Willie Nelson featured during Beto O'Rourke rally

Estimated 60,000 people attend Austin weekend event

AUSTIN, Texas – An estimated 60,000 people showed up Saturday for a get-out-the-vote campaign rally for Democratic senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke at an Austin outdoor amphitheater, which featured country music legend Willie Nelson. 

In terms of turnout it has been called a political rally that rivaled those during the 2016 presidential campaign.

O’Rourke is facing incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in next month’s election.

During the rally, Nelson introduced a new song he’s written called “Vote ‘em Out."

Though it mentions no candidate by name, the message is clear, as is Nelson’s endorsement of O’Rourke.

“I’m backing Beto because he’s better for the state," Nelson told KSAT 12’s Paul Venema on Sunday.

Nelson has received criticism from some fans who don’t share his liberal politics.

“If they don’t like my politics, that’s cool,” Nelson said. “We can still be friends, drink a beer, burn one down, and say I don’t have any personal grudges against anybody for how they feel or vote. That’s America.

“I was really, really knocked out by the people who showed up and registered to vote,” Nelson said.

He said that his shows, with the exception of this weekend, are about music, not politics.

“When they come to my shows, I don’t ask ‘em whether they’re Republican or Catholic or what the hell they are,” Nelson said. “They come for the music, and that’s what I wanna give ‘em. They come to get away from all that.”

Nelson and his sons, Lukas and Mica, recorded the song over the weekend at his Hill Country studio. He plans to release it in about a week.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.