The four-day event — which runs from Thursday, April 13, to Sunday, April 16 — is the largest country music festival in the state.
According to Megan Benoit, a Country Thunder spokesperson, promoters are expecting a big crowd at this year’s festival — and they’re coming from everywhere to attend.
“It definitely goes beyond Phoenix and this specific area,” Benoit says. “We see a lot of people come from California or around the Southwest, which is cool. Plus, there are people coming from different countries. I’ve gotten messages from someone coming all the way from Brazil. So it's pretty cool to have that international audience.”
And they’ll be coming for an extended weekend of performances by more than a dozen big-name recording artists, including Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, Luke Bryan, Cody Johnson, Bailey Zimmerman, Midland, Jackson Dean, Chase Matthew, Mackenzie Carpenter, and Ashley McBryde.
What else should you expect at the four-day festival, pardner? Read on for our complete guide to Country Thunder Arizona 2023.
When and Where Is Country Thunder Arizona 2023?
This year’s festival is scheduled to take place from Thursday, April 13, to Sunday, April 16, at Canyon Moon Ranch, 20585 East Water Way in Florence.
What Are the Hours?
The will-call booth and Canyon Moon Ranch’s front gate will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Wednesday, April 12, to Sunday, April 16. Campgrounds will open at 9 a.m. daily.
Meanwhile, the festival’s main area (or “bowl”), which hosts its various stages and attractions, is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. daily on Thursday through Sunday. Performance times vary per day. The Electric Thunder tent will host late-night parties from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly from Thursday through Saturday, and from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 16.
How Much Is Admission?
If you’re buying online, single-day general admission tickets are $175 per day, and weekend general admission tickets, which include entry for all four days of the festival, are $330 each. Both options will get you into the festival bowl, general admission areas, and the campgrounds, but offer no perks beyond that. If you’re planning to attend, better scoop some up quickly, as single-day tickets tend to sell out.
Tickets for the VIP-style “Platinum Experience” (which offers the chance to view performances from an exclusive skybox to view performances, as well as access to luxury restrooms and a private bar) are available are $300 per day or $600 for all four days of Country Thunder.
(Note: Prices increase if you purchase your tickets at the on-site Country Thunder box office.)
Reserved seating tickets are officially sold out, but you might be able to buy some through various resellers or on Craigslist. (Members of various Country Thunder Arizona groups on Facebook are also known to sell their unwanted tickets). Keep in mind, though, prices will be a bit steeper and the festival doesn’t endorse any of these options.
Is Camping Still Available?
Officially, no. Campground spots at this year’s festival have been sold out for months. While it's possible to find spots available on Craigslist or elsewhere, Country Thunder’s organizers also tend to frown on the practice.
Are There Age Limits?
Nope. “Country Thunder is open to all ages and everyone is welcome to attend,” Benoit says. Kids 10 and under can get into the festival for free with a paid adult. You have to be of legal drinking age to buy and consume alcohol, though.
What’s the Weather Going to Be Like?
There will be clear skies and sunny weather all four days of the festival. Temperatures will be in the high 80s or low 90s when the sun’s out but will dip into the 50s after dark. In other words, it's going to be nice festival weather, but dress accordingly and bring sun protection (including cowboy hats) for the daytime and a hoodie or light jacket for the nighttime.
How Do I Get to the Festival?
Anyone coming from the Valley or Tucson is in for a long haul. If you’re coming from the Valley, take the eastbound U.S. Highway 60 (or Superstition Freeway) for approximately 40 miles until it ends. From there, continue on for another 13 miles until you reach Florence Junction, and then head south along State Highway 79 for 17 miles. Hang a left at Price Station Road and follow the signs.
Will There Be Shuttle Service to Country Thunder?
Yes. Stagecoach Express Shuttle is offering round-trip service to the festival from two east Valley destinations throughout the weekend. “The shuttles are always a convenient option for people who don’t want to drive to Country Thunder,” Benoit says.
Stagecoach’s shuttles will depart from the Walmart at 240 West Baseline Road in Mesa at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m., and from the Goodwill at 185 West Apache Trail in Apache Junction at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Fares for the first person are $49 from the Walmart, $39 from the Goodwill, and $23 for each additional person from either location. More information is available here.
Where Can I Park at Country Thunder?
Single-day parking passes are $25 per vehicle, per day, and weekend passes covering all four days of the festival are $60 per vehicle. If you'd like to park overnight, an additional $80 pass is required.
What Will Getting Inside the Festival Involve?
A government-issued photo ID is required to pick up tickets from will call. There will be entrances for general admission patrons on both the east and west ends of the festival. A separate entrance for ADA and reserved/VIP seating will be on the northwest side. Security will conduct bag checks and use a metal detector wand on all patrons upon entry.
