Leaders of Northwest Arkansas’ outdoor amphitheater announced today that they’re well on their way to securing $13.9 million to support an expansion of the facility that’ll start next year.
Peter Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center, announced what’s called Walmart AMP 20|20, the expansion project at the Walmart AMP that focuses on providing outstanding programming and expanded amenities for patrons.
About 94 percent of the $13.9 million has been raised. Project supporters include Johnelle Hunt, whose gift retires all existing debt; Walmart, which extended its naming rights to 2044; General Mills, which extended its sponsorship of the lawn through 2035; Tyson Foods, which extended its sponsorship of the concessions buildings through 2028; Procter & Gamble, which extended its sponsorship of the box office through 2028, and Live Nation.
“We created a master plan for the development of the Walmart AMP, something that would serve as a blueprint for what the venue can and should look like for the next 10 to 15 years,” Lane said. “We knew we wanted to capitalize on the elements that make our venue unique – providing concerts that you would expect to see in a larger market with the amenities of a boutique venue.”
The expansion plans for the Walmart AMP, which will increase the venue’s concertgoer capacity by 1,000, focus on enhancing fans’ experience. The expansions, which are highlighted in a video on a Walmart AMP webpage, include:
A new Procter & Gamble Box Office with more service windows, making it easier for patrons to purchase and pick up tickets.
An expanded main entry plaza twice as large as the current plaza with more Tyson Foods Concession Stands and restrooms in the area.
A new covered plaza at the top of the lawn, which adds 15,000 square feet of flexible viewing and event space as well as private restrooms. The area can be used for private events during shows and to provide enhanced amenities for the lawn.
Two outdoor plazas at the top of the hill that will provide two new Tyson Concession stands, 56 additional restroom stalls and flexible space for activations.
A reconfigured Kraft Heinz Entrance on the north side of the venue that will feed into the new space at the top of the hill, providing additional gates to get patrons in and out of the venue.
New tiered seating at the front of the General Mills Lawn that will provide a flexible space for portable seating that can accommodate 1,200 patrons in a reserved, premium lawn section.
The construction project, which starts in November next year, will take seven months to complete and increase the fan capacity to 11,000. The work will not interrupt any concert seasons. Work will be finished in time for the 2020 Cox Concert Series. CORE Architects is handling project design. CDI is the general contractor.
Additional phases of development for the venue, which focus on artist amenities and back of house needs, have been identified in the master plan. Those will be funded and staged to start in the future.
One of the first steps toward the goal of providing an even better fan experience is a new five-year partnership, making Live Nation into the preferred Walmart AMP promoter. The partnership goes into effect for the 2019 season, with Trevor Noah as the first announced Live Nation show of the new season.
“After our first few shows in 2014, it became clear that Northwest Arkansas is not only a great market for business but also entertainment,” said Bob Roux, president, U.S. Concerts, Live Nation Entertainment. “Live Nation looks forward to our new partnership and bringing even more first-class entertainment to one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.”