Willie Nelson not coming to Fort Smith

story by Aric Mitchell

Fort Smith Convention Center (FSCC) will not be hosting the return of country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson on Nov. 29 as originally thought.

FSCC chief operating officer Tim Seeberg confirmed that the show had been canceled on Friday (Nov. 9) due to lagging ticket sales.

“What happened in this case is that Willie and the show promoter (Larry Shaeffer Presents out of Sand Springs, Okla.) were not comfortable with the current pace of ticket sales for this event, so they went ahead and canceled,” Seeberg said, adding that only 300 tickets had been sold to the event which would have been held inside the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center of the FSCC (capacity: 1,300).

“It’s unfortunate, but at this time we don’t know of any expected rescheduling,” Seeberg said.

Seeberg confirmed that refunds on the face value of the tickets would be offered to existing ticket buyers. Fees, he added, would not be refundable “as those go to the promoter or ticket seller.”

“The majority of buyers bought tickets with a credit card and because of that they will need to contact iTickets.com. If they did purchase with cash at our box office, they can come to the Convention Center offices.”

The FSCC was notified “two or three days ago” of the cancellation, Seeberg said. “We don’t like going through the motions and all the sudden it doesn’t happen, but we’re working on some other artists coming up, some fairly decent names we’ll hopefully be inking a deal with in the near future.”

Nelson had to reschedule a previous engagement in Fort Smith “a couple of years ago,” Seeberg said, due to health issues.


The multiple Grammy-, AMA-, CMA- and Academy of Country Music-award winning artist has been active since 1956. Songwriting credits include “Crazy” (popularized by Patsy Cline), “Hello Walls,” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.” As an artist, Nelson has more than 20 number one hits, which include “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “On the Road Again,” and “Always on My Mind.”

He will turn 80 years of age on April 30, 2013.

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Pure B.S.

They were worried about ticket sales while the scheduled date is still a month away? Everybody knows the largest amount of tickets sold are in the two weeks before the show. I wish you so-called reporters would do your job and find the real reason this is going on.

WIllie Nelson show

I was at the last show Willie Nelson played here. I Was fortunate to be on the third row, but I remember hearing people behind me complaining that they couldn't hear or see. I also heard many people on the way out complaining they felt they got ripped off. These were long time fans of Willie Nelson that couldn't enjoy the show because it was held in a portion of the convention center that has a flat, bare concrete slab floor, the acoustics were terrible, and with the flat floor, it was impossible for people even a few rows back to see the performers on stage. The venue is garbage, which is why it has struggled to turn a profit in the past. I am willing to bet this is why ticket sales were so poor, because of what happened last time.


I was at that Willie show as well and was disappointed. Not in the facility but the show. If someone could not see the stage it might have been because of the redneck sitting in front standing up with his girlfriend on his shoulders waving her lighted bic lighter in the air and slopping beer from the open can in her other hand. Willie had no show. He just came out sang some songs and left. No production value. Might as well just download some tunes and be done with it. As to this show which has been cancelled, it was set for the theater, not the convention space. Read the story.

WIllie Nelson concert cancelled

Yep, I read it. My comments concerned the last show I saw that he played in Fort Smith. Someone with good reading comprehension skills could have made that distinction. And if you had actually been at that show you would know that people who didn't remain seated were escorted out by security. It is obvious that you weren't at that show since you know so little about it. There was no "redneck sitting in front standing up with his girlfriend on his shoulders" like you suggested. Also if he was standing, then he would therefore not be sitting. Literacy for the win. The whole property is called the Fort Smith Convention Center. The recently renamed Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center theater was available for the Willie Nelson show that I saw, but it wasn't held there because the managers at the time were afraid the rowdy country music fans would tear up their pretty new theater. If I were Willie Nelson and had been stuck in a smaller section of the boat show room, I wouldn't want to play the same venue again. It wouldn't surprise me to find his people booked it before he knew anything about it, then when he saw the location listed as Fort Smith Convention Center Willie himself probably vetoed it. And I wouldn't blame him one bit considering what happened before. Of course the sound is going to be awful. No amount of "sound absorbing curtain" will help hide the acoustic nightmare of a bare slab. And everyone I know that bought tickets to the show I saw understood it was to be in the theater for that previous show as well. But it didn't turn out that way.

Willie Cancelled

It's sad that Willie has forgotten his fans & where he came from . I never would've expected this out of him of all performers. It is PURE B.S.

willie concert

Ticket sales should have been better even if it was more than two weeks away. I don't want to hear anyone gripe about nothing to do in Fort Smith, we had a chance to see an icon and once again missed. I hope I get my refund soon.

I was at the last show as

I was at the last show as well. Second row. Willie was horrible. As mentioned there was no show. I am alteast glad to say i have seen him a few times. The tickets are to expensive to go again in Fort Smith. Ticket buyers wont get their fees back? Sounds to me like the CC director needs to get with the ticket seller and make that right. Its not the buyers fault that the CC "agent" wont refund the money. When you take something back to walmart they dont say "contact the state for your tax money" they give it ALL back.

Willie no show

With seating at 1,331 what do you expect? Fort Smith will never hold any large shows with this small capacity. Verizon Arena seats 18,000. You do the math 18,000 vs 1331.

RE: Willie no show

The show cancelled because of low ticket sales. He couldn't even sell 500 tickets in Fort Smith. If he couldn't sell out a 1331 seat theater what makes you think Verizon's 18,000 would even be a possibility?