Del Thola’s vision for a new local festival came to life after months of planning: Friday kicked off the “Cochise Country Music Festival” in Benson.Country music fans gathered at the 4EVR Ranch for an afternoon filled with music, food and dancing.People from across the state and country were at the first day of the three-day event“I think it’s just a laidback environment. The way music festivals, country music festivals used to be. And I think that’s what people are really looking for,” said Thola, who owns 4EVR Ranch.Joe Nichols, Sawyer Brown and Clay Walker are the headliners drawing people to this year’s festival.Nichols will going to take the stage Friday night to close out the first day of the event.Tucson residents Bruce and Doreen Tilford were thrilled to see a country music festival in southern Arizona, especially with Doreen’s favorite singer performing on Sunday:“It’s my birthday present to my wife. We’re going to be here all three days. We’re going back to Tucson and coming back every day,” said Bruce.Thola anticipates up to 3,000 people will have walked through the gates by the end of Friday, most of whom are from outside of Cochise County.He expects Saturday and Sunday to be more popular.“I’d love to do this again. Now I know what I’m doing or at least kind of—hah,” said Thola.In addition to listening to music, attendees can shop from local vendors. Out-of-town guests can utilize sites for their campers close by.
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