5 things concertgoers should bring to Country Thunder

Jason Aldean performs during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 27, 2012. (Photo Courtesy of Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/MCT) 

Jason Aldean performs during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 27, 2012. (Photo Courtesy of Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

So you did it. You just made the greatest decision of your life and purchased a four-day pass to Country Thunder and have a reserved campsite with your best friends.

If this is your first time, get ready for the best weekend of your life. Get ready for headline acts putting on two-hour-plus shows of great country tunes, day drinking, walking around campgrounds and meeting new best friends. You may only know these people for the length of these four days but will get together with them nights after shows to recount the performances.

I am a seasoned college Country Thunder veteran. Except for my sophomore year (I don’t want to talk about that), I have been to every Country Thunder.

So to help out you rookies that are going for the first time, I have compiled a list of the five things you need to bring to Country to enhance the overall experience.

And even if you have been, check out the list anyway. There is always that moment when you get to your campsite and say, “Oh, I should have brought this.” Well, hopefully this list will help prevent that.

1. Beer

Pretty self-explanatory.

2. Water

OK, this is the second most important liquid to bring to CT. I know what you are thinking: “Of course I am going to bring water.” Good. Here is my advice though, bring more! Bring as much as you can, because if you only bring a couple of cases, I will guarantee you will run out by day two and be dehydrated.

Another pro-tip at Country Thunder: When you are day drinking in the Arizona sun, follow the 2:1 ratio. I found out about this last year. For every two alcoholic brews or mixers you drink, pound a water bottle right after. It will keep you hydrated, and the next morning is so much easier, trust me.

3. A small sedan on the campsite

Country Thunder is half country music festival, half a chance for wealthy rednecks to show off how much money they have. Most of you are broke college kids and do not have the money to afford an expensive RV with a fridge and stovetop. So I assume you are tent camping, cooking on a grill and using coolers. News flash: The ice you buy will melt throughout the day. You need to go into town to buy ice every day or else your beer will get warm. And you don’t want to buy it from the ice vendors around the campgrounds — way too expensive.

This is where the small sedan comes in handy. It is not as cool nor as country as a big, bad ‘merican truck. However, your little Honda can quickly leave the campsite, drive to town, get ice and come back without taking up much room on the campsite.


I will not get into all of my suggestions concerning what food to bring because I don't pretend to know your tastes. I will give a good suggestion for the perfect CT breakfast food though.

The sun is peeking through your tent, you are waking up for another great day at Country Thunder. You are filling up a red solo cup with orange juice and your stomach starts grumbling. Here’s what you do: Tear open a pack of cinnamon flavored Pop-Tarts and go to town. Even after a late night on the campgrounds, nothing goes down easier, tastes better or puts some nutrients back in your system better than Pop-Tarts. Feel free to even toast them on the grill.

5.An open mind

Do not just stay at your campsite. Walk around and meet people. Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting an awesome man with neon orange sunglasses and a handlebar mustache. He referred to everyone as “brother” and was named Dio. Our camping crew had a great time with his.

The big headliners start at 7 p.m., but while you're at the concert venue area, check out some of the smaller country acts playing for crowds. I had the most fun going to see Parmalee perform in early afternoon last year.

But no matter what you bring, Country Thunder will be one of the best experiences of your time at ASU. I guarantee it.

Reach the reporter at ehubbard@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Edmund_Hubbard

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