You are here
Home > MUSIC > CONCERT REVIEWS > Windy City Smokeout // Chicago, IL // 7.13 – 7.16

Windy City Smokeout // Chicago, IL // 7.13 – 7.16

Chicago, IL — Windy City Smokeout 2023 celebrated their ten year anniversary in style! Once again they treated festival-goers to some of the biggest names in country music and the best barbecue around. Ten years for any festival is a big deal but Windy City Smokeout is special because it didn’t start out as a regular fest. Windy City started out on the streets of Chicago as small neighborhood street fest. That alone is no small feat but the fact that they did it in Chicago (a city known moire for pizza than country) is an outstanding achievment. This years festival lineup looked like a who’s who of the CMAs. It included Zach Bryan, Luke Bryan, Megan Moroney, Daruis Rucker, Megan Moroney, and The Zac Brown Band just to name a few.

The highlight of the festival had to be Zach Bryan. The quickly rising artist was a midday Thursday performer last year and was the headlining Thursday performer this year. The fans came out in droves for the relatively new artist. Bryan’s raw and emotional performance resonated deeply with the crowd, leaving a lasting impression on all who witnessed his set.

Dylan Scott played an earlier set as one of the newer artists on the scene but had a commanding performance that really resonated with the crowd. His humble nature and sincerity showed why he is quickly rising up the list of names to know. During his set he encouraged the crowd to create a “beer snake” which is a common site at Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs.) Of course the Chicago crowd was happy to oblige.

Megan Moroney the southern sorority girl sweetheart broke a few hearts during her set. She came out in an oversized Cubs jersey with her name on it. It’s the kind of look that only a sorority girl could pull off. Let’s not get caught up on just her outfit though. Megans voice is outstanding and is only topped by her moves and poses. Seriously, she had some of the best moves of anyone the entirety of the four day festival.

Daruis Rucker or “Hootie” as he’s known to his older fans was exactly what you would expect. He played some of his well known country songs and country song covers but also threw in some nineties covers. When he covered TLC the crowd went wild! All the new fans and the old ones were gathered in chorus. It just goest to show the you can take the college band and make them mainstream but you can’t take away that college spirit. It was the kind of party that people wanted and needed.

One of the other biggest highlights was of course the Zac Brown Band. The Zac Brown band is known for their tropical country vibes. The music is all about relaxing, having fun, drinking, and just living life. Zac Brown closed the festival and honestly it was the perfect choice for a closer. What better way to close a festival than to leave the crowd on cloud nine? It was a high that people still probably haven’t come down from yet. When the played “Toes in the sand” and “Chicken Fried” it was such a warming experience.

All in all, Windy City Smokeout 2023 was an extraordinary celebration of country music, food, friends, and good times. There’s something very special about Windy City Smokeout. It could be because it takes place at the best time of year in Chicago. It might just be because it takes place in Chicago the biggest little city in the Midwest. Perhaps, it’s just a great festival that pulls in some of the best acts in country, the best chefs in barbecue, and the best fans from all around the United States? Whatever it is let’s hope it stays around for another ten years.





Charles Yamabe
One day my love of music and passion for photography serendipitously collided. Since that day I have carried my camera around with me everywhere I go. You can find me on Instagram