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Your Guide to Country Thunder Arizona 2022: Tickets, Schedule, Parking, and More

Attendees of Country Thunder.
Attendees of Country Thunder. Leavitt Wells

Country Thunder Arizona’s promoters are making up for lost time. The 2022 version of the annual music festival in Florence is happening this weekend, some six months after last year’s edition was staged in October 2021.

Like other scheduling quirks in the local concert scene the past two years, it’s a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not that Country Thunder Arizona fans are complaining, since they’re getting to attend two editions of the popular festival, which draws tens of thousands of people, in less than a year.

The 2022 version of Country Thunder Arizona – which runs from Thursday, April 7, to Sunday, April 10, on the grounds of Florence’s Canyon Moon Ranch, will offer all of its usual attractions and amenities. The lineup of country music artists and acts will be just as star-studded as ever, as names like Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Riley Green, Chase Rice, Tracy Lawrence, and controversial artist Morgan Wallen are all scheduled to perform.

What else should you expect at the four-day festival, pardner? Read on for our complete guide to Country Thunder Arizona, y’all.

When and Where Is Country Thunder Arizona 2022?

This year’s festival is scheduled to take place from Thursday, April 7, to Sunday, April 11, at Canyon Moon Ranch, 20585 East Water Way in Florence.

What Are the Hours?

It varies, depending on which part of the festival you’re talking about. Will call and Canyon Moon Ranch’s front gate will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Wednesday, April 6, to Sunday, April 11. Campgrounds will open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The festival’s performance area (or “bowl”) is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. daily from Thursday through Sunday.

How Much Is Admission?

If you’re buying online, general admission tickets are $175 for Saturday and $150 for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Four-day general admission passes are $275 for the entire four-day festival. 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 for Thursday and Sunday only and are $300 each day.

(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.
click to enlarge Thunder buddies at last year's festival. - COUNTRY THUNDER
Thunder buddies at last year's festival.
Country Thunder

How Much is Camping?

Officially, campground spots at this year’s Country Thunder have been sold out for weeks. That said, you might be able to find them for sale on Craigslist or through local Facebook groups. (Again, the festival frowns on this practice.)

Are There Age Limits?

Nope. Country Thunder Arizona is open to cowboys and cowgirls of all ages. Children 10 and under can get into the festival bowl and GA areas with a paid adult. You have to be of legal drinking age to buy and consume alcohol, though, and the party-friendly campgrounds are only open to those 18 and over.

What’s the Weather Going to Be Like?

It will be sunny during the entire run of Country Thunder with scattered clouds on Saturday and windy conditions on Sunday. Temperatures will be in the 90s all four days. In other words, it's going to be nice festival weather, but dress accordingly and bring sun protection (including cowboy hats).

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 their, 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/Water Way and follow the signs.

Will There Be Shuttle Service to Country Thunder?

You bet, pardner. Stagecoach Express Shuttle will offer round-trip service to the festival from two east Valley locations all four days. Pick-up and drop-off locations will be at the Walmart at 240 West Baseline Road in Mesa and the Goodwill at 185 West Apache Trail in Apache Junction. Departure times are at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Fares for the first person are $45 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 $30 per vehicle, per day, and weekend passes covering all four days of the festival are $60 per vehicle. No overnight parking is allowed and you are required to have your car out by 2:30 a.m. each night or it will be ticketed and towed. No exceptions.

All other parking options are sold out.
click to enlarge Don't forget your cowboy hats, y'all. - COUNTRY THUNDER
Don't forget your cowboy hats, y'all.
Country Thunder

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. Bag checks will take place at each entrance and 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.

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.

Will There Be Alcohol?

You bet. (Let’s face it, a country music festival without booze or beer ain’t a country music festival at all.) Bars will be scattered throughout the festival grounds and a beer hall will be set up on the north end. Anyone 21 and over will need a wristband to purchase adult beverages, which can be obtained at a pair of ID check stations located next to the festival’s east and west entrances.

What About Water?

Each attendee will be allowed to bring in one factory-sealed bottle of water. Vendors will also have water available for purchase.
click to enlarge A map of the festival grounds (click the upper-right corner to enlarge). - COUNTRY THUNDER
A map of the festival grounds (click the upper-right corner to enlarge).
Country Thunder

What’s All This I Hear About Partying in the Campgrounds?

One of the more infamous aspects of Country Thunder is the massive campground where festival patrons kick back and party it up (sometimes into the wee hours) when they aren't watching performances. Themed camps are also popular. As we mentioned, every campsite is officially sold out but there are spaces available for purchase on Craigslist. Ticketholders who are 18 and older can access es, though you’re required to purchase a four-day pass and be over 18 years old.

What's the Schedule for Country Thunder Arizona?

The music starts a few hours after the festival bowl opens each day on both the main stage (which will feature headlining acts and high-profile recording artists) and the Copperhead stage (which offers both local and touring country bands and performers). Here’s the complete schedule.

Thursday, April 7:

Main Stage
5 p.m. – Nolan Sotillo
6:30 p.m. – Lindsay Ell
8 p.m. – Randy Houser
10 p.m. – Riley Green

Copperhead Stage
4 p.m. – Salt River String Band
5:30 p.m. – Young Country
7 p.m. – Ryan Sims
9 p.m. – Kaylee Rose
11:30 p.m. – Robby Johnson

Friday, April 8:

Main Stage
2 p.m. – Jackson Dean
3:30 p.m. – James Barker Band
5 p.m. – Phil Vassar
6:30 p.m. – Michael Ray
8 p.m. – Gabby Barrett
10 p.m. – Blake Shelton

Copperhead Stage
2:30 p.m. – Parker Jenkins Band
4 p.m. – Britnee Kellogg
5:30 p.m. – Bailey Callahan
7 p.m. – 10th & Main
9 p.m. – Steven Cade
11:30 p.m. – Caiden Brewer

Saturday, April 9:

Main Stage
2 p.m. – Tyler Braden
3:30 p.m. – Mackenzie Porter
5 p.m. – Blanco Brown
6:30 p.m. – Tracy Lawrence
8 p.m. – Hardy
10 p.m. – Morgan Wallen

Copperhead Stage
2:30 p.m. – Caiden Brewer
4 p.m. – Palmer Anthony
5:30 p.m. – Shari Rowe
7 p.m. – Jaty and the Black Stallions
9 p.m. – Tyler Braden
11:30 p.m. – Drew Cooper
click to enlarge Spotted in the crowd at last year's festival. - COUNTRY THUNDER
Spotted in the crowd at last year's festival.
Country Thunder
Sunday, April 10:

Main Stage
2:30 p.m. – Maggie Rose
4 p.m. – Sawyer Brown
5:30 p.m. – Jameson Rodgers
7 p.m. – Chase Rice
9 p.m. – Florida Georgia Line

Copperhead Stage
4:30 p.m. – The Pompous Beggars
6 p.m. – Ryan and the Renegades
8 p.m. – Drew Cooper
10:30 p.m. – Nathan Dean and the Damn Band

What Else Can I Do at Country Thunder?

In addition to the music, there's also the “Electric Thunder” tent, which will be set up in the middle of the festival grounds. In years past, it’s featured its own lineup of local musicians, DJs, and entertainment (as well as activities like line-dancing lessons) throughout each day and long into the night.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.