The Walmart AMP: A Quick Look Back

Rogers, Arkansas -  A highly-anticipated Blake Shelton concert will mark the grand opening of the Walmart AMP, but did you know that this is actually the tenth season for the Arkansas Music Pavilion?
"It was kind of the brain child of Dan White who was a VP at Tyson back in 2004. when we met and he and some other folks in the community that got with him," former co-owner and current General Manager Brian Crowne said. "Joe Boskus was one of the original owners, and they kind of launched it and it was kind of exciting when I got to get engaged in 2008 and kind of continue to grow it."

As the AMP set up shop in the parking lot of the Northwest Arkansas Mall, Crowne worked on developing relationships allowing him to bring in artist people wanted to see and hear.

"That first year that I had the venue, I wanted to give it a little more street cred if you will," Crowne said. "So it was exciting to do The Black Crows and Ween that year."

Then, in 2011, the Walton Arts Center bought the AMP in a move that just seemed to make sense.

"When you look at the Walton Arts Center we've been here 22 years and our mission is really regional it is about art, entertainment and culture as well as education," Walton Arts Center CEO Peter Lane said. "So the AMP fills that part of our mission that says we can do lots of other things including in addition to cultural arts." 

In 2012, the AMP and the mall parted ways when a long-term lease agreement couldn't be reached. 

So the Arkansas Music Pavilion made the temporary move to the Washington County Fairgrounds. Music fans enjoyed a country setting with all kinds of performers at concerts, including Cake, Wilco, and Gary Allen.

But after a storm damaged the structure, it became even more clear to organizers the AMP needed a permanent home.

And soon, Benton County became the obvious choice.

Tuesday night, in the second installment of our special three-part series, we'll take a look at how local companies stepped in, and how the facility soon became the Walmart AMP, sitting on prime real estate easily accessible for folks traveling from far away and just around the corner.

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