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Zach Bryan Goes From Opener to Headliner at Chicago's Windy City Smokeout

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

On January 24, 2022, when Windy City Smokeout, Chicago's premier country music festival, announced their full lineup, many didn't think twice about Zach Bryan being a Thursday opener. I mean, Willie Nelson and the return of the Turnpike Troubadours? Sign up just about any classic country music fan for that set of co-headliners.

Well, by the time August 4th came around, Zach Bryan had already been having the year of his life. Zach broke the record for single album streams in a 24-hour period, with his debut album "American Heartbreak". The album casually debuted at #5 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, and #1 on the Top Country Albums Chart. So when he arrived at Windy City Smokeout for his Thursday 5:00 PM set time, he was treated just like the headliner. You would've never known this was a mid-week concert during the work day. Crowds were packed all the way to the back, just as crowded as Friday and Saturday night's headliners, Tim McGraw and Sam Hunt, respectively. He wowed fans by opening with "Open The Gate", and finished with another classic, "Revival".

In many ways, you could tell most of the festival attendees were there for Zach. All over Windy City Smokeout's socials had people commenting to "Bring Back Zach." Last week the festival answered the bell.

"You asked. We listened. We're bringing @zachlanebryan BACK to headline the #Smokeout2023 stage! Celebrate 10 years with us and grab your tickets NOW!"

For many artists, it takes several years to get from the side stages or opening slots of festivals, to headlining the main stage. This is a pretty impressive feat for Zach Bryan to come back the very next year and take over as a headliner at Windy City Smokeout. This will not be a festival to miss.

Windy City Smokeout will take place July 13-16, 2023 at the United Center parking lot in Chicago. Zac Brown Band has also been announced as a headliner, and tickets are available at

Zach Bryan, country festival, Windy City smokeout,

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