By Ed Masley Arizona Republic
Country Thunder Arizona will finally return to Canyon Moon Ranch near Florence for a four-day weekend kicking off Thursday, Oct. 14, with headlining sets by Old Dominion, Dustin Lynch, Luke Combs and Eric Church.
The country music festival, originally planned for April 2020, was rescheduled three times due to COVID-19.
The last time Country Thunder came to Arizona, in 2019, more than 140,000 people attended over the course of four days, for an average of 35,000 a day, including fans, staff, working personnel, law enforcement, press and vendors.
With that in mind, it couldn't hurt to be prepared before you head into that sea of people.
Here's a look at everything you need to know before you go.
Country Thunder Arizona and COVID-19:What to know about health and safety protocols
Country Thunder Arizona 2021 basics
Campgrounds will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The front gate and will call will open at 9 a.m. daily Wednesday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 17.
The front gate will close at 10 p.m. daily to incoming traffic. You can leave if you want, but you will not be able to enter the campgrounds after the gate is closed.
The festival bowl, as they call the area where headlining artists perform, is open at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. It opens at noon on Friday through Sunday.
The bowl will close at 2 a.m. each night.
Children 12 and under are allowed in for free in the general admission areas when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
If you need to pick up an item (or items) at Will Call, it opens at 9 a.m. daily from Wednesday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 17.
You will, however, need a valid government-issued ID to pick up items from Will Call. The name on your ID must match the name listed on the order.
Country Thunder Arizona ticket info
Tickets are available online at countrythunder.com/az
There will also be tickets available for purchase at the gate, but Country Thunder recommends purchasing online ahead of time as it's cheaper.
General admission tickets are $99 a day or $200 for a four-day pass.
Reserved seating is sold out.
How do you get to Country Thunder?
Practice. (Sorry, some jokes can not be avoided).
Country Thunder's street address is 20585 E. Water Way, Florence. But it's even easier to just type "Country Thunder Arizona" into any map app on your phone, and it will get you there.
It's 67 miles from downtown Phoenix. When I typed the address into my phone on a Friday afternoon, it said it would take 70 minutes. It should take considerably longer once you've factored in the Country Thunder traffic, so prepare for that.
Parking at the festival
If you plan on parking at your campsite, a vehicle parking pass was included with the purchase of each campsite. You can purchase one Extra Vehicle Pass per campsite for $65.
If your party requires more parking than that, you can purchase additional Weekend Overnight Parking, and they'll watch your car for $80. A Weekend Overnight Parking Pass is good from 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, through 3 p.m. Monday, October 18.
If you are driving and not staying overnight, you will need to purchase a day pass.
Single-day and weekend passes are available.
If you’re not parking on a campsite but are parking overnight, you’ll need to purchase a weekend reserved or weekend overnight parking pass.
A Weekend Day Parking pass is $30. It's valid from Thursday, Oct. 14, through Sunday, Oct. 17. A Single Day Parking pass is $15.
With either pass, your vehicle must be removed each day by 2:30 a.m. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed.
If you're driving in and out each day and looking to cut down on walking, Weekend Reserved will put you closer to the entrance for $80. You cannot park overnight in the Reserved Parking area.
Parking at Country Thunder:
Yes, there's a clear bag policy
The Clear Bag Policy is in effect. You may bring a clear plastic bag up to 14" x 17" x 6" into the festival area. You may also bring a one-gallon disposable freezer bag and a small clutch no larger than 4.5" x 6.5."
Camera bags, large purses, backpacks, and coolers are forbidden in the festival area.
If you're camping, you can still bring larger bags that can't be seen through to the campsite, but you must adhere to the new policy when you pass through security to the stages.
Upholstered household furniture is not allowed in the campgrounds. If you bring any of this furniture to the festival site, you will be fined $100.
Arrangements can be made to have that fine returned by removing the offending furniture.
These are the other Country Thunder Arizona campsite rules
You must have a four-day wristband to access any of the camping areas. That means your friends with a single-day pass can't hang out at your campsite.
Your RV must fit inside your camping space (19' x 39' in most campsites; 25' x 45' in the Premier campground).
Quiet hours are from 2-7 a.m. Generators and music must be silenced during those hours.
No fires allowed (including fire pits and tiki torches). Gas and charcoal grills are OK.
If you bring dogs, you need to clean up after them and keep them leashed.
You must leave your campsite by the end of the day Monday.
No golf carts or ATVs. You can bring a motorcycle, but you'll need a vehicle pass for that.
No reckless driving or "mudding." Either will result in your eviction.
Camping at Country Thunder:Camping or glamping, what you need to know to enjoy your stay
Keeping Country Thunder campsites clean
Campers are encouraged to bring trash bags to the festival, pick up their trash and keep their campsite clean.
Bags should be placed in the large dumpsters found at the end of each camping row.
Owners of trash-filled sites will be subject to a fine and may have renewal rights suspended.
Additional trash bags are available from campground staff or at the campground office.
What you can bring into the bowl
Sunblock (highly recommended)
Lighters (smoking allowed in designated areas)
Blanket (subject to search)
One unopened bottle of water per person
Fanny packs (not required to be clear)
Digital cameras (non-professional)
Film cameras (non-professional)
Soft lawn chairs (please remove them from the bag so both items can be searched).
Strollers (subject to search and Country Thunder has traditionally recommended bringing small umbrella strollers instead of the large strollers with multiple pockets)
Prescription medication (in the original prescription bottle with a photo identification card that matches the name printed on the prescription. The pills in the bottle must also match the medication/description printed on the prescription.)
Over-the-counter medications (provided they are new and in the original, factory-sealed container)
Required medical equipment (wheelchairs, oxygen bottles, etc.)
Those with additional medical equipment are encouraged to visit the medical building for assistance.
All items and patrons are subject to additional inspection prior to entering the venue.
What you can't bring
Chairs with canopies
Outside food and beverages
Drones, unmanned aircraft devices and remote-controlled vehicles
Alcoholic beverages and illegal substances
Animals (with the exception of service animals for guests with disabilities)
Bags that don't conform to Clear Bag Policy
Bottles, cans, thermoses, and other beverage containers
Professional cameras (DSLR cameras or those with a removable lens)
Laser pointer devices
Promotional/advertising or sale materials not approved by Country Thunder
Seat cushions larger than 15" x 15," or that contain armrests, zippers, pockets, flaps or metal backs.
Selfie sticks, sticks or poles
Monopods and tripods
Weapons (knives, box-cutters, firearms, etc.)
Buying food and alcohol
Food vendors on-site will accept tickets or credit cards.
Alcohol ID wristbands are required to purchase alcoholic drinks.
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