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Bob Wills Day – April 29, 2023

Bob Wills Day, on April 29, pays homage to The King Of Western Swing, Bob Wills, every year on the last Saturday in April. Since 1972, tens of thousands of fans have attended the Bob Wills Day festival in the town of Turkey, Texas. Bob Wills’ music takes Country and Swing music lovers on a trip down memory lane, reminding them of an era when Western music was at its peak. For others, it is a fun festival of great music and dancing.

History of Bob Wills Day

Bob Wills was an American-Western musician and bandleader born on March 6, 1905, on a farm near Kosse, Texas. From a very young age, he developed an interest in music, learning the mandolin and fiddle in his childhood.

Wills performed live and played on air on South and West radio, until 1934 when he banded the Texas Playboys, featuring Tommy Duncan on vocals, banjoist Johnnie Lee Wills, guitarist June Whalin, guitarist and bassist Kermit Whalin, and Wills himself on the fiddle. The band’s music style was tweaked to a bit of Jazz when guitarist Eldon Shamblin became a part of the band in 1937. Over the years, the band’s music style expanded further with the additions of Leon McAuliffe, Smokey Dacus, and Al Stricklin to the band. The Texas Playboys performed regularly in Oklahoma, and radio station K.V.O.O.

The band had its breakthrough in the 1940s and rose to popularity with songs like ‘New San Antonio Rose,’ ‘Steel Guitar Rag,’ and ‘Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima.’ Wills’ musical troupe signed deals with several labels including Columbia, Vocalion, and M.G.M. In the 1950s, his mega-hit songs ‘Ida Red Likes the Boogie’ and ‘Faded Love’ reigned on the charts, but Wills suffered from poor health and struggled with finances. As Rock and Roll emerged, the band declined in popularity. Still, he continued with his performances. In 1962, Wills had a heart attack which led to the Texas Playboys disbanding, but he continued to perform solo.

Bob Wills Day timeline

March 6, 1905
A Star is Born

Bob Wills is born on a farm near Kosse, Texas.

1934 — 1942
Rise to Popularity

Bob Wills and his band The Texas Playboys start playing on air on radio station K.V.O.O.

1968
Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame honors Wills for his contribution to American Western Music.

May 13, 1975
His Music Lives On

Bob Wills dies at the age of 70, although his music remains timeless.

Bob Wills Day FAQs

Is Bob Wills from Turkey, Texas?

Bob Wills was born and raised in Texas. The annual Bob Wills Day celebrations take place in Texas.

Where is the Bob Wills Festival?

The Bob Wills Festival takes place annually in Texas. In 2022, the event will be in Turkey, Texas.

Where is Bob Wills buried?

Bob Wills was buried in Memorial Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bob Wills Day Activities

  1. Listen to Bob Wills’ discography

    Fans, pull out your old records and relive the magic that was Bob Wills’ music. If you’ve never listened to his music before, now is the time to discover it.

  2. Attend the Bob Wills Festival

    Celebrate with fans from around the country by attending the Bob Wills Festival in Turkey, Texas! For more information, head over to the festival’s official website.

  3. Have a swinging celebration

    If you cannot make it to the Bob Wills festival, host your own Bob Wills-themed swinging party. Invite your friends and family!

5 Facts About Bob Wills, The King Of Western Swing

  1. He was a proud resident of Texas

    Bob Wills was born in Texas, where his family owned a cotton farm.

  2. Bob Wills came from a musical family

    Wills had several relatives who were well-known for playing the fiddle and violin, including his own father.

  3. His first solo

    Wills performed his first solo at the age of 15.

  4. He had many jobs

    Before fame, Wills worked in construction and other labor jobs to make ends meet.

  5. His outfits were iconic

    His cigar and cowboy hat were part of his statement.

Why We Love Bob Wills Day

  1. It celebrates an American icon

    Bob Wills is legendary for his Western music and gave us unforgettable songs that are classic today. Bob Wills Day honors his life, achievements, and contribution to American music.

  2. It keeps Western music alive

    Days like Bob Wills Day keep Western music alive. Older generations relive the glory days of Western music, and new generations discover it.

  3. The Bob Wills festival is spectacular

    The Bob Wills Festival is an annual celebration that is totally worth it! Experience the best of swing music and dancing at the event.

Bob Wills Day dates

YearDateDay
2022April 30Saturday
2023April 29Saturday
2024April 27Saturday
2025April 26Saturday
2026April 25Saturday

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