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 hi@RichLivingLessSpending.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 (including fees): $30 for a single day, $58 for GA non-overnight parking valid all weekend, $113 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: $113 for Weekend overnight. $97 for Extra Vehicle Pass
NOTE: These passes sold out last year! Make sure to get them ahead of time!
“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 2019 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: $113 (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! Last year prices: $39-45 each way. The shuttle service will be posted here in 2019: 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.
SINGLE-DAY PASSES & CAMPSITES
“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. In 2018, single-day pass holders received a wristband that looked similar to the 4-day GA. There is security that watches to make sure you have the correct 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 got back into the festival (totally by luck) without anyone checking their wristbands closely. 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
CELL PHONE SERVICE
“Is there good phone service at Country Thunder?”“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 Copperhead Stage before Chris Stapleton. 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!
SINGLE-DAY VS. GA VS. VIP / RSVD vs. PLATINUM
“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 (previously VIP) 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.
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.
4-Day Platinum Experience
This is a new ticket option for 2019, so we don’t know exactly what it will be like!
According to Country Thunder’s website, it includes tickets with exclusive elevated lounge area and upgraded viewing area, executive flushable restrooms, and private food/beverage options (for purchase – not included). You’ll also get chances to win opportunities to get closer to your favorite artist! You get 1 reserved parking pass for every 1-2 tickets purchased.
Note: these tickets come with a hefty price tag of $600/ticket.
“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!
This is our go-to meal every Country Thunder. It’s seriously SO GOOD and can be made completely ahead of time! Just throw it in the cooler and serve.
DEALING WITH THE DUST
“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. It is now too late to order a port-a-potty for Country Thunder Arizona 2019.
If you don’t want your own port-o-potty, time to practice squatting or invest in a SheWee! Yes, I have one… No, I can’t use it well.
PACKING FOR THE WEATHER
“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). For general packing tips, check out this blog.
Email us with more questions at hi@RichLivingLessSpending.com with any packing questions you might have.
MAIN STAGE VS. SIDE STAGE VS. ELECTRIC THUNDER
“What is the difference between the main stage and Copperhead stage at Country Thunder? What is Electric Thunder?”
The main stage hosts the headliners of Country Thunder. Copperhead stage (formerly 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 previous lineups here. See 2019’s lineup 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.
Last year, they had line dance lessons! Let’s just say that’s not my strong point…
Each year, they add more and more to this tent. Can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.
FINDING MY FRIENDS
“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:
- Bathrooms outside of Electric Thunder Tent. These are usually not as crowded as the other bathroom locations because they are at the back of the venue. It also lets everyone have the chance to empty their bladders before the next adventure.
- Your campsite. This is actually only an OK meeting place depending on where your campsite is… If you are out in the boondocks of Desperado, you probably don’t want to make this your go-to.
- Left side of Copperhead stage. This stage can get pretty busy, but the left side (when you are facing the stage) is usually less crowded and you get to watch music while you wait.
- The campground showers. These are located between Starlight Preferred and Roadrunner. They’re usually pretty easy to find and would be a good spot if you’re meeting people from other campground locations.
COUNTRY THUNDER KIDS
“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! 🙂
GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
“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!
“Are bikes allowed at Country Thunder?”
This has been debated on so many Country Thunder forums, so I reached out directly to Country Thunder. They confirmed that bicycles are definitely allowed. They are a great way to get around on the campsite. Seasoned bike-bringers say to bring an extra tire tube if you really plan on using bikes since tires might pop on the dirt roads.
What is security like to get into the venue at Country Thunder?
In 2018, Country Thunder security lines to get into the venue were longer than they’ve ever been. This is no surprise, and it’s only there to keep us all safe. However, it means that you need to plan for this if you want to make sure to see your favorite artist. We only caught the tail end of a couple people because the lines took 45 minutes!
*TIP* If you have RSVD tickets, there is a separate entrance near the Glamping section. This entrance is ONLY for RSVD and you will be turned back if you try to enter with a GA or Single Day ticket
What is glamping at Country Thunder?
Glamping started at Country Thunder Arizona in 2018. Essentially, they take care of everything for you. It includes your tent, 2 Platinum Experience tickets (see above), showers and flushable toilets, and all the bedding you need. There is security to make sure no other Country Thunder guests go into the Glamping section. This cuts both ways… it means even if you want your friends to visit, they can’t come see your campsite! Click here for a little promo video from CT to show you more.
A different alternative to glamping if you are hesitant to camp tent on your own is to rent an RV! Many people do this for Country Thunder since it’s the only time of year they camp.
We have discounted tickets for GA 4-day passes! Let us know how many you need by emailing us at hi@RichLivingLessSpending.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 7 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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