CHICAGO — Country music fans in the city and beyond are excited for the Windy City Smokeout’s return Thursday outside of the United Center.

The four-day festival kicked off in the afternoon with Willie Nelson and Family set to headline Thursday night. Other festival headliners include Tim McGraw on Friday, Sam Hunt on Saturday and Miranda Lambert on Sunday.

One of the best features of the music festival is the wide variety of barbeque that accompanies it. Twenty-five award-winning pitmasters will be there all weekend cooking up their favorite dishes.

Around 15,000 people are expected to attend each day.

“We have walk through magnetometers, we’re bag checking and screening everyone that is coming into the event site,” Sean Barus said. “We have perimeter teams making sure that we don’t have breaches within our perimeter of the event site.”

Tickets for Friday and Sunday remain available.