FAYETTEVILLE — Was there anything left to say that hadn’t been said or written about the Arkansas Music Pavilion by the day before it hosted its first show, Cake, at the AMP’s new home at the Washington County Fairgrounds?
During a preview and reception for media and sponsors early Thursday evening (April 19), Walton Arts Center president and CEO Peter Lane had little to say, but what he did, went a long way. Mostly, he just said “thanks” — thanks to Brian Crowne, the AMP’s general manager of operations and programming, who helped get the venue up and running inside two months after deciding to move to the fairgrounds from the Northwest Arkansas Mall.
Lane also said thanks to the Washington County Fair board, specifically president Kendall Pendergraft, who acted quickly (just outside one week) when negotiating the lease that led the AMP to relocate.
And Lane said thanks to Mark Richardson, the brains and brawn behind the move and set-up of the old AMP facilities on new territory.
“You are looking at the product of a lot of work from a lot of people,” Lane said Thursday.
“It feels almost permanent,” he said. “It feels like a concert venue — like it was meant to feel.”
In its current configuration, the AMP can seat 3,500 concertgoers, compared to 2,400 at the mall. Seating can be expanded further, to 6,500, for the April 28 Hank Williams Jr. show, and for acts of extreme popularity, capacity can be set at 8,000, Crowne said.
Also Thursday, a new show to the schedule — Luke Bryan on June 1. Bryan brings to nine the number of shows scheduled for the season so far. Some five to eight more yet-to-be-announced shows will round out the schedule, Crowne.
And that’s all he had to say.