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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Image This artist's rendering shows an expanded main entry plaza with more concession stands and restrooms, part of a project announced this fall at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion.

When the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion opened at its permanent location in Rogers in June 2014, the first thing on the to-do list was to make a name for itself with both patrons and performers.

Mission accomplished, says AMP spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson. "We've gotten on the map."

By way of example, Wilson points to country music artist Kenny Chesney, who, after performing at the AMP its first year, said he wanted to come back -- and has performed there twice since then.

Now, the AMP needs to offer more ticketing and seating options, and an expansion announced in November will accomplish that, Wilson says.

Construction will begin in November 2019 -- at the end of the next year's concert season -- and be finished in time for the 2020 season, says Peter Lane, president and chief executive officer of the Walton Arts Center, owner of the AMP.

The $13.9 million expansion will include:

• A new box office.

• An expanded main entry plaza with more concession stands and restrooms.

• A covered plaza at the top of the lawn that will add 15,000 square feet of viewing and event space.

• Two outdoor plazas for two concession stands and 56 restroom stalls.

• A reconfigured entrance on the north side of the venue.

• Tiered seating at the front of the lawn for 1,200 people.

The concert venue will increase its capacity from 10,000 to 11,000, meaning more acts may consider performing there, Wilson says. Some entertainers will not perform at venues that don't seat more than 10,000 people. Although the venue is adding capacity for 1,200 people at the front of the lawn, it is losing about 200 seats elsewhere.

The covered plaza will give the AMP the capacity to host private events during shows, adds Lane, and the tiered seating will have portable chairs so it can go with or without chairs depending on the event. The reconfigured entrance is intended to make it easier for people to get in and out of the venue.

Also new is a five-year partnership with Live Nation Entertainment, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company, which will make it the AMP's preferred concert promoter.

"This means that Live Nation will have the preferred rights to promote live music events here at the Walmart AMP," Lane says.

The partnership is in effect and will allow the venue to continue to bring in big-name performers. Live Nation has brought in acts such as Kesha with Macklemore and Keith Urban, Wilson says.

Lane explains the AMP has worked with Live Nation since 2014, but now has a formal agreement for the company to promote many shows. The AMP will remain an open venue, meaning other promoters will still be allowed to promote shows there, he says.

More than 200,000 people attended events at the AMP this year, says Brian Crowne, vice president of the venue.

NAN What's Up on 12/16/2018

Print Headline: More Bang For Their Bucks

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