Pack an ice chest with cold drinks and dust off your dinner plate-sized belt buckles, Stetson hats and cowboy boots.

Country Thunder, the biggest country music festival around these parts, kicks off Thursday in the desert outside Florence, where thousands will camp in tents and RVs to be part of the four-day party.

Headliners include Toby Keith, Martina McBride and Jason Aldean.

New this year is a shuttle service that will provide round-trip transportation for non-campers from Mesa and Tempe to the festival for $10. Find shuttle locations and a schedule at

The Frat House — a party pavilion that hosts spaghetti wrestling, karaoke, a game show and live bouts between roller derby teams — is also new. That’s in addition to the rock climbing wall, rides, mechanical bull and food and merchandise vendors on hand to entertain between sets on the concert stage.

Don’t bother airing out your tent or phoning in your port-o-potty reservation (Yes, you can rent your own port-o-potty at Country Thunder, but putting a lock on its door is up to you); campsites are sold out.

Four-day and single-day general admission tickets are still available, as are a limited number of reserved-seating tickets directly in front of the stage.

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