This film from the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection captures footage of the parking lot fire that occurred at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic in 1974, held at the Texas World Speedway near College Station. The exact cause of the fire is unknown; it destroyed twelve cars, one of which belonged to Texas songwriter and musician, Robert Earl Keene.
Willie Nelson was born in Abbot, Texas on April 29, 1933. He is a world renowned country music singer and musician, as well as an actor, activist, and author. His most famous country albums include Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978). Nelson popularized the “outlaw country” subgenre along with Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, and has written some of the most famous country music songs recorded, including Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” which he wrote at the ripe age of 19, “On the Road Again,” and “Pancho and Lefty.” His primary musical collaboration is with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings, performing as the Highwaymen, among many others. Nelson was named the honorary chairman of the advisory board of the official music charity of the state of Texas, the Texas Music Project, for his philanthropic work in and outside the music community. He was also inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and received a 1998 Kennedy Center Honor.
Nelson has also advocated for marijuana legalization, biodiesel alternative fuel, and is a supporter of democratic campaigns, such as Dennis Kuchinich’s 2004 run. He also founded the annual fundraiser Farm Aid, which benefits the local, American, small farmer, and has featured multitudes of musicians of different genres.