A free Willie Nelson concert in the heart of the Lone Star State seems like something that would attract fans of all political stripes, but there's a good chance the Sept. 29 event will feature a largely left-leaning crowd. That's because the country crooner is headlining a "Turn Out for Texas" rally in Austin for Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, and many of Nelson's fans aren't happy about it, KTRK reports. Per Austin360, it's "the first public concert Nelson has held for a political candidate," the singer's publicist says in a release, though Rolling Stone notes he's put on private concerts for politicians in the past. "My wife Annie and I have met and spoken with Beto and we share his concern for the direction things are headed," Nelson says in the release. "Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine."
The site notes Nelson even brought O'Rourke out on stage during his Fourth of July concert. None of this pleases Nelson's more conservative fans, who see his ties to O'Rourke as a "breaking point," per the Washington Post. "I am certain you've lost your mind," one commenter wrote on Nelson's Facebook page, while another noted: "Willie's position is proof positive that marijuana use over time kills brain cells." Still others are dumping already purchased tickets to future Nelson shows. Many, however, applauded Nelson's decision. "So glad you are involved in this good cause. I have always been a fan, and am now a bigger fan," noted one well-liked post. The Post notes Nelson has long been politically active, throwing his support behind Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, and advocating for pot legalization, gay marriage, and the environment.