Country Thunder Highlights for 2015

Country Thunder exceeded my expectations. I decided for my first time – go big or go home! I paid extra for a campsite in Roadrunner and for reserved seating. The campsite was close to the entrance. Reserved seating was separate than general admission. I had a chair to sit in during every concert. I made friends and memories I will never forget.

Here are a few highlights from Country Thunder:


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The Real Reason for going to Country Thunder Music Festival in Florence, Arizona

Most people think about the party aspect of Country Thunder. I will be there to listen to as much country music as I can in 4 days. I’ve always connected to the lyrics of country music songs. I grew up in a big, small town. My biggest childhood memories were made in a place where everyone knew you. I spent my teen years in the country driving around and chasing boys. Justin Moore’s “Small Town USA” is my country “theme song”. The lyrics in this song are a reflection of my life in a small town.

Country Thunder has a headliner each night – Brett Eldredge,Big & Rich, Blake Shelton, and Luke Bryan. These acts are sure to draw a crowd. For me, I’m looking for the “underdog” – too bad the true “underdog” Aaron Watson isn’t playing. I’m more excited to see artists whose career is about to, or just taking off. There is so much more to Country Thunder than the headliners. I look forward to seeing Old Dominion, Clare Dunn, Maddie & Tae, The Swon Brothers, Phil Vassar, Dustin Lynch, J Michael Harter, Ryan Bexley and local country duo Heartlyn Rae. I’ve done my research by reading artist bios and listening to singles or EP’s. These artists are the real reason I cannot wait for Country Thunder!

Country Thunder Survival Guide

Country Thunder is less than 3 weeks away. I, also, cannot contain my excitement. This will be my first time. I have been researching everything from outfits, to decorations, to supplies. There are a few good country festival guides I found online to get an idea of what I will need. Since I will be camping all 4 days, I wanted to make sure I bring everything possible. Country Thunder is sure to be one crazy weekend!

KNIX Sam Hunt Block Party with Kelsea Ballerini

Tickets are now on sale for the upcoming KNIX block party with Sam Hunt and special guest Kelsea Ballerini. According to Whiskey Row, their Tempe location “will not be open by then”. If you are like me, you are patiently waiting the opening of this well-known country bar. Good news, the concert will still take place in front of the future location, on 6th St. and Mill Ave. For the meantime, I will continue living in suspense.

What I am more excited about is the performance by Kelsea Ballerini. Thanks to Jessica Northey and friends at Country Music Chat (#CMchat), I was introduced to Kelsea prior to the release of her debut E.P. back in 2014. Her recent single “Love Me Like You Mean It” has peaked in the top 30 on both Billboards Country Airplay chart and Country Digital Song chart. Kelsea Ballerini has already had her OPRY debut. You might have also heard her name from the infamous shout-out by Taylor Swift.

When Taylor Swift approves, you know it must be good! Those of us that already have it are awaiting her upcoming May album to be released.

Stay updated on all country music events in Arizona HERE

Whiskey Row in Tempe to host KNIX Sam Hunt block party with Kelsea Ballerini

Another country bar is making its way to Tempe. Since the close of Graham Central Station and Toby Keiths in Mesa, country music fans in the east valley have had fewer options for local country bars.

Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row in Scottsdale has been home to live country music from local and national acts. KNIX brings free monthly concerts and who can forget the random appearances by Dierks Bentley himself. Mill Ave. is a great location for Whiskey Row. If you’ve ever been to Moonshine Whiskey Bar on Mill, you notice people wearing cowboy boots, belt buckles, and western styled shirts. The dance floor is always packed. Having another option for country music will bring more country music lovers to Tempe.

Whiskey Row in Tempe is scheduled to open soon. Via social media, KNIX announced a block party featuring Sam Hunt & Kelsea Ballerini on April 16th at 6th & Mill at the home of Whiskey Row Tempe. Tickets will be available soon.

