Thousands show up for first night of Windy City Smokeout

Thousands arrived outside of the United Center Thursday for the first night of Windy City Smokeout.

In order to gain entry, attendees needed to complete a health screening online.

At the entrance gate, patrons had to show a health pass, proof of vaccination or proof of a negative PCR test.

"It was a very easy process, being vaccinated. You get on the CLEAR app, really easy," said event-goer Justin Hankinson.

"I feel very safe being here without a mask," said another event-goer Jami Shapiro.

This year’s festival extends over 18-acres, providing more space for guests to feel safe. 

The space is 45-percent bigger than the previous festival in 2019.


Everything is also contactless at the event.

"First opening concert in Chicago, I love to be here," said Dominic Maggiore.

More than 20 country music stars will perform at the four-day event.

Bands that would be performing on Thursday night included Brett Eldredge, Larry Fleet and Walker County.

As far as food is concerned, 17 of the country's best pit masters were on hand serving BBQ, nachos, mac & cheese and more.

"You just have good food, good music and good vibes all the way around," said Shapiro.