Country Thunder attendees at the festival in 2016.EXPAND
Country Thunder attendees at the festival in 2016.
Leavitt Wells

Everything You Need to Know About Country Thunder Arizona 2018

Pack up your boots and blue jeans, y'all. It's almost time to hit the dusty trail and head down to Florence for the biggest country music event of the spring.

The annual Country Thunder music festival will feature four days filled with pickin' and grinnin' by dozens of country music superstars — and plenty of partying.

More than 100,000 people are expected to flock to Canyon Moon Ranch for the event, which runs from Thursday, April 5, through Sunday, April 8. This year's lineup includes main stage sets by Jason Aldean, Tracy Lawrence, Big and Rich, Cody Johnson, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, and Brett Young.

Homegrown country artists like Harry Luge, Laura Walsh, and Sasha McVeigh will also get a chance to shine as well, thanks to the locally focused side stage.

In addition to all the music, Country Thunder will also include plenty of partying taking place in its campground area (which is almost a festival in and of itself) and in the Electric Thunder tent, which will offer everything from swing-dancing battles to DJs spinning up EDM and country remixes.

If you'd like to know what else is planned, check out our comprehensive guide to Country Thunder 2018, which features everything you need to know about the event.

Jason Aldean is scheduled to perform on Friday, April 6, at Country Thunder 2018.EXPAND
Jason Aldean is scheduled to perform on Friday, April 6, at Country Thunder 2018.
Miller Mobley

When and Where: Country Thunder 2018 takes place from Thursday, April 5, through Sunday, April 8, on the grounds of Canyon Moon Ranch, 20585 East Price Station Road in Florence.

Hours: The front gate will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The main festival area will open at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Each night, everything will shut down at 2 a.m.

Prices: General admission tickets are $75 per day or $190 for a four-day pass. Salt River Project customers are eligible for the "SRP Package," which includes two tickets for $120 if you've got a promo code.

Each Country Thunder patron will be issued a wristband with an RFID tag attached and it must be worn at all times while attending the festival.

If you'd like somewhere to sit (as opposed to standing around while checking out performances), reserved seating is available for $300 to $450 per person.

Age Limits: The festival is open to people of all ages, and children 12 and younger can get in free. Those who are 21 and older are the only ones who can drink, obviously. Also, the campground area is only open to the 18-and-over crowd.

Weather: Expect plenty of sunshine and warm days during the festival. Temperatures will be in the high 80s or low 90s during the day and around 60 degrees after dark.

An aerial view of Country Thunder.
An aerial view of Country Thunder.
Leavitt Wells

Getting There: If you're coming from the Valley, you'll have a bit of driving to do, buckaroo. Take the eastbound U.S. Highway 60 (a.k.a. the Superstition Freeway) for approximately 40 miles. Once the freeway ends, continue on for another 25 miles until you reach Florence Junction, then drive south on State Highway 79 for 14 miles. Hang a right at Price Station Road and follow the signs to the festival.

Shuttle service will also be available from two East Valley locations all four days of the festival. Buses will depart from the Walmart at 240 West Baseline Road in Mesa at noon on Thursday and at 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Fares are $39 each way.

You can also catch a lift from the Fry's at 185 East Apache Trail in Apache Junction at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. Rides are also available at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Fare is $35.

Return trips will leave beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Friday and at 8:30 p.m. every other day.

Parking: It's $10 per day, per vehicle or $30 for the entire weekend. There will also be VIP parking, which is closer to the festival, and overnight parking, both of which will run you $66. Full details about each option can be found online.

Getting Inside: There will be entrances for general admission patrons on both the east and west ends of the festival. A separate entrance for reserved seating will be on the northwest side.

Metal detectors and pat-downs will be used at each entrance. Security will only allow clear bags up to 14 inches by 17 inches by 6 inches, one-gallon disposable freezer bags, and small clutches no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches.

Lauren Alaina is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 5, at Country Thunder 2018.EXPAND
Lauren Alaina is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 5, at Country Thunder 2018.
Courtesy of UMG Nashville

Daily Lineups and Schedule: Performances begin an hour after the main festival area opens each day. The main stage will be located along the western edge of the festival grounds. Meanwhile, the second stage is situated next to the food court along the southern edge of the grounds and the "Electric Thunder" is located toward the east side.

Here's a breakdown of when and where each artist is playing at Country Thunder 2018.

Thursday, April 5
(Gates open at 2:30 p.m.)

Main Stage:
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: A Boy Named Sioux
5 to 6 p.m.: Bryan White
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Adam Sanders
8 to 9:30 p.m.: Lauren Alaina
10 to 11:30 p.m.: Cole Swindell

Side Stage:
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Drew Cooper
7:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Zona Road
8:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Matt Farris
11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Harry Luge

Electric Thunder:
3 to 4 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
4 to 5 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Dancing With The Thunder
9:30 to 10 p.m.: David Fanning & Lucy Voll
11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.: DJ DU

Friday, April 6
(Gates open at 1 p.m.)

