Willie Nelson misses start of US tour with Bob Dylan on “doctor’s orders”

Willie Nelson has been forced to pull out of the opening dates of his joint headline US tour with Bob Dylan on medical grounds.

The 91-year-old was due to kick off the ‘Outlaw Music Festival Tour’ alongside Dylan yesterday (June 21) in Atlanta, followed by Charlotte and Raleigh, but he will now miss all three dates.

“We regret to inform you that Willie Nelson is not feeling well and, per doctor’s orders, has been advised to rest for the next four days,” read a statement on social media. “He is expected to make a quick recovery and join the Outlaw Music Festival tour next week.”

“In the meantime, Lukas Nelson and the Family Band, along with a few guests, will perform a special set to include Willie’s classics and other songs.”

Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson
Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson during ‘Willie Nelson and Friends: Outlaws & Angels’ at Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California,. (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage for NBC Universal Photo Department)

The tour was announced in February, a run of 26 dates around North America that is set to last until September. Performances by Robert Plant & Alison KraussJohn Mellencamp, Billy Strings, Brittney Spencer, and Celisse will also occur at select dates.

Visit here for tickets and check out the full list of tour dates here.


Nelson has had a busy year so far. He appeared on Beyoncé’s album ‘Cowboy Carter’ in March, as a disc jockey on the fictitious station KNTRY Radio Texas on the track ‘Smoke Hour with Willie Nelson’.

He also teamed up with Orville Peck for a cover of Ned Sublette’s ‘Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other’ in April, a song Nelson had previously recorded in 2006.

Peck explained: “Willie kept talking about how the subject matter in this song was more important than ever. He wanted it to have a new life with the two of us.”

He continued: “With all the rhetoric surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community these days, it is so encouraging to have real allies like Willie that aren’t afraid to stand proudly next to us.”


Last month, Nelson also announced the release of a cookbook of cannabis-themed food recipes alongside his wife, Willie & Annie Nelson’s Cannabis Cookbook. It will be out on November 12 via Gallery Books (pre-order here).

The book arrives despite the fact that the musician revealed he had stopped smoking marijuana due to health concerns in 2019, although he is said to still vape and eat edibles.