Six weeks ahead of his 90th birthday, Willie Nelson will welcome an eclectic lineup of musicians to Luck Reunion on the grounds of his Spicewood, Tx. ranch. Taking place on March 16, Nelson will also headline the boutique event, which is now in its 11th year, and remains a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of South by Southwest happening at the same time in nearby Austin.
Staged in and around movie sets still standing on Nelson’s property from his 1986 movie Red Headed Stranger, Luck has an intimate capacity of 3,500 people and traditionally sells out in minutes. As usual, the bill features everyone from Texas favorites such as Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Terry Allen & the Panhandle Mystery Band, and Willis Alan Ramsey, to established acts such as Spoon, Guster, and Fruit Bats leader Eric D. Johnson, and up-and-comers such as Ethel Cain, Devon Gilfillian, the Heavy Heavy, the War and Treaty, and Sir Woman.
“A fundamental part of Luck’s mission over the past decade has been creating a space that fosters and supports developing musicians,” Luck Reunion booker Hannah Gold tells SPIN. “We’ve been very fortunate to exist outside of an industry that considers ticket sales their main priority. Music for the sake of music has been our ethos from the beginning, and it’s where we intend to focus our future efforts and projects.”
In addition, multi-artist tribute sets are on tap for both Doug Sahm & the Texas Tornados and Leon Russell, and Southwest Airlines will once again help facilitate appearances by three rising artists (Angel White, Arcy Drive, and Pearla). New this year is the Bread & Roses Community Conversations Stage, which will feature talks with local musicians, chefs, and activists, and an initiative with environmental nonprofit REVERB to cut the event’s carbon emissions by 75% through the use of solar-powered battery systems.
The first chance to purchase tickets for Luck Reunion will come Saturday (Feb. 25) during Lucky Draw Live at Antone’s Nightclub in Austin. Beau Bedford and Robert Ellis and Friends will perform. Hopeful attendees are encouraged to follow Luck Reunion’s social media accounts for additional ticket-buying opportunities.
Beyond Luck Reunion, organizers have a number of other events planned on the ranch in the surrounding days. Potluck 2023 happens at the ranch the night before the festival and comprises a family-style, seated dinner with an indigenous cuisine theme. Nelson will also perform outdoors after the meal, with proceeds benefiting the Luck Family Foundation in support of Farm Aid, Wholesome Wave, and Texas Food and Wine Alliance.
On March 18, acts such as Ivan Neville and Friends, the Soul Rebels, Low Cut Connie, Tommy McLain and C.C. Adcock, and Big Freedia will descend on the ranch for Luck Origins: New Orleans Takeover, while Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe will take place the following day. Fans will be treated not only to a gospel brunch but also to performances by the Binky Griptite Orchestra, Abraham Alexander, Amythyst Kiah, Betty Harris, Ruthie Foster, and Valerie June.