C3 Presents Launches FORMAT, New Music, Art & Tech Fest In Arkansas’ Ozarks

The lineup includes Rüfüs Du Sol, Phoenix, Herbie Hancok, Khruangbin, Beach House, The War On Drugs, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Comet is Coming, Moses Sumney and more.

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Up, Up & Away: Artist Doug Aitken’s “New Horizon,” a mirrored hot-air balloon, will be part of Bentonville, Ark.’ inaugural FORMAT Festival, which integrates music, art and technology. (Photo by Jamie Barro/Courtesy FORMAT)

C3 Presents, in partnership with TRIADIC, today announced the launch of FORMAT, a forward-thinking, interdisciplinary festival merging music, art and technology slated for Sept. 23-25 in the northwest Arkansas town of Bentonville in the Ozarks.

The impressive lineup includes Nile Rodgers & CHIC, The War On Drugs, Herbie Hancock, The Flaming Lips, The Comet Is Coming, Thundercat, Elle King, Rüfüs Du Sol, Khruangbin, Phoenix, Jungle, Fatboy Slim, Moses Sumney, Robert Glasper, Jamila Woods, Beach House, Ritchie Hawtin, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, and Genesis Owusu, among others.

“This is one of my dream projects,” said Charles Attal, C3 Presents’ co-founder and partner, as well as an avid art enthusiast. “It’s a project that’s deep in my heart. I really wanted to do something different and found really good partners in TRIADIC, who are wonderful at execution and production in the art space. They combined forces and found a great site and we have good local partners and it all came together.”

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The War on Art: The War On Drugs, who will perform at FORMAT, are pictured on stage at Verti Music Hall Berlin in December 2018 in Berlin (Photo by Andrea Friedrich/Redferns)

FORMAT’s music performances will be enhanced by art installations and experiences from world-renowned artists, who include: Doug Aitken, Nick Cave (visual artist), Jacolby Satterwhite, Pia Camil, Marinella Senatore, assume vivid astro focus, Maurizio Cattelan’s Toiletpaper Magazine, John Gerrard in collaboration with Plastikman, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Sissel Tolaas, Charlap Hyman & Herrero (full line-up below) .

It’s clear from the programming, which features acclaimed musicians spanning genres and generations and a cross-section of acclaimed contemporary artists, that a lot of thought and planning went into the programming.

“FORMAT represents a new type of festival, placing visual and performing arts on the same plane as live music, creating a fluid and unified experience, ” said Elizabeth Edelman, Mafalda Millies, and Roya Sachs, co-founders of TRIADIC, in a joint statement. “Visitors will encounter large-scale installation art and unconventional venues created by a range of internationally recognized artists, alongside an eclectic roster of musical acts. We hope to foster curiosity and discovery, and produce a memorable event on this beautiful, hidden stretch of land in Bentonville.”

In addition to TRIADIC’s Sachs, Millies, and Edelman, C3 Presents’ Bobby Clay, Sophie Lobl, and Jazmyn Griffin also worked on the programming. C3 is owned by Live Nation.

1 FORMAT festival site Sugar Creek Airstrip Photo by Zak Heald
Prepare For Landing: The Sugar Creek Airstrip in Bentonville, Ark., will host the FORMAT Festival (Photo by Zak Heald/FORMAT)

The Ozark festival site, the Sugar Creek Airstrip (above), is a grassy 250-acre site surrounded by woods in Bentonville. The boutique festival, according to Attal, is looking to draw between 10,000-15,000 with on-site camping options and hotels in the region. Bentonville sits roughly 25 miles from Fayetteville, Ark., a two-hour drive from Tulsa, Okla., and is three hours from Kansas City, Mo., and Little Rock, Ark.

OZ, a local partner, is dedicated to inspiring the exploration of Northwest Arkansas. “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,” said Olivia Walton, of OZ Art, in a statement. Walton is also board chair of Bentonville’s world-class museum Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its contemporary music satellite The Momentary, which will host performances, programming and events during the festival.

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Art Party: The Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville which will have complimentary programming during FORMAT. (Photo courtesy Crystal Bridges)

C3’s Attal serves on the boards of Austin’s Contemporary Art Museum and Ballroom Marfa, a contemporary art museum in the rural Texas town of Marfa. When asked if Bentonville resembles Marfa, another town with a vibrant art scene, Attal says they’re different. “It’s the Ozarks, there’s more rolling hills and there’s a lot of activity going on in Northwest Arkansas right now. It’s one of the fastest-growing areas in the region.”

Attal has a life-long penchant for art, which is, in part, inherited. “My father was an art dealer, so I grew up in the space,” he says. “I was doing rare book and document auctions in Los Angeles when I was 22 years old. So it’s in my blood. When I’m not producing concerts, I’m home researching art and new emerging artists.” With FORMAT years in the making and finally coming to fruition, Attal sums it all up succinctly: “It’s gonna be a killer.”

Fans can sign up for a presale code via email or SMS (U.S. only) at format-festival.com. Presale tickets go on sale Friday, April 22 at 10 a.m. CT.

Format Lineup 2022