Willie Nelson Walks Off Stage at Charlotte’s Outlaw Music Fest, Show Canceled

Elvis Costello and Brandi Carlile also canceled appearances at same event.

Willie Nelson’s appearance at the Outlaw Music Festival on Saturday (5-26) at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina was abruptly cancelled after Willie was unwilling or unable to perform. According to concertgoers, Willie Nelson walked out on stage twice, but never sang or played. During his second appearance on stage, he threw his hat out into the crowd (see video below).

Willie Nelson’s set was supposed to start at roughly 9:40 p.m. local time. By 10:25, he still had not begun his performance. The crowd was left in the dark for a while as to whether the performance would happen or not, but eventually an announcer told the crowd the show had been officially canceled. At about 11:10 Eastern time, Live Nation Carolina declared, “Due to illness, Willie Nelson was unable to play tonight at the Outlaw Music Festival at PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte. Fans are asked to please hold on to their tickets until the new date is announced.”

The Outlaw Music Festival is a multi-city festival promoted by Blackbird Presents and LiveNation. It features different performers at each stop, with Willie Nelson headlining each night. The Charlotte, North Carolina date was also scheduled to feature Sturgill Simpson, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Brandi Carlile, and Old Crow Medicine Show. Elvis Costello and Brandi Carlile had also both canceled their performances before Saturday’s show for personal reasons. The Wild Feathers and Mitchell Lee were added to the bill.

“85 yr young Willie Nelson has just walked on and off the stage in Charlotte twice,” said one concertgoer. “The 2nd time angrily throwing his hat into the crowd. I don’t think he is coming back. I wish I had caught the hat.”

Willie Nelson has postponed, cancelled, or been unable to take the stage on numerous occasions over the past few years due to illness. However Saturday night’s episode seemed especially dramatic. So far there is no word on Willie Nelson’s condition, if something else may have caused the cancellation, or when the performance may be rescheduled. More details when they become available.