Country Thunder has a pretty subpar FAQ page, so we created this for all your Country Thunder questions. We want to give you tips and tricks to Country Thunder that you want! Submit your questions by commenting on this page, tweeting us, commenting on Facebook, messaging us on Instagram, or emailing us at RichLivingLessSpending@gmail.com.
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“Can I bring my car to Country Thunder? What parking pass should I buy?”
You need to have a parking pass to drive your car to Country Thunder. You can either buy an overnight parking pass or a day pass (both GA and VIP).
If you buy a day pass, your car MUST be gone by 2:30 am of the following day. So, if you buy a Friday pass, you must move your car by Saturday morning at 2:30 am. Price: $25 for a single day, $47 for GA non-overnight parking valid all weekend, $87 for VIP non-overnight parking valid all weekend.
There are two types of overnight parking passes: extra vehicle passes for campsites and general overnight weekend passes. Keep in mind that just because someone has space on their campsite does not mean that you are allowed to park on it! Campsites are limited to 2 cars/site. You can either buy an extra campsite vehicle pass or a weekend overnight pass. Be prepared to walk to your campsite with the weekend overnight pass! Price: $85.64.
“What’s the easiest way to get to Country Thunder?”
A common question we see on Facebook all the time is, “Is anyone going to Country Thunder after work? Can I hitch a ride???”
It’s definitely worth crowdsourcing your ride to Country Thunder Arizona 2018 if you know enough people going. The problem is people often have different schedules, different campsites, or no room in their car since they are hauling everything for the weekend.
There are a few options to help you get to Country Thunder:
1. Drive & Buy a Parking Pass: You can buy an overnight parking pass. Just because someone has space on their campsite does not mean that you are allowed to park on it! Campsites are limited to 2 cars/site. You can either buy an extra campsite vehicle pass or a weekend overnight pass. Be prepared to walk to your campsite with the weekend overnight pass! Cost: $85.64 (see above for more details)
2. Shuttle: You can shuttle to Country Thunder from Tucson, Mesa, or Apache Junction. This is actually a pretty affordable rate and can be booked in advance! We recommend this to anyone getting there on their own or that only needs a one-way ride. It’s the cheaper roundtrip than a weekend pass! Cost: $39-45 each way. Book your shuttle here: https://stagecoachexpressshuttle.com/ct.php
3. Uber/Lyft: This is an option if you are desperate. This definitely works TO Country Thunder, but be careful about getting back! We’ve had friends that planned on doing this since they had single-day passes, but they ended up needing to hitch a ride back to Phoenix. Cost: $80 each way without surge pricing.
“Can I access the Country Thunder campgrounds with only a single-day pass? I’m only going one day, but I want to hang out with my friends at their campsite.”
Unfortunately, you need a 4-day wristband to access the Country Thunder campground. Of course, there are ways you can try to get around it. In previous years, the way that they were able to enforce this was by having a separate entrance for single-day pass holders. They did not give wristbands to single-day ticket holders, so this meant that once the single-day people went into the venue and exited to hang out with friends, they couldn’t get back in. There are also people that watch to make sure you have a wristband exiting the venue to the campgrounds.
That being said…. I do have a few friends that were able to walk around the venue to the campsites and somehow got into the festival (totally by luck) without anyone checking them for wristbands. You can risk it and hope for the best, but just know you might be wasting your money!
A question we get a lot is, “Can you buy ice at Country Thunder?”
The answer is yes, but it will cost you. 💲
A lot of people go with groups that arrive at different times of the festival. Use these arrival times as ice delivery opportunities! Wednesday/Thursday campers bring the most ice, and Friday arrivals help you load up again. Make sure to have a plan on how to get the ice to your site if you aren’t parking on the campsite. (see Parking above)
Keep one cooler for ice ONLY so that it’s not being opened and closed throughout the week. When your other food/drink coolers need to be topped off, take a bag out of your ice-only cooler.
If you have one, bring a kid’s wagon as a food/gear/ice transport!
I’m all about saving money, but Walmart’s cheapest cooler will just not get you through the weekend. Let’s be honest.. they barely get through an afternoon BBQ. Invest in a Yeti or an Orion. You’ll use it for years! Here are some Yeti-alternatives if you want to save a couple bucks: Best Yeti-Alternative Cooler Review
Once you actually get the cooler, here are some tips on what to put in it: The Spicy Apron – Music Festival Essentials Drinks & Coolers
“Is there good phone service at Country Thunder?”
