ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA) — At the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion or AMP in Rogers, you’d normally hear music echoing throughout the amphitheater.
But right now, it’s more likely you’ll hear construction.
“We’re known as a really cool boutique amphitheater, so we’re looking for ways to improve upon that,” said Jennifer Wilson, the director of public relations for the Walton Arts Center and the Walmart Amp.
With the new year comes a new look, with features everyone can enjoy.
Wilson said, “What we’ve done is focus on is expanding on the experience for artists but also for our patrons as well.”
Check out what’s in store for this music venue.
For patrons, a new box office with more windows and main entry plaza twice as big a the current one—complete with more concession stands and restrooms.
Now let’s take a look at the back; A new 15,000 square ft. covered area,
and on either side of that, two new plazas with more concession stands and 56 more restroom stalls.
And on the northside, a new gate at the top of the hill to make getting in and out easier.
For artists, the new AMP will feature an expanded dock, catering kitchen and artist wing backstage to better accommodate larger tours.
But, the venue wasn’t always this expansive.
“It was called the Northwest Arkansas Music Pavilion, but it was on the parking lot of the Northwest Arkansas mall,” said Chaddie Platt. “It was just a big white tent in the parking lot and we opened for The B-52’s there and KC and the Sunshine Band.”
Chaddie Platt has been in the band Ultra Suede for 25 years.
She performed at the AMP when it had significantly fewer facilities.
“I remember changing in my car or just sitting in my car for some air conditioning during breaks,” said Platt.
Platt said the difference between that stage and the current AMP layout is night and day.
“Nothing compared to the newer AMP,” she said. “It was really nice when we played there. We were shown the green rooms and they were really beautiful, and the stage was huge. I mean you’re looking at that vast expansive seats, so, quite a different experience than the first AMP.”
Wilson said, “We’re one of those smaller venues but we can still get some great acts in. It also feels really intimate in there. You don’t feel like your in this huge space and you can’t see anything.”
Wilson calls it an anchor attraction.
She said, “We bring in the bands who stay here, we also then bring the fans in who love the shows, who stay around in the area, who eat at the restaurants around here. It’s an economic driver.”
“It’s going to be wonderful to have that opportunity here and not have to take that long drive, get a hotel room, all that stuff.”
With an expanded venue comes a whole new set of acts.
“We’ve announced 20 shows to date and it’s anywhere from Kenny Chesney coming back to new acts,” Wilson said. “We have Alanis Morissette coming in, we have Incubus we just announced, we have wide variety and we also have more concerts coming.”
This continues to put Northwest Arkansas on the map.
Platt said, “The first time I saw in my Entertainment Weekly magazine a tour concert schedule that mentioned the AMP in Arkansas, I was like ‘we have really hit the big time now.’”
The expansion is set to be completed by the end of May, and you’ll be able to enjoy the first concert in the new space in June.