Thinking of heading to Country Thunder in Texas, Wisconsin or Arizona? Before you buy your tickets for the four-day country music and camping extravaganza, check out the top tips to surviving a Country Thunder Concert from Jerry Violette, a seven-year Country Thunder Arizona veteran and an experienced RV camper.
How to Survive Country Thunder: Tips and Advice
For the past five years, Violette has rented an RV from Cruise America RV rental, the largest provider of RV rentals and RV sales in the world. Read on for his guide to making the Country Thunder concert enjoyable year after year.
COUNTRY THUNDER TIP #1: RENT AN RV
The first two years Violette attended Country Thunder, he drove in and out of the concert each day, facing hours of traffic both ways. "When you're out there in the sun all day long and you get to the end of the night, you really don't feel like driving too much," he says. "It's a lot nicer going back to an RV and camping out." There are other benefits to RV rental as well, Violette says:
- Comfort. "Number one, you've got a bed as opposed to sleeping on the ground. And you're away from the dust," he says. "Those are two huge advantages right there."
- Quick set-up. "The set-up time is just parking the RV. It's a lot better than having to set the whole camp up from scratch," he says.
- Climate control. "The absolute best advantage is having the air conditioning. When it's 90 degrees outside, I can just kick back," Violette says. The same is true for chilly weather - "This year, it was extremely cold. It only took about five minutes to turn on that furnace, and it was toasty. Everyone else was shaking and cold and wet."
- Electrical outlets. Plug in your cell phone or recharge camera batteries without draining your car battery - simply plug digital accessories into your RV's outlets while the generator's running anyway.
COUNTRY THUNDER TIP #2: PACK WITH CARE
Before heading to the concert, Violette refers to his Country Thunder checklist, where he's lisetd all the easy-to-forget items he doesn't want to be without. Here are some of the most important - and easily missed - items to bring on your Country Thunder RV camping trip:
- Extra water. If you have extra storage space, consider bringing enough potable water to refill your tank. While you can usually purchase it onsite, you'll pay dearly for the privilege. After several days in the dusty heat - or worse, the mud and rain - it's nice to shower in your RV and not worry about running out of water.
- Flashlight. Instead of running your generator every time you need some interior light, use a flashlight for simple light needs. It's easy and convenient - and you never know when it will come in handy.
- Microwaveable food. Even if you plan on grilling during your RV camping trip, you never know when bad weather will hit. Bring some easy-to-heat food along, and you won't have to worry.
- A full tank. Just before heading to the campground, make sure you have a full tank of fuel - just in case weather forces you to run the generator more than planned.
- Something to sit on. If you have general admission tickets, plan on bringing lawn chairs to sit in while watching the show - and, if you're smart, something to haul them to and from the stage with, such as a wagon or small cart. Campsites can be quite a walk from the concert
COUNTRY THUNDER TIP #3: CHOOSE YOUR SITE WISELY
Each Country Thunder concert offers multiple campgrounds, some known for their wild parties, others for their quiet nights and still others for housing big-rig RVs. Visit the official Country Thunder Web site for details on all the camping options available at your concert. By planning ahead, you won't be in the center of the action with your five-year-old on board or find that it's lights out just as you're ready to party.
COUNTRY THUNDER TIP #4: SHOW UP EARLY
If possible, plan on showing up on Wednesday, the evening before the festival starts. "By Thursday, there's a whole crowd of people trying to get in and it takes a couple hours to get through," Violette says. "Go one day early and hang out for the evening and get to know the people around you."