Willie Nelson’s daughter headlines Longmont’s Festival on Main

Paula Nelson, Willie's daughter, is scheduled to headline the 2014 Festival on Main in downtown Longmont on Aug. 22. (Paula Nelson / Courtesy photo)
Paula Nelson, Willie’s daughter, is scheduled to headline the 2014 Festival on Main in downtown Longmont on Aug. 22. (Paula Nelson / Courtesy photo)

By Quentin Young

Paula Nelson grew up in a musical household.

It wasn’t just any household, though. Famous performers such as her father, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings, whom she knew as Uncle Waylon, occupied it. Paula Nelson became a touring musician herself, and she recently returned to her artistic beginnings in “Under The Influence,” an album, released at the beginning of the year, that features Nelson covering the artists who influenced her.

“I grew up with so many great influences in my life,” she said by phone last week from her home in Austin, Texas. “I thought it would be great to sing their songs and pay homage to those artists.”

Songs by her father and Jennings are on the album, as are songs by Mickey Newberry, Leon Russell and others. This is the kind of material the audience is likely to hear when Nelson performs at Festival on Main, Longmont’s annual downtown party.

The event is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. Aug. 22 on Main Street. Music is a central part of Festival on Main, but it also features an abundance of family activities. There’s a bungee trampoline, a rock climbing wall, obstacle course and bounce house. Dance performances and a Longmont Idol competition also are planned.

Music is scheduled on three stages. The Beer Garden Stage at Fourth Avenue and Main Street features Gipsy Moon and Nelson’s band. Two other stages feature the groups Thunk, Boogie Machine, Sol Naciente de Tierra Caliente, La Nueva Lealtad and Brillantes Del Norte.

For the first time, organizers are extending the event area to beyond Longs Peak Avenue, which in previous years was the north terminus. A local artist showcase is planned for the new area. Organizers are looking to draw festival-goers to the area to highlight the new Roosevelt Park Apartments and new businesses.

“By allowing that foot traffic, it allows people to see the new addition to downtown,” organizer Jeff Simcock said.

Also new this year will be a children’s area on Fourth Avenue west of Main Street and an extra hour of festivities. The event previously ended at 9 p.m. Now it runs until 10 p.m.

“That was based on some community feedback,” Simcock said. “Popular demand of the people wanted the party to keep going.”

The festival’s live music programming had much to do with that, Simcock said.

Paula Nelson often makes stops in Longmont and Lyons when she’s on the road. She spent much of her childhood, from third to 10th grade, in Conifer and Evergreen.

“I’ve always had a strong connection to Colorado,” she said.

Willie Nelson had a hit song about his love of life on the road, but his daughter tries to limit her travel time.

“I am a homebody,” Paula Nelson said. “I really do love being home and being with my animals.”

She lives on about four acres, where she cares for rescue animals.

“I have five dogs, six cats, four goats, two donkeys and four goldfish,” she said.

She also loves performing, and the 45-year-old is feeling especially good about her music these days.

“This new CD really boosted my morale,” she said, adding that “Under The Influence” has enjoyed a good reception. “And I love singing these songs.”

Now she wants to make a second album of songs from her biggest influences, she said, except this one would be devoted to women who inspired her.

Contact Quentin Young at 303-684-5319 or qyoung@aespotlight.com

If you go

What: Festival on Main

When: 6-10 p.m., Friday, Aug. 22

Where: Main Street in downtown Longmont

Tickets: Free

Info: festivalonmain.com

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