Bentonville, Arkansas may not ring a bell for most people, but this weekend the town hosted a major, new music, art and technology festival: FORMAT. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Bentonville is the home of Walmart and, over the past ten years, the Walton family has done their utmost to invest in the rapidly growing region, from paving mountain biking trails to setting up Crystal Bridges, a world-class art museum. Why not bring a music, arts, and tech festival to town?
Rhinestone cowboy boots stand alongside elegant Hollywood gowns and streetwear pieces at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s first ever fashion exhibition, Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour, which opens this weekend in Bentonville, Arkansas.
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A new festival is coming to Northwest Arkansas courtesy of a partnership among OZ Brands, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary.
FORMAT — “For Music + Art + Technology” — is planned to take place Sept. 23-25 on the private Sugar Creek Airstrip, a place with 250 acres of forest-enclosed green land, just six minutes from downtown Bentonville. Tickets will go on sale Friday.
Rather than describing us as “the next Austin,” the Walton brothers painted a picture of a place that’s to middle America what Colorado is to the American West–a less crowded state that offers abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, an emphasis on the arts and fine, reasonably priced cuisine. Such a lifestyle not only attracts visitors, it also attracts smart, talented new residents.
Ambitious young college graduates are looking for an affordable home base where they can build their families and careers. Here’s a place that may not (yet) be on their list: Arkansas. For the past decade, coastal metros like New York and San Francisco dominated the landscape for the upwardly mobile, but the main story became how to cope with the high cost of living in those cities. One solution was to move into lower-cost neighborhoods, further pushing up rents and home prices. Others moved to lower-cost metros that shared some of the characteristics of those high-cost places; Austin, Texas, was one of the biggest beneficiaries of that trend.
Bentonville is probably most famous for being the birthplace of Walmart, but the growing Arkansas city offers more than just big-box history. Museum fans can check out the Museum of Native American History, as well as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its satellite, the Momentary. There are also a number of trails and lakes in the area to get your nature fix.