The answer: “It depends.”
Some years it’s impossible to even send a text; others years, you can FaceTime. Plan on having no cell service, and be surprised if you do! You also have the added twist of people not having fully-charged phones, not being able to describe where they are after a few beers, and just enjoying their time at CT not looking at their phones.
We’ve had the same campsite for years, so that is our meeting spot. Some campsites are easier to find than others, so maybe the Electric Thunder tent would be a better place to meet.
We recommend printing out a map ahead of time so you can find your friends, get to the campsites, and know where you are going. After that, plan on meeting for certain bands. That’s the easiest way to keep track of everyone. 🎶
For example, “Everyone, meet at the Jack Daniels Side Stage before Toby Keith. If you’re not there by the time he starts, you’re on your own!”
Some people also bring portable hotspots to connect to WiFi. Devices from companies like Skyroam allow you to pay for internet by the day and connect multiple devices. Code RLLS gets you 10% off!
“What is the difference between a single-day pass and GA pass at Country Thunder? What is the difference between a GA pass and VIP / RSVD pass at Country Thunder?”
Single-day passes only give you access to the concert for one day. You choose the day, but you only get access to the venue. You will NOT be able to access the campgrounds (see Single-Day Passes & Campsites above).
A GA 4-day wristband at Country Thunder gets you access to the music festival venue Thursday-Sunday and the campgrounds Wednesday-Monday. Inside the venue, you will only have standing/lawn area seating. Contact us at RichLivingLessSpending@gmail.com for discounted GA 4-day wristbands!
A RSVD 4-day wristband at Country Thunder gets you access to the music festival venue seating area for your specifically reserved seat Thursday-Sunday and the campgrounds Wednesday-Monday. In the past, there were also VIP tickets that included a special food & drink area. These are no longer available at Country Thunder.
Now, there is RSVD, RSVD Bronze, RSVD Silver, and RSVD Gold (listed by increasing order of price). RSVD Gold is closest to the stage, and RSVD is farthest from the stage. These wristbands sell out almost immediately, so it’s unlikely you can get one now unless you find one on Craigslist or some other online marketplace.
“Are there enough food options to just eat at Country Thunder? Can I go without packing food for Country Thunder?”
Answer: NO! There are food options at Country Thunder, but they are expensive, have long lines, and offer a limited variety.
Pack your own food… and pack some food with substance! During my cousin’s first year, she and her 6 friends only packed tortilla chips and salsa for the whole weekend. They figured they loved it so much, that was all they needed!
Please help yourself and read this blog for the BEST music festival food. Music Festival Essentials: Food. The Spicy Apron has a lot of other great camping food options as well, but really plan on bringing things that you can eat straight from the cooler or cook up with a portable grill. There are no campfires allowed, so do not plan on using these to cook the 100 hotdogs that you bring. Hard-boiled eggs are a much better option!
In the festival, you can buy fair food. Outside of the festival, there is an expensive food tent. These lines take HOURS after the concert. Plan your munchies ahead of time!
“What do you do about the dust at Country Thunder? My allergies suck!”
We haven’t had very consistent rain this year in Arizona, so we think Country Thunder will be just as dusty as ever. We attend several music festivals in addition to CT, and the most common things we see people use to avoid inhaling dust is a bandana. If you’ve been to CT or Coachella, you know what we mean! They are cheap, easy to get, and a great starting point.
However, bandanas are kind of uncomfortable to wear. They are scratchy and always get tied up in my hair (am I alone in this?). 😎
They are super soft material and aren’t a hassle to take on/off. They have become a total must-have for us at any music festival.
“Will there be showers at Country Thunder? What are the bathrooms like at Country Thunder? How do I get clean at Country Thunder?”
Yes, there are showers that you can pay for. It usually costs a couple bucks to use, and is only ok. Bring a swimsuit if you plan on using this option. Bring travel shampoo/conditioner/body wash if you want to use your own. There are often sponsors handing out free samples as well.
The bathrooms get NASTY towards the end of each night and will make you feel dirty. The later in the day, the worse the port-a-potty situation. They are cleaned each day and actually are decent in the mornings… most of the time. By the end of the night, most of them are out of toilet paper and/or overflowing! We always recommend getting your own for your campsite, but it’s too late for that now. Time to practice squatting or invest in a SheWee! Yes, I have one… No, I can’t use it well.
