By Timothy Rawles / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Florence, AZ) Florence, Arizona is about to feel the thunder, the Country Thunder that is. The annual music festival takes place from April 7 to April 10.
Fans will descend upon Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence to enjoy four days of music, dancing, and camping if they so desire. This year’s roster features a lot of country music’s heavy hitters, including Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, and Blake Shelton.
Country Thunder is a musical festival brand that began in Wisconsin and Arizona back in 1996. Since then, they have become one of Arizona’s most popular remote music events. The demand was so high to see headliner Morgan Wallen perform on April 9, organizers made 1,000 more single-day tickets available.
Wallen, 28, was supposed to appear at last year’s event but had to cancel due to controversy over his use of racial epithets captured by a doorbell video camera. This will be his only Arizona concert in 2022.
Despite the fuss, the singer picked up the 2022 Album of the Year award at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas for "Dangerous: The Double Album," his triple-platinum LP.
It was recently announced that country music newcomer Nolan Sotillo will perform on opening night. Sotillo is a versatile entertainer from Florida. He is not only a multi-instrumental singer/songwriter but also an actor. He appeared on the Fox drama series Red Band Society.
Putting his acting career on hold for a while, Sotillo, 27, concentrated on music, and a growing fanbase allowed him enough popularity to perform at high-profile events such as Country Thunder.
Joining Sotillo on opening night is Riley Green, fresh off the release of his live album “We Out Here.”
Green, 33, is a Jacksonville, Alabama native who, in 2019 was awarded the New Male Artist of the Year by The Academy of Country Music. He is currently on tour making a stop in Florence for this festival before he continues east, ending up in Canada.
Female country artists appearing throughout the event are Lindsay Ell, Gabby Barrett, Mackenzie Porter, and Maggie Rose. Rose, 33, is known for her on-stage presence and remarkable performances.
As Country Thunder continues to grow every year fans are quick to gobble tickets up early. Campground tickets have already sold out, and reserved seating is already gone as well as the exclusive Platinum Experience.
But there’s another way to score some special tickets. If you have one or two great dance moves and a willing partner, the Dancing with the Thunder contest is also available. This fun competition requires registration and if you win, you could get upgraded tickets, camping for 2023, custom Country Thunder belt buckles, onstage seating, and other prizes.
The festival does offer several overnight parking options that you can purchase through their website.
Rules for what you can bring into the festival bowl are surprisingly accommodating. Along with the normal items such as sunglasses, sunscreen, and beach towels, you can also bring your cellphone, non-professional digital cameras (non DSLR), and prescribed medications in their original bottles. Don’t forget your soft, unpackaged, lawn chairs
Everything is subject to search at the security checkpoint.
Some of the things that aren’t allowed are glass containers, umbrellas, non-service animals, seat cushions larger than 15”x15”, laptops, and weapons.
For a list of all items check out the Country Thunder website. Smokers can use designated smoking areas.
General admission tickets are still available with single-day prices at $150, except Saturday which costs $175.
Four-day general admission is $245 per person. Country Thunder is located at 20585 East Price Station Road in Florence.
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