Springtime means wildflowers! Get out of the house! Springtime means outdoor festivals! Get out of the house! (Springtime also means snakes, snakes, snakes, but let's just ignore that for now. Or at least put on some tall boots. Be safe. But still get out of the house.) This weekend merits a little jaunt out of town. Jam-band fans have McDowell Mountain Music Fest, and the hip set has Coachella, but for fans of both kinds of music (country and western), the best direction to travel is "down ways southwestern." Florence, to be precise, for the Country Thunder camping/country music festival. You've probably heard most of the headliners, like Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Cowboy Troy, and Blake Shelton, but dig a little deeper into the lineup, and there are a number of gems, especially among the country artists who haven't crossed over out of the CMT realm yet: Onetime American Idol contestant Kelli Pickler's got a way of belting out tunes that's just as adorable as her name; the Eli Young Band's the type of rising act you'll probably be hearing on the radio a bunch in a year or two. Note that purchasing a campsite doesn't include music festival admission — that's another charge. But if you just wanna go hang out and soak in the atmosphere, hey, that sounds pretty fun, too. Country Thunder's website says that camping's currently at capacity and all overnight passes are sold out, but check back and they may have a waiting list or last-minute cancellations. Plus, there's something called the Electronic Thunder Tent with DJs (Phoenix's P Craze and Iceman) to find the common ground between belt buckles and glowsticks (and probably less E than your typical rave).
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