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Highway 62 Event Center looks to expand the nightlife in NWA

---Kody Ford

One of Fayetteville’s classic venues has been given a new lease on life. The Hwy 62 Event Center, located 3570 W. 6th St. just past Wal-Mart in Fayetteville, is out to bring a variety of entertainment to northwest Arkansas.

In the 70s, the venue was called "The Rink" and was the biggest concert hall in NWA. According to promoter Brandon Gonzo, the new crew found concert flyers in the building and were amazed to see greats like "Huey Lewis and the News", "Tina Turner", "Hall and Oates", and "Hank Williams Jr.", had graced the stage. The building has been owned by Tony Catroppa for the past 10 years and along with his son Tony Jr., who is in the process of taking over the family business, they transformed it to the new venue.

“Tony Catroppa has always had a desire to capitalize on its excellent location right off the interstate and his passion for live music. We are anxious to move forward and pick up where the Rink has left off,” Gonzo said.

The Hwy 62 Event Center is exactly that—an event center. It is 25,000 square ft with a capacity for 2,000 persons. It has a full bar, full kitchen, and special green rooms for artists. They have the largest gravel parking lot in the area so parking is not a problem.  To ensure that the venue complies with the Fayetteville noise ordinance, Tony C. has purchased all the surrounding properties.

The Event Center is for all ages unless otherwise specified and open for rental for concerts, state sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts or boxing fights, parties, etc. Connected to the Hwy 62 Event Center is the 62 Lounge, a 7,000 square ft bar that is open Fridays and Saturday with pool tables, lounge seating, full bar, and a dance floor. This is also available for rent and is perfect for fraternity and sorority parties. The Lounge is the official after-party to all events happening at the Hwy 62 Event Center.

The Hwy 62 Event Center has only been open for a couple months. Currently their biggest attraction is MMA fights, which occur on the last Saturday of every month. Each time they get bigger and better thanks to the help of TCB Fight Factory and Erin Kimbell said Gonzo. In between rentals and other events, they plan to hold concerts. Currently, the biggest concert they have had held is J. Holiday but are looking forward to Tracy Lawrence, Brian Odle, Will Gunselman, and the Honkies on July 18. Having worked at clubs like Blu Lounge and Froggy’s as well as working for 104.9 the X, the #4 alternative rock station in the country, Gonzo is no stranger to the music business. However, he feels that Hwy 62 Event Center is different.

“Throwing shows out here is totally different than my Dickson Street shows,” said Gonzo. “Out here it’s all ages so the high school kids can come and actually enjoy the NWA music scene. Secondly, it definitely has that ‘I'm at a concert’ vibe while maintaining key bar value.”

Tony Jr. started out as a disk jockey when he was 14 years of age. It was then when he realized he had a knack for giving the crowd what they wanted. Gonzo said, “It just so happens that Northwest Arkansas wants more live music, so just like when he was 14 Tony will give the masses exactly what they want.”
At the age of 29 Tony is in the process of taking over his family’s 11 different clubs, restaurants, bars, and now an event center. Since his hands were so full, he asked Gonzo to help with the Hwy 62 Event Center. “I love live music; it’s no secret,” said Gonzo. “I have worked for music venues, concert promotion companies, bands, assisted record labels, and I can’t get enough of it. Every day when I wake up I want to make a difference in Northwest Arkansas' music scene. I want to make an impact for everyone who enjoys the positive energy of seeing a truly amazing concert. This is something Tony Catroppa and I have in common and we both hope we can contribute to the music scene for Fayetteville and Arkansas in general.”

Gonzo said they aim to please and are open to any suggestions for concerts, events, etc. He said to email them at 62eventcenter@gmail.com or contact them on Myspace at www.myspace.com/hwy62eventcenter.



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