Walton Arts Center Constructing a “New” 6400 Seat AMP
Well, the Walton Arts Center has has brightened our spirits. After months of anticipation, the WAC has announced the construction of a pretty-much-brand new amphitheater that should bring some better acts to Northwest Arkansas.
The new Arkansas Music Pavilion will be a permanent construction adjacent to the parking lot where it currently sits. The AMP will be built on the undeveloped space east of Shogun at the southwest corner of the NWA Mall parking lot. It will have 2,400 permanent seats (1,800 will be covered) with sloped lawn seating for an additional 4,000 people. A section of VIP boxes will be built along with a VIP plaza with concessions and restrooms with air conditioning. The AMP’s technical facilities will also be upgraded. Performers will have new dressing rooms and more equipment space, which makes booking larger acts more feasible. Sustainability considerations will include low flow toilets and sinks, LED lighting, and scooter and motorcycle parking.
Construction will begin as soon as next month and should be completed before the Summer 2012 season.
According to a press release, Brian Crowne (former AMP owner and current AMP general manager and owner of George’s) along with the Walton Arts Center staff will take care of booking a “new and exciting lineup of artists and productions.” The WAC hopes that the new AMP “will reposition Northwest Arkansas as a key stop on summer concert tours in the Midwest and South.”
This is terrific news for Northwest Arkansas’ cultural health. Along with the delayed Osage Creek Amphitheater, the region will have two large outdoor venues.
The AMP construction will also ease many Fayetteville residents who worry that the Walton Arts Center’s attention will be moving to Bentonville (with their planned expansion). With a $4 million budget, it sure seems that the WAC is trying its best to make the AMP a venue all of NWA can be proud of. But please, no more Rick Springfields.
A. The Structure
- Reposition the entire venue 90° to the north and west, moving it entirely off the existing parking lot blacktop
- Re-grade the amphitheater and install sloped seating and appropriate handicap access
- Install permanent drainage and related infrastructure
- Raise the tent structure 12’ to increase sightlines and add appropriate air circulation
- Provide permanent backstage amenities for artists including catering, dressing and production areas
Create higher quality seating options throughout the venue:–Total venue capacity of approximately 6,000–2,400 outdoor theater-style permanent seats (1,800 covered)–Lawn accommodations for 4,000 patrons–Removable seating in orchestra section will accommodate artists who prefer the audience closer to the stage–Permanent seating in the VIP section (box seating directly behind orchestra)
B. Ancillary Amenities
- Installing permanent air-conditioned restroom facilities
- Constructing appropriate and appealing marquee entrance with drop off and lighting
- Installing and upgrading permanent concessions area
- Create permanent and upgraded VIP and donor/sponsor areas
- Create new Box Office
- Install perimeter fencing and lighting
- Create and install appropriate landscaping
According to WAC, “potential projected performers” include:
- “Contemporary:” James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Chicago, Janet Jackson, Steely Dan, Stevie Nicks, The Beach Boys
- “Country:” Toby Keith, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Dolly Parton, Sugarland, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley
- “College/Electronic Artists:” Maroon 5, Flaming Lips, Fleet Foxes, Girl Talk, Mumford and Sons, Wilco, Widespread Panic
(Click on the pics for a larger view)