A new festival that’ll look to bridge the worlds of music, art, and technology is coming to Arkansas this September.
Called FORMAT (an acronym of “For Music + Art + Technology”), the festival will run September 23–25 on “250 acres of forest-enclosed green land” at the Sugar Creek Airstrip in Bentonville, Arkansas.
It bills itself as “a multidisciplinary experience, combining a mind-expanding music lineup featuring some of the greatest acts on the festival scene with immersive installations by dynamic visual and performing artists, site-specific commissions, and architectural interventions,” according to a release.
FORMAT is founded by events company Triadic (Mafalda Millies, Roya Sachs, and Elizabeth Edelman), and will be produced in partnership with C3 Presents, which produces Lollapalooza in Chicago and Austin City Limits in Texas, among other live festivals. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its satellite contemporary art space the Momentary have also signed on as official partners, with local Arkansas company OZ Events.
Among the musical acts included in this year’s line-up are Beach House, Phoenix, Rüfüs Du Sol, The War on Drugs, The Flaming Lips, Khruangbin, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Jungle, and Herbie Hancock. In addition to the regular main and side stages typical at festivals like this, FORMAT will also include “alternative settings where musicians will perform—hidden forest enclaves, an open-air pavilion, a converted disco barn, and a multi-room speakeasy,” per the release.
For its part, Crystal Bridges and the Momentary have helped secure a roster of top-tier artists who will also present work and performances during FORMAT. Artist Nick Cave, who will be the subject of a major retrospective opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago next month, will stage a performance involving his legendary “Soundsuits,” with composer Jlin and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Doug Aitken’s mirrored hot-air balloon, New Horizon, will travel from the Momentary to the FORMAT site as part of a kick-off event hosted at the festival that will feature a performance by The War on Drugs.
The New York–based Performa biennial will produce a performance of Jacolby Satterwhite’s PAT, his musical collaboration with Nick Weiss, that will be accompanied by a multi-channel video installation. (PAT takes its name from Satterwhite’s late mother Patricia, who left behind numerous a capella recordings and has been a major source of inspiration in the artist’s practice.)
Other art-related interventions include a “disco madhouse” by artist Maurizio Cattelan and his Toiletpaper magazine, a speakeasy by Justin Lowe & Jonah Freeman, a textile sculpture by Pia Camil, a light installation by Marinella Senatore, and an A.I. collaboration between John Gerrard and Richie Hawtin, among other projects. New York gallerist Nicola Vassell will serve as the inaugural Cube Grant curator, where she will work with a visual artist to design an exterior scrim.
On view at Crystal Bridges during FORMAT will be its first exhibition dedicated to fashion, titled “Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour,” guest curated by Michelle Tolini Finamore.
In a statement, Olivia Walton, the board chair of both Crystal Bridges and the Momentary Board Chair, said, “With FORMAT in OZ, we’ve tried to capture all the things that make Northwest Arkansas one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic ecosystems in the country—unparalleled access to outdoor recreation, accessible art everywhere you turn, and a culture of innovation as boundless and wild as the Ozark mountains. We’re excited that FORMAT will help us introduce this corner of the Heartland to art and music fans from around the world.”
Tickets for FORMAT will go on sale on Friday, April 22. The full line-up follows below.