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Coronavirus forces Country Thunder to postpone Arizona festival until 2021

Coronavirus forces Country Thunder to postpone Arizona festival until 2021

After months of holding out hope that the coronavirus pandemic would let up in Arizona, the organizers of the state’s largest country music festival announced Friday that the event was postponed until 2021.

The rescheduled 2021 Country Thunder festival, set for April 8-11, is expected to feature most of the 2020 lineup including headliners Eric Church and Luke Combs. The full lineup is still being worked out, Country Thunder spokesman Gerry Krochak said.

This is the second time Country Thunder officials have pulled the plug on the four-day country music festival, originally set to take place in mid-April in Florence, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 19, organizers postponed the event to Oct. 31 with hopes that COVID-19 would subside. Instead, it worsened once Gov. Doug Ducey in mid-May lifted the state’s two-month stay-at-home order.

“We had been hopeful,” Krochak said. “If this was an inevitability then we’ve certainly given this every imaginable time. But the excuse is 2020; 2020 happened.”

“The time has come to look toward the future, and I think it’s going to be incredible,” Country Thunder Music Festivals CEO Troy Vollhoffer added in a written statement. “We can’t wait to come back to Florence and kick this thing up a notch.”

Country Thunder in the past two years has broken attendance records, topping 100,000 spectators throughout the four days to the sprawling festival grounds in Florence. More than a third of the audience is from Tucson and Southern Arizona.

2020 festival tickets will be good for the 2021 event. Ticketholders will be notified by email on July 31.

Country Thunder, which holds six multi-day country music festivals throughout North America, also has postponed its festivals in Florida, Wisconsin and Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada. The only event still on the books for 2020 is Iowa, which is set for Sept. 4-6.

There was no word on Friday if that event, too, will be pushed back to 2021.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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