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The Wall Street Journal: Walmart heirs to launch a music festival in Arkansas in a bid make the area a cultural destination

Several family members behind retailing giant Walmart Inc
 said Tuesday they are helping launch a new art and music festival in their hometown of Bentonville, Ark., in a bid to turn the city into a cultural destination.

The event, inspired by Texas’s Austin City Limits Festival, is called FORMAT (For Music + Art + Technology) and will take place the weekend of Sept. 23. Performances will include bands such as Rüfüs Du Sol, Phoenix, The Flaming Lips and The War on Drugs alongside art performances and immersive pieces by visual artists, including Nick Cave, Pia Camil and Jacolby Satterwhite.

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The event offers a rare glimpse into the cultural ambitions of the next generation of Walmart heirs. Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, has long been known in art circles as a major collector who opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville 11 years ago. The coming festival has her blessing, but it is being spearheaded by two of her nephews, Steuart and Tom Walton, and the latter’s wife, Olivia Walton.  

The younger Waltons are outdoorsy types who like to hike and ride bike trails. The brothers are also pilots and run a flight school as well as oversee real-estate ventures in the city. Olivia, a New Yorker and former NBC News reporter, moved to Arkansas soon after she and Tom married in 2016. Together, they are teaming up on FORMAT with a creative firm called Triadic as well as with C3 Presents, the concert promoter behind Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

An expanded version of this story appears on The Wall Street Journal

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