Wal-Mart sponsors the Arkansas Music Pavilion with $2.5 million gift

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 57 views 

The new Arkansas Music Pavilion under construction in Rogers will be named the Walmart AMP, following a $2.5 million gift from the retailer on Tuesday (Feb. 11). The Walton Arts Center announced the gift which includes additional capital support and services over the next decade to ensure the venture’s success.

“Northwest Arkansas is quickly becoming known for its arts, culture, and high quality of life,” Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said in a statement. “By creating a permanent home for the Walmart AMP in our community, we are making this region an even better place to live and work. Walmart is proud to support this state-of-the-art facility, which will be just down the road from the first Walmart store, and to help bring additional economic opportunity to the surrounding area.”

The venue will be the largest permanent outdoor amphitheater in the state and is slated for completion in June. The new amphitheater will have improved technical capabilities, improved access, an increased seating capacity of 7,000, (3,000 covered and 4,000 lawn seats), greater lines of sight, air-conditioned restrooms, and the largest stage house in the state.

The new facility is under construction in the Pinnacle Hills area of Rogers.

“With the generous support of Walmart, the new venue will position Northwest Arkansas as a key stop on concert tours in the mid-south. The outdoor amphitheater will provide a fun and comfortable concert-going experience, attract bigger artists, and serve a broader audience to create more economic activity around the region,” said Peter Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center.

The Walton Arts Center purchased the AMP in February 2011 as part of an expansion strategy to meet the growing demand for more arts and entertainment in the region. Previous owners were Suzie Stephens and Brian Crowne. The AMP, now in its eighth year, has been located at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville and the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Walmart joins the Lifetime Founders, Johnelle Hunt who donated the land and $3 million interest-free loan as well as the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation who donated $2.5 million — these gifts include naming rights for the Hunt Pavilion and Walker Plaza, respectively.

The new facility is set to open in the Summer of 2014, and country music singer Jake Owen is scheduled for a Sept. 11 concert.