If You Go:
WHAT: Willie Nelson and Family – Live in Concert
WHEN: 8 p.m. May 19
WHERE: Florence Civic Center
ADMISSION: A limited number of tickets to the May 19 show are still available. Tickets range from $30 to $55 and can be purchased online atwww.florenceciviccenter.com or at the Florence Civic Center box office.
by: Deborah Swearingen
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence Civic Center has announced a new lineup for the May 19 Willie Nelson concert after the unexpected death of the show’s co-headliner, Merle Haggard, in early April.
Kris Kristofferson and a country group called The Strangers, featuring Haggard’s sons, Ben and Noel, will join Nelson on the stage for the show that will now honor Haggard’s legacy.
“Obviously no one could ever replace Merle Haggard,” said Nick Hooker, senior marketing manager at the venue. “That was not the objective. It was to bring in someone of the same stature in more of an honorary role.”
Hooker said he knew the tour was working on some big names that would be appropriate for the concert but did not have confirmation of the new lineup until Thursday afternoon.
“It’s great news. We’re very excited,” he said. “Kris Kristofferson is one of the original outlaws of country music, one of the original members of the Highwaymen just like Willie Nelson.”
Kristofferson is a three-time Grammy-award winner and has recorded 28 albums, including three with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of the Highwaymen.
Plus, Hooker said, it will be a wonderful experience to have Haggard’s two sons join the lineup in honor of their father.
“I think that is a deeply passionate and wonderful notion that they’re willing to hop on the tour, head to Florence and perform for all of Merle’s fans,” he said.
There was a lot of concern when Haggard died, Hooker said, but fans were considerate of the situation.
“The fans were very patient through this ordeal, and we really appreciate their understanding and their support,” he said.
A very limited number of tickets to the May 19 show are still available. Tickets range from $30 to $55 and can be purchased online at www.florenceciviccenter.com or at the Florence Civic Center box office.