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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

country music

It’s time to dust off the Daisy Dukes (not you, guys), fill up the Yetis with whatever dirty 30-pack you desire, and enjoy the summer sun beating down to the backdrop of live music. Country music fans know that nothing says “summertime” better than live music. 

We’ve got the insight on the must-see shows coming to a town near you, and ones worth making a trip to attend.

George Strait, Chris Stapleton & Little Big Town

King George is at it again and he’s just added additional dates. In 2024, he is carting along Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town. Why is this a must-see (do you have to ask… it’s KING George!)? George Strait has had over 60 number-one hits over his career spanning 40 years. Adding on Chris Stapleton—arguably the most powerful voice in country music—and you will be glued to your seat, spot, or wherever you are watching from, not wanting to miss a second.

Dates run May through July, with a finishing solo show in Vegas on Dec. 7. Go to georgestrait.com for official tickets, which fetch a hefty price tag. But, let’s face it, Strait isn’t getting any younger and this is a tour that is probably on your bucket list. Be prepared to spend upwards of $400/ticket, with VIP packages ranging from $1,200-$2,000. 

MORE INFO: georgestrait.com

Kenny Chesney’s “Sun Goes Down Tour” with Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker & Megan Moroney

No Shoes Nation members were stoked to hear that Kenny Chesney is hitting stadiums again in 2024, after his smaller venue, “I Go Back” tour in ’23. This year, he’s got 23 stadiums on the docket, including three nights at Gillette Stadium—some of which are already sold out. 

If you have never experienced a full-out Chesney stadium tour and tailgated with his No Shoes Nation (Kenny’s official fan club), well, you must. Fans no doubt are pumped to see Uncle Kracker back—the duo’s “When the Sun Goes Down” (boy, that sounds similar to the name of this tour) was an immediate hit 20 years ago. Add in the Americana country vibe of Zac Brown Band and CMA Nominee, Megan Moroney, you’ve got our vote for an epic summertime show.

Dates run from April through August. Grab official tickets from Chesney’s site and be prepared to spend if you are in the sand bar (the front stage area where there is no actual sand and sounds like a super cool viewing area). 

MORE INFO: kennychesney.com

The Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival – 10th Anniversary

Featuring headliners Dave Matthews Band, Hozier, Noah Kahn, and NeedtoBreathe, tickets for this year’s Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, TN, are now on sale. In light of the festival’s 10-year anniversary, tickets can be reserved at just $10 down (seriously!), if reserved before June 7. Attendees can choose from two- and single-day tickets, VIP and hotel-included options. 

The fest is put on by Better Than Ezra’s frontman Kevin Griffin, Michael Whelan, and W. Brandt Wood, this year marking a decade of top-flight artistry and community spirit. 

2024’s festival runs September 28-29 at the Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin, TN, just over 20 miles outside of Nashville. 

MORE INFO: pilgrimagefestival.com

Cody Johnson’s “Leather Tour” Is On Now Through July

Borrowing the name from his new album, “Leather,” released in November of 2023, Cody Johnson’s tour is in full swing, featuring Dillon Carmichael, Justin Moore, and Chris Janson (depending on the show date). 

If there is one thing COJO Nation fans love about Johnson, it’s the authenticity he brings to country music and live shows—trust us, you will have goosebumps by the second song. That authenticity shines through his new album, featuring guest acts Brooks & Dunn, and Jelly Roll. 

“People appreciate authenticity, whether it’s me being a cowboy and singing something that reminds people of ’90s country stuff they grew up on, or someone like the Zach Bryans and guys that are more like what probably is considered Americana, or Jelly Roll, who is completely the opposite of me, musically,” Johnson says. “But authenticity is the common thread.”

Lots of dates and tickets are still available, all over the U.S. and Canada, through August. Grab tickets through his website. We’ve got to say, we were thrilled to see price points starting at $56, making this tour a no-brainer on your summer lineup. 

