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Outlaw Music Fest featuring Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson to Co-Headline

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Bob Dylan is set to co-headline Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival this summer, performing at all 25 shows during the annual touring event. This collaboration between the legendary musicians and longtime friends is highly anticipated by fans all over the country. The festival will kick off on June 21 in Alpharetta, Ga, with Robert Plant & Alison Krauss joining the first leg of the tour. John Mellencamp will then join the second leg starting on July 29 at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, Calif.

The highlight of the festival will be the performance by Dylan and Nelson at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 31. Joining them on stage will be John Mellencamp and rising star Brittney Spencer. Nelson, who celebrated his 90th birthday at the Bowl last year, is known for bringing together a star-studded lineup of performers including Neil Young, Beck, George Strait, and many others.

Outlaw Music Festival is renowned for showcasing progressive-country and Americana acts, and this year is no exception. Alongside big names like Dylan and Nelson, Celisse and Southern Avenue will be performing at various stops, while Billy Strings will make a special appearance at the Gorge Amphitheatre outside Seattle on Aug. 10.

The festival will conclude on Sept. 17 in Buffalo, N.Y., with tickets going on sale this Friday. Citi card members will have access to presale tickets from Tuesday to Thursday through the Citi Entertainment program. Willie Nelson expressed his excitement for this year’s lineup, stating, “This year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour promises to be the biggest and best yet with this lineup of legendary artists.”

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Bob Dylan’s participation in the full tour marks a special moment in Outlaw Music Festival history. While he has performed with the festival in 2017, this will be the first time he joins for the entirety of the tour. Known for his iconic songs like “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Dylan’s presence is sure to elevate the festival experience for all attendees.

The Outlaw Music Festival made its debut in Scranton, Pa., in 2016 and has since grown into a popular touring event. Nelson, along with his manager Mark Rothbaum and promoter Blackbird Presents, decided to expand the festival to different cities, starting with 10 in 2017 and growing to 18 in 2018. The festival made its L.A. debut in 2018, featuring a lineup that included Grateful Dead alumnus Phil Lesh & Friends, Sturgill Simpson, and Margo Price.

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Chats and reflections on the present moment.

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Lydia Polgreen

Credit…Will Heath/NBC, via Getty Images

It is a rare thing in our rapidly secularizing country to be confronted with piety and devotion in popular culture. So it was a surprise, and a balm, to watch a man who prays daily and talks openly about his devout faith storm a bastion of earthly godlessness: “Saturday Night Live.”

I am referring, of course, to the comedian Ramy Youssef, who hosted the show on what he described in his opening monologue as “an incredibly spiritual weekend,” noting Ramadan, Easter and the arrival of a new Beyoncé album.

“I’m doing the Ramadan one,” he quipped, to peals of laughter, unspooling a very funny bit about how loving Muslims are. Youssef has mined his experience as a believer among the profane in gentle standup specials and a namesake sitcom. His entire monologue glowed with a welcoming warmth — Muslims, he seemed to say: We’re just like you.

In a country that is supposedly obsessed with diversity and inclusion, it is remarkable how rare it is to hear from a practicing Muslim in America.

Surveys by the Institute for Policy and Understanding, a nonpartisan research organization focused on Muslim Americans, have consistently found that Muslims are the most likely group to report religious discrimination in the United States. According to a Pew survey conducted in 2021, 78 percent of Americans said that there was either a lot or some discrimination against Muslims in our society. Muslims are no more likely to commit crimes than members of any other group, but crimes in which Muslims are suspects get outsized media coverage, research has shown.

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It is no surprise, then, that Islamophobia is perhaps the most tolerated form of religious prejudice. Right now, Senate Republicans appear to have persuaded several Senate Democrats to vote against a Muslim judicial nominee after smearing him, with no evidence at all, as an antisemite.

Many of the skits that toyed with religion on “S.N.L.” on Saturday were funny — Ozempic for Ramadan! Genius. But part of me winced through them as well, because I saw in Youssef something that other members of minority groups have had to do to “earn” their place in the safety of the mainstream: the performance of normalcy, of being nonthreatening and sweet, the requirement to prove that your community belongs in America just like everyone else’s.

I loved Youssef’s monologue, in which he bravely pleaded, “Please, free the people of Palestine. And please, free the hostages. All of the hostages.”

“I am out of ideas,” Youssef declared toward the end of his monologue. “All I have is prayers.”

To which this nonbeliever can only say: Same, Ramy. Same.

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