Over 12,000 people flocked to Bentonville’s The Momentary this past weekend (Sept. 22- 24) for the second-ever FORMAT Festival. While this year’s event was considerably different than last year’s, the totality of the festival stayed true to its original mission of bringing great art and music experiences to the Arkansas Ozarks. 


Though there was a weather delay that pushed back Friday’s performances and a weather evacuation following Alanis Morissette’s Saturday evening performance, the festival managed to stay on track with no amount of rain ruining anyone’s fun. 


Alanis Morissette by Ismael Quintanilla III

Alanis Morissette by Ismael Quintanilla III


With an impressive lineup including headliners LCD Soundsystem, Alanis Morissette and Leon Bridges, this festival also garnered a lot of community talent, with local and regional bands and artists such as Modeling, DJ Afrosia, Yuni Wa, Kari Faux and more taking to the stage. Last year’s event also showcased a lot of art from local artists, a continuation that has been integral to the festival’s mission. 


Modeling, a three-piece indie, art-rock band from Fayetteville, was one of many local groups and artists able to perform at this year’s FORMAT Festival. Made up of brothers Connor, Ryan and Cuinn Brogan, Modeling performed at The RØDE House and included incredible light displays throughout. 


Kari Faux by Grant Hodgeon

Kari Faux by Grant Hodgeon


“It was such a cool experience to play at FORMAT,” Ryan said. “This isn’t our first festival to play at, but it has been unlike anything else we’ve done. I’ve been really impressed with how well this event was put together despite having a venue change.” 


All of the Brogan brothers agreed that while the music scene in Northwest Arkansas is growing, FORMAT has increased the amount of attention on local artists and musicians in the region. 


“I think it’s really cool to see a pinpoint in Arkansas of all the really talented musicians that this state has to offer,” Cuinn said. 


Modeling is currently touring, with several shows in NWA, as well as a show planned for Dec. 15 in Little Rock at White Water Tavern. 


As important as it is for independent artists to be included in any festival, many more-well known acts also commented on the excitement and energy that FORMAT Festival brings to the area. 


Madeline Edwards, a performer based in Nashville, Tennessee, expressed her gratitude to the crowd, exclaiming that “this opportunity has only made my festival season even better.” London’s Lil Simz performed on Friday night, and thanked the crowd for “giving so much love.” Jackson Stell, better known by his stage name “Big Wild,” shared that FORMAT was a beautiful festival. 


Zach Springer by Roger Ho

Zach Springer by Roger Ho


For many regional artists, the ability to showcase their artwork or play in front of so many people locally was an incredible experience. This year’s arch entryway was titled, “The Wheelway,” and was designed by Bentonville local, Zach Springer, the owner of Gnargo Bike Co. Springer partnered with Pedal it Forward, an organization dedicated to donating bicycles to those in need. 


“At Gnargo, we reclaim bikes and help reinvent them into modern, assisted cargo bikes. I studied art and have been involved with multiple public sculptures, so when I saw this opportunity to be involved in FORMAT, I thought of a way to use wheels for the arch,” Springer said. 


This was Springer’s first time to attend FORMAT Festival, and according to him, the experience was a great honor and one that he will never forget. Springer also said that having the FORMAT Festival in Bentonville was even more special, as he is currently a resident of the city.


“This means a lot not only to me, but also to my wife and children as we are able to participate in this way. I am so excited for my two kids to be part of this and to be in areas with my children that are made possible by my and my wife’s art work,” Springer said. 


The Wheelway marked Springer’s first time in over a decade to have intentional artwork featured in the public, something that he says he has missed, though he and his wife are incredibly passionate about the work they do at Gnargo. 


Drag Me The Disco by Roger Ho

Drag Me to the Disco by Roger Ho


The Momentary is considerably smaller than the previous location on Sugar Creek, however space did not prevent FORMAT from including many of last year’s favorites, including exhibits such as “Drag Me to the Disco,” a barn decorated with images from Milan’s Toiletpaper Magazine, “Next Door/Nova Heat” and the Bizarre Bazaar.


New this year, ISTANBUL ‘74 presented “Flags For Future,” a project consisting of over 40 limited-edition flags created by artists, made with recycled plastic waste. With the mission to raise awareness of marine pollution, “Flags For Future” also supports earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and other areas affected through Biriz Solidarity Association. 


JRs Inside Out by Grant Hodgeon

JRs Inside Out by Grant Hodgeon


Another notable project featured at FORMAT is the Inside Out Project, a global platform that has united communities in photobooth portraits in public spaces. As a massive public art display, FORMAT-goers lined up to have their pictures taken and printed in massive forms. While JR was not in-attendance, the portraits were still plastered on a couple of walls put together around The Momentary Green. 


FORMAT Festival is presented by C3 Presents and partnered with The Momentary, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Visit Bentonville, OZ, Solana, Rambler Sparkling Water, Tyson Family Foundation, beardedgoat, White Claw and Cardenxe Sotol. For more information about the festival that aims to bring music, art and technology to the Arkansas Ozarks, visit its website.


Feature Photo: Atelier Sisu by Roger Ho
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