Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic at Carl’s Corner, Texas (1987)

Workers prepare stage

Willie’s July 4th Picnic Saturday at Carl’s Corner
The Reporter
July 2, 1987

Willie Nelson returns to his native Hill Country to stage his annual Fourth of July Picnic this year at Carl’s Corner

Last minute details are being taken care of for the concert to be held along Interstate 35 at Carl’s Corner north of Hillsboro.

Chainlink fences surrounding the complex have been erected and work on a revolving stage for the concert got underway earlier this week.

Some of the top entertainers in the business are expected to appear.

Scheduled to appear with Abbott native are Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the O’Kanes, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Geezinslaws and Asleep at the Wheel.

Also, Eric Johnson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rattle Snake Annie, Billy Joe Shaver, Emmylou Harris, Billy Roy and Heart of the Night, Bennie Kirby and His Country Dummies, Roy Garrett and Linda Elaine and Mack Abernathey.

Still others scheduled to appear are David Allen Coe, Don Cherrie, Dwight Yokum, Cherokee Rose, Delbert McClinton, Joe Ely, Nitty Ditty Dirt band, Gary McClung Band of Hillsboro and others.

Camping for the concert will be available Friday night, July 3; free parking will open at 4 a.m. Saturday; gates to the concert site will open at 7 a.m.; and the music will begin at 10 a.m. lasting until midnight.

According to Zeke Varnon of Hillsboro, there will be free parking for about 17,000 vehicles on the concert grounds; after that, parking will be available in the area for a fee.

Persons entering the concert will not be allowed to carry alcoholic beverages, glass containers, fireworks or weapons onto the grounds.

Ice chests, food, lawnchairs and caneras will be allowed, according to Varnon.

Food items, soft drinks, beer and ice will be available on the concert grounds.

A special crew of medical technicians, headed by Hillsboro native Dr. Red Duke, will be on hand for minor medical emergencies that ight arise during the day.

The mmedical crew will be located in a large metal barn at the concert site.

Final preparations for the concert also are being made by security consultant Mike Simpson.

Simpson has been involved with concerts since 1973 and has served as security consultant for the picnic since 1984.

Over 400 law enforcement and security personnel are expected to be in the concert area the day of the event, acording to Simpson.

Ranger Security Systems of Austin and Southwest Concert Security will provide security personnel for the interior of the concert grounds according to Simpson.

Additional Department of Public Safety troopers, officials from the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, Hill County Sheriff’s Department and Hillsboro Police Department are expected in the area also.

Hillsboro Police Department will assist Carl’s Corner Police Department as needed.

Hillsboro Police Chief Ed Wheat said that a supervisor will be in the concert site area to evaluate the need for Hillsboro officers and the length of time they will be at the site.

No less than eight Hillsboro police officers will be on duty at all times during the holiday weekend according to the police chief.

The Hill County Sheriff’s Department also will be fully staffed during weekend to cover the county.

Fifteen deputies, including reserves, will be available during the weekend to cover the county.

Sheriff Brent Button said the primary concern for his department was the load the holiday weekend might place on the Hill County Law Enforcement Center which is currently operating near it’s 40 man capacity.

Besides the concert, a large crowd is anticipated at the Lake Whitney Cycle Ranch for a national motorcross race and the parks on Lake Whitney are expected to fill to capacity.

Simpson said, “There has been a great cooperative effort between all agencies involved in the preparation for the concert to make it safe and pleasant for the patrons as well as the residents fo the areas.

Tickets for the event are $21 and are available at several locations in Central Texas.

In Hillsboro, tickets are available at Carl’s Corner Truck Stop, Sherry’s Hitch ‘N Post Western Wear, Ramada Inn, Darlene’s Restaurant and Thunderbird Restaurant.

Other ticket outlets include Hitch N Post, Cheyannes, Herrington Insurance Agency, all in Whitney, Adams Tour and Travel in Itasca and Night Owl in West.

Tickets also are available through Rainbow Ticket Masters in the Dallsa-Fort Worth metroplex.

While a large number of tickets have been sold, Varnon said no estimates have been established.

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