New Music Festival For Little Rock?

Some up-and-coming producers behind a new Little Rock, Ark., music festival are using a unique method to book talent and are asking people to vote for headliners for a 55,000-capacity show.

Little Rock, Arkansas
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– Little Rock, Arkansas

Cliff Aaron, one of the organizers of The Fulcrum music festival to take place March 17, told Pollstar that fans will choose the event’s headliners by voting for artists on the festival’s Facebook page.

“We’re transparently and whole-heartedly letting the fans pick who comes to the festival,” Aaron said.

Listed acts include Kelly Clarkson, Migos, The Roots, SZA, Solange,

Aaron has never handled an event of this size, but he has experience organizing shows in Little Rock, including last year’s Prince tribute “Purple Rain Revisited Experience.”

He is joined by fellow organizers Cliff and Susan Prowse, founders of the music production and artist development company Big Red Dog Studios, and Arkansas-based DJ Nick Hudson.

Aaron is not intimidated by the sheer scope of the event. “That part of it is easy,” he said regarding the logistics of packing a stage and 55,000 concertgoers into Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium. “All of that stuff is taken care of.”

The Fulcrum is not the city’s first music festival. The Arkansas capital was once home to Riverfest, which closed earlier this year.

Aaron blames Riverfest’s failure on its booking of outdated artists. His strategy to succeed where Riverfest faltered? Target college students on spring break and let them pick the headliner.

“We did a survey of every college in Arkansas to see who they would want to see,” Aaron said. “Of that list we will pick three to four of those artists as the headliners and the co-headliners with new talent.

“There will be a tattoo parlor, piercings, a half-pipe, we’ll bring in professional skaters. It’s totally geared towards college students,” he said.

It’s usually a tough go for untested promoters without the support of a major player like AEG or Live Nation to get good prices on major acts, including for holds. In fact, some of the artists listed in the polls said they’ve never discussed booking dates for The Fulcrum.

Multiple sources close to some of the artists listed on the website told Pollstar that the acts have never been approached to discuss performing at the festival.

A notice on the website said the acts listed are “strictly for polling the public to see who we may be bring.”

Aaron told Pollstar that some, but not all, of the artists are keeping the date open for the festival.

“There’s a couple artists that we have a hold on, they’re holding that date for us until a certain time, they just don’t want us giving their names out,” he said. “But there are three different artists that are A-list that we have right now waiting.”

The festival will announce its headliners Dec. 1.