Can a group of contemporary art curators and tastemakers turn the Arkansas town of Bentonville into an art world hot spot?
That is the bid behind an ambitious art and music festival that will take place from September 23 to 25.
For Music, Art and Technology (Format), as the event is called, has: support from heavyweight event planner C3 Presents, who is behind Lollapalooza and Bonaroo and organized Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies.
For the event, C3 Presents is partnering with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, founded in 2007 by Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton, and the Momentary, Crystal Bridges’ contemporary art satellite space.
Format will unfold over four days and three nights and will include performances, installations and other experiences with a potential turnout of 15,000 attendees.
The fine arts section curated by Triadic, the firm formed by Elizabeth Edelman, Mafalda Millies and Roya Sachs, former curator of the Lever House Art Collection in New York, will feature works by Nick Cave, Jacolby Satterwhite, Doug Aitken and Assume Video Astro Focus, among others.
The festival’s headliners also include musicians Herbie Hancock, Phoenix, the Flaming Lips and Fatboy Slim.
The idea for the festival had been in the works for years, Sachs told Artnet News. “But we only recently found the ideal home for the festival.”
Sachs says she, Edelman and Millies spent two years getting to know Bentonville and refining their vision for the festival.
“Now, in 2022, we will finally be able to produce the show,” she said.
“Bentonville is completely unique in the way culture and community are intertwined,” Sachs said. “I am always amazed by what I discover when I am there, from performances in an abandoned cheese factory that has been converted into a museum [the Momentary]to James Turrell Skyscapes.”
Format kicks off with a concert by the War on Drugs at the Momentary, from which Doug Aitken will launch a mirrored hot air balloon, which will then float five miles to the festival site at Sugar Creek Airstrip, located on 250 acres of forest land.
In the meantime, in another case, a group of Nick Cave’s signature sound suits will be worn by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff drum line.
The festival will feature traditional main and side stages for headline acts, as well as alternative settings where musicians will perform: forest enclaves, open-air pavilions, a converted disco bar, and a multi-room speakeasy.
“We’ve tried to capture all the things that make Northwest Arkansas one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic ecosystems in the country.”† Olivia WaltonCrystal Bridges and Momentary board chairman, in a statement.
“Our hope is that people don’t just come to the festival site for the weekend, but that they can discover all that the magical region of OZ, as Northwest Arkansas is known, has to offer,” said Sachs.
Ticket packages start at $275.
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