By Greg Tavarez,
The possibility of moving the Arkansas Music Pavilion to a different host city, such as Rogers, in 2014 has caused concern to University Programs and UA students. A few days after the Walton Arts Center renewed the pavilion lease to remain at the Washington County Fairgrounds at least one more season, a university official said the Walton board might move the AMP farther north.
“University Programs are concerned about the Walton Arts Center board discussion of a possible move away from Fayetteville because of the effect it will have on UA and the students,” said Kalyn L. Oden, University Programs concerts chair. University Programs wants to avoid hosting concerts on campus because of the construction, and there are other difficulties around campus that will affect the students who live off campus, such as parking issues.
The location of the Arkansas Music Pavilion in 2014 will be discussed among the Walton Arts Center board after the concert season ends this month, but the venue will stay at its current location for at least another season, said Brian Crowne, Arkansas Music Pavilion general manager.
“We are only looking for a permanent location to build our permanent venue,” Crowne said. “We hope this decision will be made soon, so residents could start preparing for the change if it happens.”
Walton Arts Center officials want the music pavilion’s permanent home to be located near the interstate or a business district, if it’s possible, said Bethany Goodwin, Walton Arts Center public relations manager. Students and Fayetteville residents should know the venue might not be in the city in 2014 because the center has received calls from mayors interested in hosting the venue. One call was from Rogers’ Mayor Greg Hines, who raised the possibility of changing the AMP location to Pinnacle Hills Promenade.
The music venue has two shows remaining for the season before Walton Arts Center officials turn their attention in 2013 to find a permanent home for the music pavilion, Goodwin said. The venue will remain at the fairgrounds next year.
“The fairgrounds is great for the venue because it brings that concert feeling, Oden said. There is room for parking at the fairgrounds, but “if the venue moves to Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, there might be some angry residents and university students. Students will be affected by that decision because they don’t want to take that long drive.”
There are students who live about two minutes away from the pavilion, said Nathan C. Olson, UA freshman and music education major. “Students come because of the friendly atmosphere.”
If the change of location in 2014 is to Rogers “it will definitely affect the students and the number of people who attend future concerts,” Olson said. “The biggest audience is from campus,” and a venue in Rogers will “bring more cars to deal with. There won’t be any bus routes from campus.”
“The venue makes students feel at home during any concert,” said Jessica R. Camden, music education major and sophomore. If the AMP is moved to Rogers in 2014, “university students would not get the same feeling,” because Rogers is not Fayetteville, and they would not receive the same benefits the venue provides — such as free transportation and free concerts.
“Free transportation might be an issue for students like me because I don’t have a car,” Camden said. “I took the bus from the university to get to the concert.”
There isn’t much information released about the venue moving to a different location in 2014 because the Walton Arts Center board will not discuss the matter until the October concerts are completed, Oden said. The Walton Arts Center will inform University Programs when the decision is final.
“We are trying to avoid returning to campus in 2014 because the Greek Theater is not a great place to host a concert,” Oden said. “It is also very difficult to find an open date for a concert at Barnhill Arena because of all the events that take place there throughout the year, and “limited parking on campus does not help the cause either.”