The team at the Walmart AMP has put together what is arguably its strongest group of summertime acts since the outdoor music venue’s 2014 opening in Rogers.
Janet Jackson, Chris Stapleton and Kesha headline this year’s impressive concert lineup, but it also includes country music star Kenny Chesney, rock band Modest Mouse, alternative rockers Pixies and Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer.
Kyle Kellams, news director at KUAF radio in Fayetteville and the owner of more than 10,000 CDs, said he's impressed by the Walmart AMP's schedule.
"This is the summer that the AMP kicked into a higher gear," Kellams said. "Kesha, Macklemore, Jim Gaffigan, Dave Mathews, Chris Stapleton and Modest Mouse are all pretty impressive gets. Add in a pair of honest-to-goodness legends who I never thought I'd see in Northwest Arkansas — Ringo Starr and Janet Jackson — and this summer distances itself from the previous seasons."
Jennifer Wilson, the public relations director for the Walmart AMP, said the facility’s location in Rogers — which is a nice tour stop for artists traveling between major cities in middle America — makes it fit easily into the schedules of top acts. Jackson’s show on July 13, for example, occurs as her team travels between Austin and Cincinnati, and Kesha will be moving between Houston and Kansas City when she stops to perform at the Walmart AMP on June 25.
“Performers come here, they like the experience and they want to come back,” said Wilson, who described this year’s schedule as the most diverse variety of music offerings in the concert venue’s history.
The central location of the amphitheater, which sits just to the west of Interstate 49 in the Pinnacle area of Rogers, is just about perfect for concertgoers who live in Northwest Arkansas. The state's largest outdoor music venue is no more than a 20-minute drive for most of the region’s more than 500,000 residents.
Often referred to as “the AMP,” there are 3,200 fixed, covered seats and space for more than 6,500 music fans in a large lawn seating area.
Information provided by the Walmart AMP shows about 75 percent of its 147,634 patrons last year were residents of Benton and Washington counties, but it also brought in more than 7,700 fans last year from Missouri, 3,700 from Oklahoma and 1,100 from Texas. Some of its strongest attendance comes from people who live in Fort Smith followed by Joplin, Mo., Van Buren and Little Rock.
The AMP certainly has a unique history in Northwest Arkansas.
It was initially located on the parking lot of the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville. It was purchased by the Walton Arts Center and temporarily relocated to the Washington County Fairgrounds for the 2012-13 season before moving to its permanent location in Rogers. Since 2009, those taking the stage have included Vampire Weekend, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, the Avett Brothers, the Goo Goo Dolls, Blue Oyster Cult, and Ted Nugent.
To say this year’s lineup is outstanding is to understate it. The Dave Mathews Band, which performed at the AMP in 2015, returns to its stage on May 30 and that concert is a sell out. The other sell out is country music star Chris Stapleton’s show on June 22.
Details about purchasing tickets for the other shows can be found on the Walmart AMP website.
The full schedule of announced shows at the Walmart AMP includes the following performers:
May 12: Primus and Mastodon
May 30: Dave Mathews Band (sold out)
June 2: Jim Gaffigan
June 12: Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case
June 22: Chris Stapleton (sold out)
June 25: The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore
June 26: Chicago and REO Speedwagon
July 4: July 4th Fireworks Spectacular featuring the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas
July 8: Thirty Seconds to Mars
July 12: Kenny Chesney
July 13: Janet Jackson
July 19: Modest Mouse
July 20: Halsey
July 21: Niall Horan
July 22: Kids Bop Live 2018
July 25: Pentatonix
July 29: Weezer with Pixies
July 31: Coheed and Cambria & Taking Back Sunday
Aug. 1: Luke Bryan
Aug. 11: G-Easy
Aug. 13: Slayer
Aug. 15: Keith Urban
Aug. 26: Charlie Puth
Sept. 2: Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band
Sept. 22: Alan Jackson
Sept. 25: 5 Seconds of Summer
Sept. 27: Needtobreathe
Oct. 3: Odesza