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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy photo Beer, music and tech return to Walmart AMP as the venue opens its doors for third annual AMP Fest event, supporting Walton Arts Center education initiatives.

For the third year of the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion's music, beer and technology festival, just a few minor tweaks have been made. Because if it's not broken, don't fix it.

Though the event is a fun festival atmosphere, the AMP Fest is actually a fundraiser for Walton Arts Center's arts education programs and raised more than $80,000 in both its inaugural and second years.

FAQ

AMP Fest 2018

WHEN — 4-9 p.m. Saturday

WHERE — Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers

COST — $45, includes collectible beer sampling glass and access to all activation experiences; VIP tickets, $90

INFO — 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org

FYI

AMP Fest 2018

Music Schedule

Mainstage Lounge

4 p.m. — Will Brand

5 p.m. — Goose

6:30 p.m. — Dazz & Brie

8 p.m. — The Mixtapes

Bike Rack Records stage

4 p.m. — The Silver Lining

5 p.m. — Kevin Keihn

6 p.m. — Will Gunselman

7 p.m. — Jamie Lou & the Hullabaloo

Tech Activations:

Immersive VR Bike Experience • 360 Photobooth • Immersive Sports VR Experience • Cox Sports Lounge • PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR

Food Vendors:

The Purple Banana • IDK Café • Hickory Hollow Smokehouse • Smokin’ Hawg • Wright Brand Bacon • Wicked Wood Fired Pizza

"What I love about this is it lets the AMP let its hair down. It's tough to be anything but laid back when you have beer involved," muses Bike Rack Brewing co-founder Jeff Charlson. "And the technology part of it is kind of a cool adder because it just brings in a focus on youth."

Bike Rack has been involved in the festival since its inception, but this year is also the presenter of one of the three music stages as the brewery has expanded into the music world. The stage will feature local and regional acts, as the brewery does when it hosts musicians, because the "support local" mentality should also extend to music, Charlson says.

"Our hope is some day, one of these 10 artists will be an artist that will actually play at the AMP," Charlson shares. "We're obviously a brewery first, but we're in the experience business. Because having a craft beer is an experience, and listening to a great song is an experience. And in some ways, they're not all that different; they can emotionally move you. You have too many craft beers, and it'll really emotionally move you."

Another new facet to this year's festival is its playing host to Master Brewer and Guinness Global Brand Ambassador, Fergal Murray. The Dublin native comes to Northwest Arkansas to share his expertise and advice with festival-goers as part of a "Find Fergal" activation taking place during the event. But first, he answered a few questions for 'SUP!

Q. Are there questions it seems you're always asked, no matter the situation? What is your response/advice to those questions?

A. Well, with my Guinness hat on -- when asked why it takes so long to pour -- answer is time is not an issue when delivering perfection.

In general? What makes a great beer? The science, art and craft of making beer takes passion, time and understanding, and that quality has always got [to be] foremost on the brewer's mind.

Q. What do you feel it takes to have a successful microbrewery or craft beer product if your region seems to have a surplus of breweries?

A. Now the first part of this question, I can safely say, is about being clear on your business plan, understanding your market and consumers, delivering quality beer every time. The second portion, in truth, good business management of the plan, sound provenance around the brewery story and, of course, passion around the beers that you craft.

Q. The AMP Fest is entering its third year and has successfully blended music, technology and beer into a festival atmosphere for people who love one, or all of the pillars. What is it about beer and the craft of brewing you suppose makes it a good fit for a festival also incorporating the other two elements?

A. A festival without great local craft brewers isn't a festival. Why? Well, brewers are clearly the most creative, enterprising and fun going folk (isn't that well known) and well a tasty, glorious poured beer is a perfect beverage to go with a gathering of great folk (responsibly, of course).

NAN What's Up on 09/07/2018

Print Headline: Three Cheers

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