The big names of contemporary and throwback country music are once again rounding up at Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence for the annual Country Thunder music festival.
Over 100,000 country and western fans are expected to the festival grounds from Thursday, April 6, to Sunday, April 9, for 10-gallon headliners such as Chris Young, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, and local guy Dierks Bentley.
Ticket prices range from $50 to $75 for a single-day pass to $190 for four-day general admission at the Country Thunder website. There are also SRP packages, and the option to attend a special concert with Robin Zander of Cheap Trick. Camping, parking, and VIP features are also available.
In addition to country stars taking the stage, Country Thunder 2017 also offers retail vendors, partner activities, on-site bars, a food court, and additional entertainers and activities at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row (featuring local country and indie artists) and Electric Thunder (offering activities like karaoke, line dancing, and a silent disco).
For those who just want to hear about the Mainstage already, here is a breakdown of the country artists headlining Country Thunder 2017.
Thursday, April 6
The west Texas-based Brandon Ray will kick off this year’s Country Thunder Music Festival at 3:30 p.m. on the Mainstage. This versatile country singer and guitarist has played Vans Warped Tour, and opened for Fall Out Boy, Switchfoot, and Taylor Swift.
The West Coast meets the south and also meets Nashville when Jackson Michelson takes the stage at 5 p.m. His brand of country stems from college town Corvalis, Oregon, and he's best known for the jam "The Good Life.”
Ladies night starts at 6:30 p.m. when Terri Clark takes the microphone. Hailing from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Clark got her start in Nashville honky-tonk bars, and eventually became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The five-time CCMA Female Vocalist of the Year winner is also the co-host of America’s Morning Show.
The duo behind 2016’s album The Fighters takes over Country Thunder at 8 p.m. LOCASH brings a little bit of dance and R&B — mixed in with contemporary country sounds and an upbeat stage presence.
RCA Records Nashville artist Chris Young closes out the first day of Country Thunder. The Nashville Star… star is an award-winning performer and country artist known for hits like “Sober Saturday Night,” "Who I Am with You," and "Aw Naw." Young's set starts at 10 p.m.
Friday, April 7
Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys
It’s party time when day two starts with Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys at 2:30 p.m. The Michigan-rooted country band will hit the ground running with hits from their sophomore album Good Rhythm, including "These Are The Good Times.”
The female trio Runaway June takes the stage at 3:30 p.m. The band is known for harmonious bluegrass with a modern twist – and one of them happens to be John Wayne’s granddaughter. You’ll hear “Lipstick” and a number of other female-focused country tunes.
The man behind the 2017 album Vaquero, Aaron Watson is an Amarillo, Texas-born, singer with a honky-tonk vibe. Watson has worked with the same producer as George Jones and Alan Jackson, and takes the Mainstage at 5 p.m.
Maddie & Tae
The women behind “Girl In A Country Song,” Maddie & Tae are Dot Records artists ready to take the stage at 6:30 p.m. The lively duo has been seen on The Late Show with David Letterman, and they’re ready to sing about cut-off jeans, men being jerks, bullies, and chafing bikini tops.
Influenced by legends like Dwight Yoakam, George Strait, and Marty Stuart, Jon Pardi is a snarl-style country artist with a West Coast upbringing. Pardi takes the mic at 8 p.m. with hits like “Head Over Boots” from his latest album, California Sunrise.
The final act of the night is Dierks Bentley, who plans to take the stage around 10 p.m. The Grammy-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry is a Valley native and behind hit country albums like Black, RISER, and Home.
Saturday, April 8
This Americana five-piece kicks off the third day of festivities at Canyon Moon Ranch at 2:30 p.m. Coming from Nashville, Dorado puts on quite the harmonious act, vocally and otherwise, and adds in everything from guitar and drums to banjo, fiddle, and mandolin.
A Michigan native and artist behind the well-known duet “Lonely Tonight,” Ryan Hurd is scheduled to start his dive-bar-soundtrack-style country music set at 3:30 p.m.
Randy Rogers Band
This band has been around for more than 15 years, and the Texas-rooted Randy Rogers Band is set to play at 5 p.m. These guys have been produced by the same Nashville legend Buddy Cannon who’s worked with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and RRB is ready to play from 10 albums' worth of music.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Frankie Ballard takes the big stage at 6:30 p.m. The Michigan-grown country artist was inspired by Marty Robbins, which you may notice as he plays songs from albums like “Sunshine & Whiskey" and “El Rio.”
This Arkansas boy is ready to ramp up Country Thunder’s Saturday night with a slot full of hits like "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" and "Gimmie That Girl."
Singer and songwriter Thomas Rhett is closing out day three of Country Thunder with welcome jams like "Make Me Wanna," "Die a Happy Man," and "T-Shirt." The son of country legend Rhett Akins is scheduled for 10 p.m.
Sunday, April 9
Established in 2012, LANCO – short for Lancaster & Company – is an Arista Nashville group of country artists based out of Nashville. These guys will be playing some new singles off the album Greatest Love Story at 2:30 p.m.
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The brother behind the song "Make You Mine" takes the stage at 4 p.m. High Valley has played in the Grand Ole Opry, and will be kicking out hits from their new album Dear Life.
The Oak Ridge Boys
Once 5:30 p.m. comes around, the Oak Ridge Boys hit the stage with their brand of Southern gospel, and famed songs like "Elvira" and “Jonah.” The band was originally established in 1943 in Knoxville, so get ready for a set of classic country.
The guy behind “"A Guy Walks Into a Bar," Tyler Farr is ready to play for that Sunday night crowd at 7 p.m. The Missouri-based country star got into music when Mom married the touring guitarist for George Jones, so he knows his stuff.
Mr. Stefani is ready to close out Country Thunder 2017 with a full set of jams at 9 p.m. The Voice personality and Grammy Award nominee (seven times to be exact), Blake Shelton will shell out his version of bro-country that’s been in production since 2001. Expect some singles off his latest album If I’m Honest, and way more.