Willie’s Luck Reunion Offers Stupid Good Lineup & Best Alternative to SXSW


The annual musical melee in mid-March in Austin, TX known as SXSW has become the preeminent music event of the entire year to avoid at all costs. You have to be some version of a musical masochist to want to slog through throngs of people and swim through a sea of brand placement that makes NASCAR look tame just to get 20 minutes of seeing your favorite band fighting through bad sound in some shitty venue as some hipster spills his Pabst down the back of your shirt. It doesn’t mean there isn’t some great music there to be heard and discovered, but it’s all the other headaches that are involved that make it an annual nightmare.

Starting around 2011 or so, if you hung around and talked to up-and-coming country and roots bands attending SXSW, you’d hear whispers about an invite-only event out at Willie Nelson’s ghost town outside of Austin called Luck, TX. Luck was originally constructed as part of the set of the movie The Red Headed Stranger released in 1986—a companion to Willie Nelson’s legendary album of the same name. The town was first called Willieville, and was erected to be a replica of the town of Driscoll, Montana. It sits near Willie’s golf course about 30 miles outside of Austin on a corner of Willie’s ranch. Though some of the buildings of Luck are made as facades, some are real structures, and the town regularly houses movie and video shoots, private events, and weddings in the town’s chapel.

READ: Willie Nelson’s “Luck, TX” Town Badly Damaged in Storm

The annual Luck event scheduled to coincide with SXSW was sort of hush hush for a while, even though the names they brought in to play it were killer. It was like a rave for cool country and roots artists, sans the glow sticks. Saving Country Music finally got to attend the event in 2014 when it was still called the Heartbreakers Banquet and it was probably the last year it kept any semblance of exclusivity, meaning the crowd wasn’t overwhelming, but you still had to wait in line for 45 minutes for a free shot of moonshine or some greasy fries from a food truck.

2015 was when the Luck shindig went public and became one of the most talked-about events of the greater SXSW experience. And this year promises to be even bigger. The organizers just released their three-stage lineup for the Friday, March 18th event. Along with headliners like Willie Nelson, Jenny Lewis, Billy Joe Shaver, John Moreland, and Jack Ingram, there will be a a song swap curated by the movie Heartworn Highways Revisited featuring Robert Ellis, T. Hardy Morris, Sam Outlaw, Shelly Colvin, Andrew Combs, and Jonny Fritz.

They’re still trying to keep some of the exclusivity of the event in tact by only releasing tickets at limited times and in limited quantities. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS as they say. Good luck getting them.

NOTE: There are additional and different names on the poster than what is on the lineup card at the moment (this is kind of normal for SXSW), so check both places, and expect things to change.

Luck Reunion Lineup

World Headquarters Stage:

  • Willie Nelson & Family
  • Jenny Lewis
  • Lucius
  • Blitzen Trapper
  • luck-reunion-2016Doyle Bramhall II
  • Alberta Cross
  • John Fullbright
  • Amasa Hines
  • Horse Thief
  • The Black Lillies
  • Heaven’s Jail

Revival Tent:

  • Billy Joe Shaver
  • John Moreland
  • Parker Millsap
  • Margo Price
  • Joe Pug
  • Lissie
  • Matt Vasquez
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard
  • Aaron Lee Tasjan
  • Indianola

Chapel Stage:

  • Jack Ingram
  • Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards)
  • Ciaran Lavery
  • Dylan LeBlanc
  • Holly Macve
  • Jonny Burke
  • Rob Baird
  • Daniel Romano
  • Insects vs. Robots
  • Lily Meola
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