

``Fort Worth is one of my old hometowns,″ Nelson told reporters and fans Friday at a news conference. ``I’ve played all of the beer joints here.″

The daylong event will be held on a 27-acre concert field dubbed the North Forty. Besides Nelson, performers will include other country music icons, such as Merle Haggard, Ray Price, David Allan Coe and Kris Kristofferson.

Organizers expect about 25,000 people.

Last year’s picnic in Spicewood, 35 miles west of Austin, caused a traffic nightmare: There was a reported 11-mile backup with a five-hour waiting time.

The commute to the Stockyards should be easier because there will be plenty of space for about 12,000 vehicles, officials said.

Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic tradition began in Dripping Springs in 1973. Through the years, Luckenbach, Austin and Carl’s Corner have hosted the festival.