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Willie Nelson Leaves Stage Before Playing a Note at Charlotte Show, Citing Illness

Nelson was slated to play as part of his Outlaw Music Festival at the PNC Music Pavilion on Saturday (May 26), but he never played one note.

Willie Nelson walked out on stage Saturday night (May 26) for a date on his Outlaw Music Festival tour at the PNC Music Pavilion, but after picking up his trusty acoustic guitar Trigger and briefly putting it on, he set it back down, flung his cowboy hat into the crowd and left the stage, according to Taste of Country. The 85 year-old singer could be seen walking out of the stage door after what was reportedly his second attempt to take the stage that night. 

Live Nation Carolina later released a statement chalking up the incident to an unspecified illness. “Due to illness, Willie Nelson was unable to play tonight at the Outlaw Music Festival at PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte,” read the statement. “Fans are asked to please hold on to their tickets until the new date is announced.” At press time Nelson had not commented on the skipped show on social media; a spokesperson for Nelson confirmed to Billboard on Monday morning (May 28) that he was suffering from a “stomach bug” that prevented him from performing and that the Charlotte show will be rescheduled at a later date.


Some fans complained on Twitter that they waited for an hour after Nelson exited the stage before being informed that he would not be performing and that the show was over. It was an especially disappointing development for fans who came out for the all-star fest, coming on the heels of Elvis Costello pulling out in April due to what was described as a “non life-threatening surgical procedure,” as well as the news two weeks ago that Brandi Carlile was dropping off the tour due to “unexpected family obligations overseas.”

The latest cancelation from the country icon comes after he was forced to cancel a number of shows in February citing the flu; he was also forced to cut a show short in August 2017 due to breathing problems.

Watch fan footage of Nelson walking off the stage on Saturday night.

The spokesperson also confirmed that Nelson was able to make it to Sunday night’s (May 27) show at The Anthem in Washington, D.C.