MORE INFO: codyjohnsonmusic.com

Country Thunder 2024 Kicks Off in April

Probably one of the most widely-known summer fests among country music fans is Country Thunder, and this year kicks it into high gear with headliners Lainey Wilson, Eric Church, Jelly Roll, Nickelback (yes, Nickleback), Koe Wetzel, and Bailey Zimmerman over four days and three stages. It also uniquely features a “side stage” meant to allow local artists to play their tunes. 

The festival which has been around since 1993 with a single weekend in Arizona, has since added stops in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Florida, plus two more in Canada. Country music lovers convene for killer lineups and campsites ready to host attendees (hint: pray it doesn’t rain!).  

Kicking off in Arizona in April, Country Thunder runs through October at its last stop in Florida. Attendees can grab weekend passes ranging from standing room to reserved seating and VIP packages. Get them on the official website. 

MORE INFO: countrythunder.com

Windy City Smokeout Pairs Chicago’s Best BBQ and Live Music

Does anything pair better with country music and summertime than barbecue? What started as a small, parking-lot party-type concert has grown into one of Chicago’s most well-known country and BBQ festivals. 2024 will host headliners Thomas Rhett, Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson, and Carrie Underwood.

Why is it a must-see? More than 20 live acts and BBQ from the world’s best pitmasters are nestled into the backdrop of the Chicago skyline and craft cocktails to boot (whiskey mules and smoked pulled pork, anyone?).

Running July 11-14, the four-day festival is held in the parking lot of Chicago’s United Center, with tickets ranging from four- and single-day passes, for general, VIP, Platinum, and Cabana access (hello, VIP air-conditioned bathrooms). Head to their website for tickets which, in our opinion, are worth the upgrade if you can swing it.

MORE INFO: windycitysmokeout.com

Whiskey Myers Grinding Through Their 2024 Tour Season

Whiskey Myers may have only recently kicked off their acoustic, Whiskey Myers & Friends tour, but they already added a slew of new shows to the lineup.

The self-proclaimed genre-bending country rock band is hitting the road with some heavy-hitting opening acts (think Hank Williams, Jr., Blackberry Smoke, Vincent Neil Emerson, and more) that will rotate throughout the tour. The group also will make a few pit stops at music festivals all over the states, including the Wiggy Thump Festival in their home state Texas later in April. 

Get the official tickets at their website. We are happy to report they won’t break the bank, but we do predict they will go fast!

MORE INFO: whiskeymyers.com

Rock the Ocean’s TORTUGA Music Festival: Beach, Music, Ocean Conservation

The best “toes in the sand” music festival, Tortuga, is back this year, running April 5-7, on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Featuring headliners Lainey Wilson, HARDY, and Jadon Aldean, Tortuga is three days jam-packed with live music featuring 17 artists on three stages, literally on the beach with the backdrop of the ocean. 

Tortuga is more than the music. It started as the first cause-based, large-scale music festival focused on ocean conservation, hosting Rock the Ocean’s Conservation Village including over 100 nonprofit organizations to educate fans on ocean conservation. 

Tickets can be purchased as a single or 3-days with general admission and VIP packages available.

MORE INFO: ​​tortugamusicfestival.com

Two Step Inn Returns to the Austin Area

The Two Step Inn music festival, produced by Austin City Limits Festival’s parent company C3 Presents, is back for its second year, hosted in Georgetown’s San Gabriel Park. The two-day festival will host headliners Cody Johnson, Turnpike Troubadours, and Hank Williams, Jr. With more than 35 live acts across four stages, Two Step Inn will also feature all the food and drink fixins.

Why we love it… Two Step Inn touts new and classic country headliners, mixing with the likes of Ludacris, and what they term “Country Curious DJs.” Literally something for everyone. 

Ready to get to two-stepping? Head to their website to secure official tickets. General admission and VIP tickets are available (again, think air-conditioned bathrooms, this is Texas we’re talking about). PRO TIP: Buy in “Giddy Up” packs to shave a bit off your bottom line. 

MORE INFO: twostepinn.com

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