Windy City Smokeout kicks off in Chicago

It’s a four-day fest of BBQ and country, as the Windy City Smokeout is officially underway.

Great food, music and a lot of fun on Chicago's West Side. Gates opened Thursday at 2 p.m., with long lines to get inside.

The event takes place right outside the United Center.

The festival is all about bands, beer and BBQ. Over 15 live music performances are scheduled. Thursday's headliner is country music icon Willie Nelson.


The festival attracts thousands of country music lovers from all over. Attendees are subject to a full a search upon entry, including pat downs if necessary.

Chicago police are out in great numbers to ensure public safety.

Twenty-five pit masters from all over the country are at the event — ribs, chicken, brisket and so much more is available.

"We're really pumped to see Morgan Wade," one woman said. "Hopefully we get some whiskey in us and have a good time."

The festival goes until Sunday and ends every day at 10 p.m.