For more information on country music events in Arizona, visit HERE 

Direct TV Super Fan Fest – Thomas Rhett & Zac Brown Band

No clue when or how, but I did something to win free tickets in the Direct TV Super fan festival in Glendale. I also won an acoustic performance by Thomas Rhett. I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring my hubby and let him experience being up close and personal with a country artist. The performance took place in the HGTV Lodge. Which felt more like a log cabin. There was a VIP section with HGTV stars – the guys from Kitchen Cousins were there and definitely were taking advantage of the open bar! There couldn’t have been more than 30 of us. I hadn’t seen Thomas Rhett in concert before. He started out with a few hits and then took requests from the crowd. I would see him again, he’s funny and entertaining.

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After Thomas Rhett, we grabbed a bite to eat, a few beers and headed to the main stage. Zac Brown was the headliner. The stage was sectioned off into different VIP sections. We were general admission and found a close spot on the side of the stage. While waiting, we could still see and hear the opening artists at the 2nd stage.

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Zac Brown came on wearing his usual beanie. Until you’re watching him live, you forget how many songs he has. I love watching him play the guitar, makes me want to take my acoustic guitar out of the closet and dust it off. My hubby and I didn’t move the entire concert. I’m hoping this night makes him realize why I love country music so much!

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Medium/Large Music Venues in Phoenix

Celebrity Theatre Capacity – 1,400 – 2,650

Comerica Theatre Capacity – 5,000

Crescent Ballroom – Capacity – around 500

Live Wire 1,100+ capacity

Marquee Theatre – http//– Capacity – around 1,000

  Mesa Amphitheatre – Capacity – around 4,900

 Mesa Arts Center – around 1,050

 Orpheum Theatre – around 1,360

 Rialto Theatre – 1,200

Country bars in the Phoenix, Arizona area

Country Music in Phoenix, Arizona

Looking to find a place to listen to country music in the Phoenix area? These are the more popular bars for country music.

  1. Harolds Corral – Cave Creek

6895 E. Cave Creek Rd. Cave Creek, AZ. 85331             (480) 488-1906

  1. Buffalo Chip Saloon – Cave Creek

6811 E. Cave Creek Rd. Cave Creek, AZ.  85331    (480) 488-9118

  1. Bourbon Jacks – Chandler

11 West Boston St. Chandler, AZ 85225      (480) 664-1738

  1. Roman’s Oasis – Goodyear

16825 W. Yuma Rd. Goodyear, AZ. 85338     (623) 932-0922

  1. Roosters Bar – Mesa

3731 E. Main St. Mesa, AZ. 85205     (480) 985-4088

  1. Denim and Diamonds – Mesa

7336 E. Main St. Suite #106 Mesa, AZ. 85207     (480) 832-5000

  1. Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill – Peoria

9824 W. Northern Ave., Suite 1840 Peoria, AZ. 85345     (623) 208-7288

  1. San Tan Flat – Queen Creek

6185 W. Hunt Highway Queen Creek, AZ. 85142     (480) 882-2995

  1. Nortons Country Corner – Queen Creek

20835 E. Ocotillo Rd. Queen Creek, AZ. 85142     (480) 882-1231

  1. Whiskey Row – Scottsdale

4420 N. Saddlebag Trail #105 Scottsdale, AZ. 85251 (480) 945-4200

  1. Coach House – Scottsdale

7011 E. Indian School Rd. Scottsdale, AZ. 85251     (480) 990-3433

  1. Rusty Spur Saloon – Scottsdale

7245 E. Main St. Scottsdale, AZ. 85251     (480) 425-7787

  1. Handlebar J – Scottsdale

7116 Becker Ln. Scottsdale, AZ. 85254     (480) 948-0110

  1. Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse & Microbrewery – Scottsdale

10426 E. Jomax Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85262     (480) 585-1599

  1. Greasewood Flat – Scottsdale

27375 N. Alma School Pkwy. Scottsdale, AZ. 85262     (480) 585- 9430

  1. Moonshine Whiskey Bar – Tempe

410 S. Mill Ave.

Tempe, AZ. 85281