Things to Do

Country Thunder Arizona 2019 Set Times, Tickets, and More

Country Thunder attendees.
Country Thunder attendees. Leavitt Wells
The article was originally published on April 11, 2019.

Cowboys and cowgirls of the Valley, get ready for the biggest country and western event of the springtime. The boot-scootin’ bacchanal known as Country Thunder Arizona returns this weekend and will serve up its usual mix of down-home thrills, partying action, and plenty of performances.

The four-day music festival is a staple of the spring season, brings more than 100,000 people to the Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence, and typically features a lineup of country superstars and local artists, as well as an over-the-top party vibe.

The 2019 edition of Country Thunder Arizona runs from Thursday, April 11, to Sunday, April 14, and boasts a lineup that includes main stage sets by Trace Adkins, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw, Clay Walker, Dierks Bentley, Chris Stapleton, and Marty Stuart. Local favorites like Harry Luge, A Boy Named Sioux, Lauren Mayell, The Cole Trains, and others will also perform.

In addition to all the music, Country Thunder will also include plenty of celebrating 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 line-dancing competitions to DJs spinning up EDM and country remixes.

If you'd like to know what else is planned, check out the following guide to Country Thunder Arizona 2019, which features everything you need to know about the festival.

click to enlarge The scene at Country Thunder Arizona. - LEAVITT WELLS
The scene at Country Thunder Arizona.
Leavitt Wells
When and where is the festival? Country Thunder Arizona 2019 takes place from Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, on the grounds of Canyon Moon Ranch, 20585 East Price Station Road in Florence.

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 and at noon, Friday through Sunday. Everything shuts down each night at 2 a.m.

How much are tickets? General admission is $75 per person per day or $190 per person for all four days of the festival. Reserved seating is sold out, but you can bring blankets and soft lawn chairs to sit on the general admission viewing area.

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. (Click here to activate your wristband.)

Are there any age limits? Country Thunder Arizona is open to folks of all ages, and children 12 and younger can get in free. You have to be 21 and over to drink and the campground area is only open to those 18 or older.

What’s the weather going to be like? Expect plenty of sunshine and cooler-than-normal weather all four days of the festival. Temperatures will be in the high 70s or low 80s during the day and in the 50s after dark.

How do I get to the festival? 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.

Will there be shuttle service to the festival? Stagecoach Express Shuttle will offer round-trip bus service from Mesa and Apache Junction all four days of Country Thunder Arizona. Fares are $35 to $39, depending on the pickup location. Check out the website for a trip schedule and departure points.

What’s the parking situation going to be like?
Parking passes can be purchased on the Country Thunder website for each day or the entire festival.

Is there 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.

click to enlarge Murica' is a big thing at Country Thunder. - LEAVITT WELLS
Murica' is a big thing at Country Thunder.
Leavitt Wells
What's it going to be like 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.

Will there be food and 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.

What about 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.

click to enlarge Brett Eldredge will help kick off the first day of Country Thunder 2019. - COURTESY OF ATLANTIC RECORDS
Brett Eldredge will help kick off the first day of Country Thunder 2019.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
What's the lineup and schedule for the festival? 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 11
Gates open at 2:30 p.m.

Main Stage
3:30 p.m. – The Cole Trains
5 p.m. – Harry Luge
6:30 p.m. – Williams & Ree
8 p.m. – Trace Adkins
10 p.m. – Brett Eldredge

Copperhead Stage
5:30 p.m. – Ryan and the Renegades
7 p.m. – A Boy Names Sioux
8:30 p.m. – The Cole Trains
11:30 p.m. – Harry Luge

Electric Thunder
3 p.m. – Line Dancing
4 p.m. – Line Dancing
5 p.m. – Dancing With the Thunder Qualifying Round
11:30 p.m. – Lucy Voll, David Fanning & Hish

Friday, April 12
Gates open at noon

Main Stage
2 p.m. – Scooter Brown Band
3:30 p.m. – Abby Anderson
5 p.m. – Brandon Lay
6:30 p.m. – Craig Campbell
8 p.m. – Clay Walker
10 p.m. – Tim McGraw

Copperhead Stage
4 p.m. – The Cole Trains
5:30 p.m. – Lauren Mayell
7 p.m. – Scooter Brown Band
8:30 p.m. – A Boy Named Sioux
11:30 p.m. – Harry Luge

Electric Thunder
1:30 p.m. – Country Flow Yoga with Kim
3 p.m. – Line Dancing
4 p.m. – Line Dancing
5 p.m. – Dancing With the Thunder Qualifying Round
11:30 p.m. – Lucy Voll, David Fanning & Hish

click to enlarge Homegrown country superstar (and Valley resident) Dierks Bentley. - JIM LOUVAU
Homegrown country superstar (and Valley resident) Dierks Bentley.
Jim Louvau
Saturday, April 13
Gates open at noon

Main Stage

2 p.m. – Hunter Brothers
3:30 p.m. – Austin Burke
5 p.m. – High Valley
6:30 p.m. – Lonestar
8 p.m. – Brothers Osborne
10 p.m. – Dierks Bentley

Copperhead Stage
4 p.m. – Lauren Mayell
5:30 p.m. – Jessa
7 p.m. – Drew Cooper
8:30 p.m. – Ryan and the Renegades
11:30 p.m. – Harry Luge

Electric Thunder
1:30 p.m. – Country Flow Yoga with Kim
3 p.m. – Line Dancing
4 p.m. – Dancing With the Thunder Finals
11:30 p.m. – Lucy Voll, David Fanning & Hish

Sunday, April 14

Main Stage
2:15 p.m. – Josh Abbott Band
4 p.m. – Restless Heart
6:30 p.m. – Morgan Evans
7 p.m. – Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
9 p.m. – Chris Stapleton

Copperhead Stage
4:30 p.m. – Julia Rizik
6 p.m. – Drew Cooper
7:30 p.m. – Matt Farris
10:30 p.m. – Harry Luge

Electric Thunder
1:30 p.m. – Country Flow Yoga with Kim
3 p.m. – Line Dancing
4 p.m. – Line Dancing
5 p.m. – Dancing With the Thunder Performance
11:30 p.m. – Lucy Voll, David Fanning & Hish

What's Electric Thunder going to be like? 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.

What should I 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.

What shouldn’t I 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, or selfie sticks.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.