Long, Dry Summer

Long, Dry Summer

‘You Oughta Know,’ AMP shows unlikely until 2021


“It goes without saying that this is something that none of us have ever had to face, so it is something that we didn’t necessarily have plans in place for,” Jennifer Wilson begins. Wilson is the public relations director for the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville and the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. The former ended its 2019-20 season early in response to the coronavirus pandemic and now the latter is one show away (as of publication) from a nonexistent 2020 season.

“When all of this started, the first thing we started doing was looking at scenarios,” Wilson recounts. “‘The rest of the WAC season ends early, the AMP season goes on as planned, the WAC starts as planned in fall; there’s no AMP season starting at the beginning of the season; we have half a season…’ So we kind of knew that this was a possibility, but I think it’s also one of those things that you always hope it’s not going to happen.”

Grunge icon Alanis Morissette was set to make her AMP debut on June 13. Nearly the entire 2020 season for the Rogers amphitheater has been rescheduled, postponed or canceled due to covid-19.
(Courtesy Photo)

Country five-piece Old Dominion and iconic jam rock band Phish were the first two shows of the AMP’s 2020 season to announce their adjustments: cancellation and rescheduling, respectively. Both of those reports dropped on May 1.

The deluge of cancellations, changes and uncertainty that came in their wake has been both constant and erratic in the month since. So sudden are these announcements that between a 3 p.m. Wednesday phone call with Wilson and an 11 a.m. chat the following morning, three shows had changed their schedules, and Wilson hadn’t even known of one of the impending postponements during the first call.

“The summer concert season was really something that people were looking forward to as, ‘At least we have this coming. We know this is going to be normal.’ So I think it’s been really hard for the fans; it’s really hard for us,” she admits. “We love having people in the venue. We just finished an expansion; we were really wanting to show it off. It’s hard for us, too, because we’re fans of live music and live performances.”

“Large format and smaller format tours are coming to a stop nationwide and globally. I think health and safety are No. 1 for all parties in the live event industry. Patrons, staff, artists and crew comes first,” adds Brian Crowne, vice president of the AMP. “There is no way to put together a national tour with the potential of losing many markets around the country. The costs to take a large production on the road just make that cost prohibitive.”

At the time of publication, the Backstreet Boys are the most recent 2020 act to reschedule their visit to Rogers to next year. Backstreet will make their AMP debut on June 17, 2021.
(Courtesy Photo)

That’s the piece that may be easy to forget, Wilson notes. All the cancellations and postponements aren’t show announcements, they’re tour announcements.

“You’re not looking at one venue and its safety protocols, you’re looking at all the venues and protocols across the country and then trying to decide if a tour is still viable for the year,” she points out.

But one positive of changing a whole tour is that some artists and their teams have just shifted the whole thing to next year. Already, Maren Morris, Steely Dan, Phish, Dave Matthews Band and Backstreet Boys have moved their tours to 2021 and kept dates at the AMP. Of the postponed shows, the venue is hoping to secure more dates for those artists in 2021 as well.

“I think we always have to look for silver linings,” Wilson insists. “So right now, we may not have a season, but our next season is shaping up to be really strong again.”

When thinking about the ripple effect of an entire canceled season, though, it may be hard to remain optimistic. Wilson acknowledges the AMP and WAC both are in the same tough spot as many nonprofits — and businesses — where there’s no way to know what’s going to happen next. They do know, for instance, there will be a shortfall in next year’s educational and community programming because, as a nonprofit venue, the proceeds of the mega tours at the AMP support that programming at WAC that serves thousands each year.

The teams are looking for ways in the present to address this future concern. But a ray of hope remains as the community itself continues to support the institution in spite of economic anxiety, Wilson reveals warmly.

“Especially at Walton Arts Center, when we started announcing show cancellations or rescheduled or postponements, the patrons had the opportunity to donate the price of their ticket, or a portion of the price of their ticket, back to Walton Arts Center,” she shares. “And we’ve received more than $30,000 just from people saying, ‘You know what? Keep $5 out of this ticket; keep the whole price of this ticket to support the mission.’ It just shows that people believe in and support what we do.”


Go Online!



waltonartscenter.org/AMP/ticketing-updates will reflect all current information for show changes, the status of postponed shows and refund information. A 30-day window for requesting refunds will be implemented for each rescheduled show when the new date is announced. Tickets for all canceled shows will be refunded.



Walmart AMP

2020 Changes

*Kenny Chesney — June 11 — Postponed

Alanis Morissette — June 13 — Postponed

Steely Dan — June 17 — Rescheduled for June 20, 2021

Journey and Pretenders — June 22 — Canceled

The Black Crowes — June 24 — Postponed

Chicago — June 28 — Postponed

Melanie Martinez — July 8 — Canceled

Megadeth and Lamb of God — July 14 — Postponed

*Rascal Flatts — July 17 — Canceled

For King and Country — July 19 — Canceled

*Old Dominion — July 23 — Canceled

Lindsey Stirling — July 28 — Postponed

Phish — July 29 — Rescheduled for July 28, 2021

Sam Hunt — Aug. 6 — Canceled

Nickelback — Aug. 8 — Canceled

The Avett Brothers — Aug. 9 — Postponed

Kidz Bop — Aug. 15 — no change as of publication

Matchbox Twenty — Aug. 18 — Postponed

Backstreet Boys — Aug. 23 — Rescheduled for June 17, 2021

Disturbed — Aug. 26 — Postponed

Incubus — Sept. 2 — Canceled

Dave Matthews Band — Sept. 22 — Rescheduled for Sept. 21, 2021

Maren Morris — Oct. 9 — Rescheduled for June 5, 2021

*These concerts were part of the Country Megaticket, which also included tickets to Jason Aldean (July 31), Chris Young (Aug. 21) and Lady Antebellum (Aug. 27), which had not yet gone on sale to the public. These three shows are also canceled.

Categories: Music