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?
The brainchild of creative house TRIADIC, led by Roya Sachs, Mafalda Millies, and Elizabeth Edelman, and their partner Charles Attal of C3 Presents (where Millies also worked), which has produced Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, among other festivals — FORMAT was picked up by the Walton family after four years of development.
“The team met with Olivia, Tom, and Stuart Walton who are very invested in expanding the cultural landscape in the region. What they’ve already done is completely incredible,” Sachs told ARTnews recently. “The population has doubled there in the past 20 years, it’s rapidly changing. It’s really interesting to be in a market that is molding itself because allowing yourself to be a part of that mold actually allows you to hopefully have more of an impact in the region and in the future of its outlook.”