After more than 26,000 people showed up to Country Thunder in Florence this year, it’s baffling to consider the type of numbers next year could bring.
Having grown each year since its inception, the four-day country music festival not only saw some record-breaking statistics this year, but also continued to attract some of the biggest names in country music to include headliners Thompson Square, The Band Perry, Miranda Lambert, and Jason Aldean.
Known for its friendly, social atmosphere in which miles upon miles of recreational vehicles and campers line the barren farm fields outlying the stage, the festival this year ran from April 10-13, giving country fans more than their fair share of hits to choose from.
Some fans were even lucky enough to meet the stars in person as they wandered Crazy Coyote, one of several campsites on location, which has become known for a rowdy, fun crowd.
“I love this kind of stuff,” said Keifer Thompson of the duo Thompson Square. “We got to go out and visit some of the crazy coyotes, and it just reminded me of home.”
“It’s like the party of the year,” added his wife and musical partner, Shawna.
The duo put on an energy-filled show on Thursday evening that featured such single hits as “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,” “I’ve Got You,” “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” and their latest hit, “Testing the Water.”
The concert featured 20 artists in total - five each day. And while most of those artists came and went according to their scheduled time slot, others like up-and-comer Matt Farris chose to camp out for the duration of the festival.
The artist of “Redneck Radio” could often be found playing his guitar and singing for groups of fans who caught wind that he was staying in an area that was intermixed with the general public.
“The fans are what it’s all about,” he said in an interview before opening his show. “They’re the reason that I’m able to do what I love doing, so this is a way to give back to them.”
Farris’ performance on Sunday afternoon was evidence of that, as he brought a disabled individual onto the stage and also signed autographs and recorded video from fans’ cell phones, all in between singing and strumming his guitar.
Speaking of guitars, Miranda Lambert brought her signature pink guitar with her – one that may be hung up for a while after Lambert announced to media that she will be taking a break from touring.
But that didn’t stop her from stealing the show on Saturday night, rocking out such hit singles like “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “Gun Powder and Lead,” and “White Liar.”
“Arizona is full of country fans who really get into the music and like hanging with us for a night,” Lambert told The Explorer prior to the show. “It’s always such a high when you perform in front of that many country fans at one time and they sing along to your songs. They are there for a love of music and are eager to be entertained. Those are the best nights.”
Next year, Country Thunder will run from April 9-12.
“This year’s festival has been the best Country Thunder to date,” said Troy Vollhoffer, executive producer of the festival. “I hope everyone comes back for another amazing year. Stay tuned for a very exciting line-up announcement.”
For more information on Country Thunder, visit Arizona.countrythunder.com.
MOBILE: Watch the video here: http://youtu.be/2oDeqFV2jeI