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Concert Venue Attracts More than Musicians

Business and community leaders celebrated the new Walmart AMP Monday during a ceremony at the outdoor music venue.
Rogers, AR - Business and community leaders celebrated the new Walmart AMP Monday during a ceremony at the outdoor music venue.

Crews worked in the background as Walton Arts Center President and CEO Peter Lane thanked investors and talked about the progress being made.

"There are so many people who understand what Northwest Arkansas can be," Lane says. "Many of those leaders were here today to honor their commitment to this project, but also to buy into the fact that Northwest Arkansas can really move to that next level, and this venue is going to help us do that in so many ways."

The AMP will seat more than seven thousand people, and Lane says it will attract bigger acts.

"The challenge for us is having enough seats to accommodate acts of this size," he says. "They're very expensive so you need more seats to make that happen."

The venue is attracting more than just musical talent. Rogers Mayor Greg Hines says the AMP is setting the stage for a transformation in his town.

"Our skyscape will be changed forever," he says. "It's phenomenal. It will change the course of tourism in Northwest Arkansas, and particularly Rogers forever. We have become known as sort of the retail destination, the restaurant destination, and now the entertainment destination of Northwest Arkansas."

The area surrounding the job site is also booming. Chuy's decided to build in the area after the AMP was planned, and Hines says more exciting announcements are coming this summer.

"They're starting to develop this area along with office space, and restaurant space, probably some retail," he says. "There are conversations that we're having with other restaurants and retail that have heretofore not considered Northwest Arkansas as a potential, viable business option."

The first concert, featuring Darius Rucker and Pat Green, is scheduled for June 20th, followed by Willie Nelson and Allison Krauss in July. Lane says the Walton Arts Center plans to bring in all genres of music, and promoters promise more big name shows are on the way.

"You look at our community, we have people from all over the world that have moved here and people that have grown up here," Lane says. "They expect to have different kinds of programs and we hope to deliver."

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