Main Stage:
2 to 3 p.m.: Harry Luge
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Lukas Nelson
5 to 6 p.m.: Neal McCoy
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Drew Baldridge
8 to 9:30 p.m.: Tracy Lawrence
10 to 11:30 p.m.: Jason Aldean

Side Stage:
4 to 5 p.m.: Laura Walsh
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Cole Trains
7 to 8 p.m.: Sasha McVeigh
8:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Drew Cooper
11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Harry Luge

Electric Thunder:
3 to 4 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
4 to 5 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Dancing With The Thunder
9:30 to 10 p.m.: David Fanning & Lucy Voll
11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.: DJ DU

Cody Johnson is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 7, at Country Thunder 2017.
Cody Johnson is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 7, at Country Thunder 2017.
Courtesy of Red 11 Music

Saturday, April 7
(Gates open at 1 p.m.)

Main Stage:
2 to 3 p.m.: Runaway June
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Michael Ray
5 to 6 p.m.: Williams & Ree
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Cody Johnson
8 to 9:30 p.m.: Big & Rich
10 to 11:30 p.m.: Toby Keith

Side Stage:
4 to 5 p.m.: Matt Farris
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Tom Wagner
7 to 8 p.m.: Drew Cooper
8:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Austin Burke
11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Harry Luge

Electric Thunder:
3 to 4 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
4 to 5 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Dancing With The Thunder
9:30 to 10 p.m.: David Fanning & Lucy Voll
11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.: DJ DU

Sunday, April 8
(Gates open at 1:30 p.m.)

Main Stage:
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Michael Tyler
4 to 5 p.m.: Morgan Wallen
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Lindsay Ell
7 to 7:30 p.m.: Brett Young
9 to 10:30 p.m.: Luke Bryan

Side Stage:
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Tom Wagner
6 to 7 p.m.: Cole Trains
7 to 8:30 p.m.: A Boy Named Sioux

Electric Thunder:
3 to 4 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
4 to 5 p.m.: Line Dance Lessons
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Dancing With The Thunder
9:30 to 10 p.m.: David Fanning & Lucy Voll
11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.: DJ DU

Murica' is a big thing at Country Thunder.EXPAND
Murica' is a big thing at Country Thunder.
Leavitt Wells

Camping: One of the hallmarks of Country Thunder is the massive campground where festival patrons kick back and party it up when they aren't catching all the performances.

Officially, every campsite available through the Country Thunder website is completely sold out at this point. Unofficially, however, there are spaces available for purchase on Craigslist for anywhere from $350 to $1,000.

If you manage to get a spot, keep in mind that you'll also need a ticket to the festival itself to attend. There are plenty of rules in regards to conduct and noise while camping, all of which can be found here.

Food & Drink: A variety of eats, ranging from corn dogs and deep-fried Oreos to more health-conscious fare, can be purchased at the food court on the south side of the grounds. When it comes to alcohol, there will be five full bars located throughout the festival and a craft beer garden near the skyboxes.

Water: Patrons can each bring one unopened bottle of water into the festival. Vendors will also have water available for purchase, and a free refill station will be available.

Going for broke on the mechanical bull at last year's Country Thunder.EXPAND
Going for broke on the mechanical bull at last year's Country Thunder.
Leavitt Wells

Mechanical Bull: If you'd like to test your mettle (or star in your own version of Urban Cowboy), a mechanical bull will be available for those who'd like a go at it. And don't worry, they'll have plenty of padding for when you get bucked off.

Electric Thunder: Just as in years past, the Electric Thunder tent will serve as an oasis from the heat and offer its own bar and a variety of entertainment throughout each day and long into the night.

Line dancing lessons will take place daily with hourlong sessions at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. that are open to anyone and everyone, regardless of skill level. There will also be live music in the evening and DJs spinning dance tunes from 11:30 p.m. until 2 a.m.

The tent will also host the new “Dancing With the Thunder” country swing-dancing contest. Competitions will be held each day and first prize includes custom belt buckles, access to side stage seating, artist meet-and-greets, gift cards, and tickets and camping passes to next year's festival. (For more details and to sign up for the contest, check out this page.)

Bring: For starters, a decent amount of sun protection, including hats, sunglasses, and sunblock. You'll also want to bring your ID, a fully charged phone, and comfortable footwear (be it boots or otherwise).

Here's what else is allowed: blankets, beach towels, sealed packs of cigarettes, lighters, fanny packs, soft lawn chairs, and strollers.

Don’t Bring: Forget about bringing anything dangerous (including fireworks, drugs, and weapons) or disruptive (like laser devices, noisemakers, and drones) into the festival.

Other items that won't make it past security include outside food or alcohol, hard chairs, large bags, bottles and cans, selfie sticks, and promotional material (save your demos and mixtapes for someone else).

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >