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The Momentary’s EDM festival ‘Momentous’ returns March 9

The Momentary first hosted Momentous in 2022, a one-night music festival that combined art and sound installations with electro-pop artists from around the globe. The 2022 campus-wide event brought artists like Arca and Four Tet to Bentonville, hoping to ignite the electric music scene in Northwest Arkansas. Newell said the Momentary constantly strives to bring diverse sounds like EDM to their stage. 

“This year, we started our Live At the RØDE House Music Series, which, you know, ranged from everything from EDM to jazz, to, you know, we had a Sadhu concert, all sorts of things,” Newell said. “And then we have our FreshGrass festival that happens every year, which is our bluegrass festival. We've done Momentous once in the past before. And then we have our Live on the Green series, which is where we have all of our bigger concerts on the Momentary green. So we really try to offer music kind of all the time at the Momentary, but keep it pretty diverse.”

Newell said that the goal of Momentous specifically was to provide an upscale EDM experience in an art space, which hasn’t been done before. 

“And so they started it in 2022. And then, you know, kind of, it's taken off from there,” Newell said. “So this year, you know, we're trying to expand and make it a bit bigger than it was last year or two years ago. So yeah, it's like, taking EDM, but really focusing on what electronic means, like when it comes to music. In addition, it's kind of like four different elements that we're really excited about. So there is the music component that's happening, and it's electronic music, but similar to how FreshGrass is not, you know, your traditional bluegrass music. We're trying to do that with Momentous. So like, even though it's electronic, Headline or Dirt Wire plays like stringed instruments, there's, you know, an act that plays a keytar. So there's instruments laced within electronic that kind of encompasses what electronic music can be. So there's gonna be multiple stages, there's lots of, you know, DJ sets, live instruments, plenty of food. And the two headliners that are going to be there are Dirt Wire and Mura Masa. And the night before, we're hosting an official Pre-Party in conjunction with FORMAT, that's hosting Francois K and Dombrance, and several other acts. So it's really exciting to kind of bring back those hits that were at FORMAT Festival this year and give them to the audience this year with Momentous.” *

*CORRECTION: The Momentary has stated the Pre-Party will no longer be presented in partnership with FORMAT. More information on the Pre-Party is available on their website.

In addition to musical acts like Dirt Wire and Mura Masa, Momentous 2024 will also include performance art and other installations- which Newell said will set it apart from your typical EDM festival. 

“Because you don't typically see performance art with, you know, EDM festivals, and we have exhibitions that are live,” Newell said. “So not only are they going to be experiencing this music festival, but there's also this visual art element to it. And because we have changing exhibitions every year, every time you attend Momentous, it's gonna look a little bit different. So I think that's really exciting and unique and what makes Momentous special. I actually went to my coworker and I asked her if she wanted to be a part of this festival. She said, Yeah, so the curator performance has, you know, worked with this guest curator Rin Peisert out of Chicago. And they're bringing Relative Intensity Noise, which is a series that she's been curating for a while that fuses elements of sound and movement, and live action together. And there's going to be… so, in addition to the music, there's going to be like ten different performance artists that you can see all over the grounds that you can go and watch their work and how they respond to sound and movement. And then there's going to be Rabbit Hole NWA is going to be serving food there. So in addition to, you know, having this great experience with the festival, you can also have really great food. So they're gonna they're going to be in the Arvest courtyard from about six until they're sold out. And then we're adding this really fun element called the container club. It's like a secret speakeasy that you have to find and there's going to be this password that you have to figure out. But once you find the container club, you won't be disappointed. It's going to be really really cool.”

Newell said while Momentous will be catering to current EDM lovers in northwest Arkansas, she’s hoping to expand that audience. 

“I've been an Arkansas native for a long time, since I was born,” Newell said. “And I'm from Little Rock, we have this small but strong EDM scene in Little Rock. And I've just watched it grow as I've lived in Arkansas. So when I moved to NWA, I was really, really shocked at the growing scene here. And there's several different community factors. There's like West and Watson, there's these great influences, like Backroom Arkansas, and Haus of Untz that are really building this community to make it, you know, more prominent, so there's, I would say, there's a big community. But it's just like, there is a need and a desire to have electronic music in Arkansas. It's just not really like, you know, when people think of electronic music, it's not really the first state that comes to mind. Like, it's more like Denver or NYC, but, but we have such a desire and a scene here and talent from the local DJs that it's really, really growing.”

If EDM isn’t your thing, Newell said the Momentary has a lot in store for 2024. 

“Our FreshGrass lineup just came out, so that's going to be happening May 17 through the 18,” Newell said. “We have some really exciting news that's going to come out this week and, and further into the month about our Live on the Green Series. I think that it's going to be our biggest one yet. But yeah, I think we have a lot of big things coming as they say. In addition to these kinds of bigger festivals, we're trying to, like, really focus on maybe some smaller stuff. So we have, we're starting a monthly nightclub, we're calling it Collide, where it's this, you know, beautiful fusion of me and Cynthia's work together, but we're going to try and create, you know, this kind of nightclub scene here at the Momentary and really focus in on our local artists and you know, so try and provide this platform for big artists and local artists whenever we can.”

For more information on Momentous, and how you can get tickets, you can visit the Momentary's website.

Ozarks at Large transcripts are created on a rush deadline by reporters. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of KUAF programming is the audio record.

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Sophia Nourani is a KUAF producer and reporter.
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