“What is the weather like at Country Thunder? What clothes should I pack for Country Thunder?”
You should pack for very hot and very cold weather. Country Thunder temps can range from the 100s to the 40s! It’s usually hot in the day to where many girls just wear a swimsuit top and cut-offs. But it gets so cold at night, that I often wear a hoodie, sweatpants, wool socks, and long sleeves underneath (especially when I tent camp). I also recommend bringing a very light wind/water resistant jacket in case it does rain. It happened two years ago!
Bring your cowboy boots, a hat, sunscreen, swimsuit (both for showering and to stay cool), shorts and tanks, warm clothes, sporty clothes for when you just want to be comfy, tennis shoes (for when you get blisters from your boots/cute shoes). Email us with more questions at RichLivingLessSpending@gmail.com.
“What is the difference between the main stage and side stage at Country Thunder? What is Electric Thunder?”
The main stage hosts the headliners of Country Thunder. The side stage is much smaller and hosts typically lesser-known artists (not always!). You can often catch artists at both stages. If you really liked someone, see if they are playing again on the other stage. The set times usually overlap so that you can listen to music all the time! See the lineups here.
Electric Thunder is the tent located towards the entrance of the venue. It is a very unique combination of EDM and country music that has more of a club vibe than the rest of Country Thunder. Each year, they add more and more to this tent. It’ll be interesting to see what they add this year! It was just announced that David Fanning will be playing in the 2018 Arizona Country Thunder tent.
“What’s a good meeting spot at Country Thunder for when I get separated from my friends”
Here are some great meeting spots if you need to meet up and don’t want to get lost in the crowd:
“Is Country Thunder kid friendly?”
Answer: Not really, but some people do bring their kids.
The first year we went, my little siblings/cousins came along (ages 11-13). Country Thunder is a party everywhere you go. There are so many mostly-naked drunk people around that it probably is not a great place for your little ones. As you walk through the campgrounds, you WILL see stripper poles, inflatable anatomically correct dolls, drinking contests, men in patriotic banana hammocks, and more. Sure… if they are young enough, they might not remember. But… it’s WAY more fun without them. Trust me, this is a great time of the year to just be as crazy as you want without any worry of what your little ones are up to! 🙂
“Can I bring a lawn chair into the general admission area at Country Thunder?”
Answer: Yes! With some requirements…
Lawn chairs are actually the best way to enjoy the GA area! However, the chairs need to be soft lawn chairs (the folding kind). You are not allowed to bring in chairs with canopies/umbrellas built into the chair. You will need to remove the bag that holds the chair to be checked. The website says that the chair bags are allowed. However, be warned that their new bag policy might prevent you from bringing in certain bags depending on the size of the bag and the person checking you.
Here is the new bag policy: https://www.countrythunder.com/policies
“What happens if I put my wristband on too tight or I damage my wristband? Will Country Thunder give me a new one?”
Answer: Yes, for $20.
You will only be allowed one replacement per wristband. The replacement cost $20 at the show. Make sure not to make them too tight! The wristbands do tighten naturally while you sleep and if they get wet. Your wrists also swell! Side note: put the wristband on your RIGHT HAND! This is according to festival guidelines.
“Are fires allowed at Country Thunder?”
Answer: It depends.
There are no open flames allowed at Country Thunder. However, gas and charcoal grills are allowed. According to the website, “Bonfires and any fire of any kind, including tiki torches, are PROHIBITED in the campgrounds. Gas and charcoal burning grills are permitted.”
Many people have contained propane firepits that seem to be ok with the Country Thunder crew!
We have discounted tickets for GA 4-day passes, single-day tickets, and parking! Let us know what you need by emailing us at RichLivingLessSpending@gmail.com.
Sometimes, we don’t have the best deals… We know that and share the best of the best deals with you on our Facebook Event Page. Check it out for the best discounts.
Country Thunder is so special to us because it’s where Mike proposed to me 5 years ago! We go each year for our anniversary and just want to help people have as much fun as we do. It takes a lot of planning, but it’s totally worth it! Full disclosure: my mom and aunt do most of the planning. I help spread the word about what matters most. 🙂
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