Jim King, AEG Presents' EVP of live music, explains the original thinking behind the creation and launch of the company’s highly successful new London festival
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Promoter AEG has hailed the positive response from fans, industry and the local community to its new Victoria Park festival, which debuts this weekend
By Jon Chapple on 23 May 2018
Jim King, AEG Presents’ EVP of live music, has praised the “phenomenal” welcome given to the inaugural All Points East festival, which debuts in London this weekend.
“In terms of positive PR, ticket sales, as well as the welcome from the local community, we’re well ahead of where we thought we’d be,” says King, whose busy week also includes the UK leg of the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour, promoted by AEG, which kicked off at London Stadium last night. “If you’d have offered us [to be in this] position before we started this project, we’d 100% have taken it.”
King tells IQ the promoter is expecting around 200,000 people to attend the festival, which has a daily capacity of 40,000, and sister event APE Presents. “Nick Cave [on 3 June] has sold out – that’s been a phenomenon in how well it’s sold – the National [2 June] is about to sell out, and all the other days are looking strong, too,” he says. “For year one, that’s phenomenal.”
All Points East – announced last October on the back of AEG being awarded a five-year exclusive on east London’s Victoria Park – follows roughly the format of the company’s successful British Summer Time (BST) event in Hyde Park, combining two weekends of music with a BST-style free-to-access midweek offering.
The first music event, All Points East Festival, is headlined by LCD Soundsystem, the XX and Björk and runs from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 May, with APE Presents taking place the following weekend. (Catfish and the Bottlemen will headline APE Presents day one, on 1 June.)
“We’re putting our best foot forward to deliver an event we really believe in”
All Points East in the Neighbourhood will fill the midweek gap with a programme of free-to-access entertainment, including an outdoor cinema, aerial circus performances and workshops, tennis, yoga, spoken-word poetry, children’s storytelling, bars, street food and live music.
Despite the surface similarities, King says APE isn’t patterned after BST – while both share AEG’s “signature way of delivering events”, with “high-level production and customer service”, he explains, planning APE wasn’t simply a case of swapping out BST’s heritage headliners for (largely) younger, trendier artists. “We hope people will come in and see [APE is] a great event,” he says, “but it’s not modelled on BST Hyde Park.”
The launch of APE comes amid a boom period for London’s parklands, with new festivals and events in the pipeline for Brockwell Park, Clapham Common and Finsbury Park, and Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel decamping from Victoria Park to Gunnersbury in west London.
Even in an increasingly competitive market, King is optimistic about the prospects of APE in 2018 and beyond. (AEG/Goldenvoice’s Victoria Park deal expires in 2022.) “We’re fortunate in that, across our office, we’ve got an amazing team of promoters and bookers,” he says, “who can deliver quality events, regardless of the genre and [audience] demographic.”
“Our ethos with All Points East to deliver a great event, with quality in delivery and quality in content,” King concludes. “We’re putting our best foot forward to deliver an event we really believe in.”
All Points East Festival begins on Friday 25 May.
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