What’s Country Thunder Arizona’s Bag Policy?
According to Benoit, security will 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. “So you can bring in a small clutch, wallet, or fanny pack into the festival, she says.
What Else Is Allowed at Country Thunder?
Sun protection like hats, sunblock, and sunglasses are allowed (and highly recommended) at the festival. Beyond that, you can bring in cellphones (make sure they’re fully charged), beach towels, fanny packs, non-professional or disposable cameras, and lighters. Blankets, soft lawn chairs, and strollers are also permitted but will be searched upon entry. Prescription medication is okay (as long as the name on the bottle matches your government-issued photo ID), as are over-the-counter meds (provided they’re new and factory sealed).
What Isn’t Allowed?
Weapons like firearms or anything with a blade is forbidden at Country Thunder. Laser pointers, fireworks, noisemakers, illegal substances, selfie sticks, drones, backpacks or large bags, glass containers, monopods or tripods, umbrellas, laptops, radios, outside food and drink, chairs with canopies, and non-service animals are also strictly verboten.
Will Food and Drinks Be Available?
Of course. A food court will be set up on the south side of the festival grounds. You can purchase food and drink tickets or use your credit/debit card. When it comes to alcohol, Benoit says there will be multiple bars, a separate beer garden, and a space for “Platinum Experience” ticketholders called The Oasis. “The beer hall is our big bar tent and it's got seating there,” she says. “And then for our premium ticket holders, we have an area called The Oasis, and it's totally covered and it's a little getaway from the crowds and the sun.”
What About Water?
Each attendee will be allowed to bring in one factory-sealed bottle of water, as well as refillable plastic and aluminum bottles. Benoit says a free refill station will be available near the festival’s east entrance. Vendors will also have water available for purchase.
What Else Can I Do at Country Thunder?
In addition to two stages of performances, Country Thunder will also feature two carnival-style thrill rides, The Blackout and The Speedride. Benoit says each will operate during festival hours and will require an additional fee to ride. Tickets are $10 for The Blackout and $15 for The Speedride.
What’s Electric Thunder?
It’s a nightclub-like area inside an enormous tent located on the east side of the festival bowl. During the daytime, it will host line-dance lessons and dance competitions or will operate as a space where attendees can hang out. At night, the tent will feature DJ Slim McGraw spinning up country, rock, and dance music from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly from Thursday through Saturday, and from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 16.
What’s the Schedule for Country Thunder Arizona 2023?
It's going to be busy, to say the least. This year’s headliners will perform on the main stage while the Copperhead stage will host sets by country, Americana, and acoustic musicians and bands from around Arizona. Here’s a full rundown of who’s playing during all four days of the festival
Thursday, April 13:
3:30 p.m. — 10th & Main
5:30 p.m. — Parker Jenkins Band
7 p.m. — Jim Bachmann
9 p.m. — Mark Miller Band
11:30 p.m. — 10th & Main
3:30 p.m. — Shane Profitt
5 p.m. — Tracy Byrd
6:30 p.m. — Parmalee
8 p.m. — Midland
10 p.m. — Jon Pardi
Friday, April 14
2 p.m. — Austin Lindstrom
3:30 p.m. — Ryan and the Renegrades
5:30 p.m. — Siena
7 p.m. — Ryan and the Renegrades
9 p.m. — Jaty and the Black Stallions
11:30 p.m. — Nathan Dean and the Damn Band
2 p.m. — Josh Ross
3:30 p.m. — Mackenzie Carpenter
5 p.m. — Nate Smith
6:30 p.m. — Lonestar
8 p.m. — Ashley McBryde
10 p.m. — Luke Bryan
2 p.m. — The Reklaws
3:30 p.m. — Hailey Whitters
5 p.m. — Randall King
6:30 p.m. — Jackson Dean
8 p.m. — Parker McCollum
10 p.m. — Cody Johnson
2 p.m. — Bobby Joe Bell
3:30 p.m. — 10th & Main
5:30 p.m. — Caiden Brewer
7 p.m. — 10th & Main
9 p.m. — Shari Rowe
11:30 p.m. — Drew Cooper
Sunday, April 16:
2:30 p.m. — John Morgan
4 p.m. — Chase Matthew
5:30 p.m. — Bailey Zimmerman
7 p.m. — Kip Moore
9 p.m. — Dierks Bentley
2:30 p.m. — Ryan and the Renegades
4:30 p.m. — Pompous Beggars
6 p.m. — Caiden Brewer
8 p.m. — Mark Miller Band
10:30 p.m. — Kianna and the Grant Brothers