A new ownership group is taking over a venerable Fort Smith music venue, signaling the potential to bring heavyweight headlining acts to the River Valley.
A four-person group of developers and investors of marquee names in Steve Clark, Brian Crowne, Trent Goins and Sarah Sparks-Diebold, have purchased The Sound Room, at 817 Garrison Avenue, in downtown Fort Smith, and are making plans to renovate and transform the venue into a world class location for live music.
The venue, to be renamed “Majestic,” is slated to open later this summer, and will continue the resurgence of restorative developments in downtown Fort Smith, spotlighting the area as a feature location for arts, culture and tourism for the region.
The group consists of major players that Fort Smith residents and fans of live music in the northwest Arkansas area are sure to be familiar with.
Crowne is a Fort Smith native and current Fayetteville resident. He is the owner of George’s Majestic Lounge on Dickson Street in Fayetteville and is vice president of the Walmart AMP. Crowne has spent the last 30 years working in the music and event industry first as a musician and then as a venue owner and promoter thru his entity The Crowne Group, LLC. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Bikes, Blues and BBQ Board of Directors and was recently awarded the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism Henry Heritage Award.
Clark is a familiar name to Fort Smith residents and is perhaps best known as the co-founder of The Unexpected project in the city. Clark is also the co-founder of other notable projects and entities like the Future School of Fort Smith and 64.6 Downtown. He has also been ranked as one of Arkansas’ top business innovators and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas in April 2015. Recently, Clark was awarded the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Community Development.
Goins is a lifetime Fort Smith resident and current CEO of OK Foods. He is a co-founder of the Peacemaker Festival in Fort Smith, serves as vice president of 64.6 Downtown and is active in Feeding America programs across Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Sparks-Diebold of Fayetteville is president of SSD Holdings, LLC, which has investments in retail, real estate, agriculture, finance and manufacturing. Her career spans over 20 years in consumer- packaged goods sales, marketing and manufacturing. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Arkansas, Walton College of Business, member of the Board of Directors of the Walton Arts Center Foundation, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Ambassador Family and regularly consults with entrepreneurs around the Southern part of the United States.
The group praised Fort Smith’s location on the map, calling it a “unique destination,” due to it being centrally located between Austin, Texas, Nashville, Kansas City and New Orleans — which makes it a convenient stop for touring musicians.
Crowne is responsible for bringing in such heralded acts as Jason Isbell, Robert Cray, Derek Trucks, Leftover Salmon, Coco Montoya, Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood, Cross Canadian Ragweed, North Mississippi All-stars, Robert Randolph, Fitz and the Tantrums, STRFKR, Animal Collective, Luke Combs, Band of Horses, and Highly Suspect.