Bentonville, AR – The Momentary amphitheater completed a significant audio and lighting renovation in May 2022 that will support numerous festivals and attract larger acts throughout the rest of the year. Major bookings include Kraftwerk 3-D, Run the Jewels & Big Boi, The War on Drugs, and Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt.
The Momentary, a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is a contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville for visual, performing, and culinary arts. Occupying a decommissioned 63,000 square-foot cheese factory, the Momentary serves as a gathering place to relax, work, eat and drink, and discover art through programs, exhibitions, festivals, and more. The Momentary opened to the public on February 22, 2020. It was founded by the Walton family and based on the vision of Tom, Olivia, and Steuart Walton. The building was repurposed into a contemporary art space by Wheeler Kearns Architects.
Since The Momentary opened its doors in 2020, they have seen an influx of growth and attendance. The influx of events presented the need for an upgrade of audio and lighting equipment for the outdoor amphitheater, where they host various festivals, events, and notable acts. Stakeholders decided to invest in installing a festival-worthy stage and world-class PA and lighting rig. The Momentary Green features an amphitheater with structural elements from the Sydney Opera House. The Momentary’s opening director and former music programmer had connections with the Sydney Opera House and was presented with the opportunity to own the decommissioned tent in Bentonville. Stakeholders jumped at the chance knowing that the tent has had artists such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Chance the Rapper, Sydney Philharmonic, and more have performed under the Sydney tent.
David Embree, Production Manager at The Momentary tapped production house Gateway Studios & Production Services for the audio and lighting installation. Embree had his heart set on installing the new d&b XSL as a fully mobile rig that could load in and out as necessary for off–site shows. The PA allows for multiple uses of the system and the ability to deploy in different areas around the Momentary. The XSL cabinet is the newest addition to the d&b GSL and KSL systems and is recognized as the only modern line array systems to offer complete broadband directivity control.
“The rear rejection truly lived up to the hype. There’s just a detail and clarity even just hearing songs we regularly use for system check. The imaging and detail in clarity were just exceptional. I also really appreciated just how even the coverage was across the field. It’s a gentle roll–off of volume without comb filtering or strange EQ shading that happens with other systems.” Embree said. “It has allowed us to mix and trust that the system will deliver to all the seats, which is nice when you’re doing a show– it’s one less thing to worry about and makes for an easier day.”
Gateway built the systems directly from its headquarters in St. Louis with d&b representative, Todd Hartman. The Momentary provided a 3D rendering of the tent, which allowed d&b to input it into their R1 software. This ensured there would be even coverage throughout the venue. Gateway then pre–configured the system and built a custom interface for ease of use. All fixtures and cables were pre–labeled and ready for deployment in addition to the significant testing of amps. This preparation allowed for focused training on the d&b R1 software once on–site for installation. “We had a major rainstorm the morning of our first show post–install, and we could verify to the tenth degree what the angle on the main hangs were with just a glance on the computer screen rather than having to dig out equipment. Embree said.
With the completion of the latest install on the amphitheater, The Momentary is now a full d&b house with existing immersive audio soundscape throughout the galleries, courtyards, and now the outdoor venue. “The d&b products are like a German automobile – everything you touch down to the ergonomics just feels right and is well thought out.” Embree said.
Isaac Palmer, Lighting Designer, came off the road to work full time with The Momentary in February. As the organization has been primarily museum centric for the last 10–11 years, one of the large goals for increased production was to focus on performing arts and the ability to have a permanent lighting rig installed. Gateway provided an upgraded lighting package that included Ayrton Persepolis beams, spots, Elation DTW 700 blinders and Chauvet Strike 1 fixtures.
“The output, even without haze, has great beam definition and amazing colors at night. It’s been a major game–changer, especially with the IP–rated fixtures. We have a small team with limited local crew so being able to leave things up is ideal.” Palmer said. With the addition of a permanent lighting rig, the team has been positioned for success in the use of Palmer’s designs. He is currently working with Run the Jewels on replicating their usual plot for their date at The Momentary and has been able to add additional fixtures by renting from Gateway.
“Outside of the quality gear installed, the support we got throughout the setup was extraordinary. The learning curve is steep with a complex installation, so having that level of support from a production house with extremely seasoned national acts meant a lot to us and set us up for success.” Embree said.
About The Momentary: The Momentary, a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is a contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville for visual, performing, and culinary arts. Occupying a decommissioned 63,000 square–foot cheese factory, the Momentary serves as a gathering place to relax, work, eat and drink, and discover today’s art through programs, exhibitions, festivals, and more. The mission of the Momentary is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life and explore the unfolding story of contemporary American arts in an international context by actively commissioning and exhibiting outstanding works that explore new ideas and inspire action.
For more information, visit: themomentary.org