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AEG's European Festivals CEO tells IQ how he secured Adele, why he disputes the ticket price criticism and what the event's "new look" involves
By IQ on 29 Nov 2021
Jim King, CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents, says the 2022 edition of British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park is “set up to be the biggest we have ever seen”.
The London-based festival is to take place across two weeks from 24 June to 10 July next year, with concerts from Elton John (24 June), Eagles (26 June), Duran Duran (10 July), Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and Adele (1–2 July).
The BST double-header is Adele’s first confirmed concerts since her scheduled four-night run at Wembley Stadium in 2017 was cut short due to damaged vocal cords.
King tells IQ that securing the British star’s place on the bill was a “huge coup” and that the November release of her long-awaited album, 30, worked in the promoter’s favour.
“There is no artist bigger than Adele and the demand for tickets shows her unique appeal,” says King. “I had been speaking to her agent [WME’s Lucy Dickins] about the possibility for a long time but like most things, you need the timing to click, and I think 2022 just worked well for them with the new album.”
“There is no artist bigger than Adele and the demand for tickets shows her unique appeal”
Responding to some fans’ criticism that the £90 ticket price for Adele’s BST shows is too high, King says the appraisals are “grossly unfair to the artist”.
“The vast majority of tickets to see Adele had a face value under £85. Major sports are more expensive, and they play every week, every year.
“The press focus will naturally gravitate towards a very small number of higher-priced hospitality tickets which, again, when you consider the whole package of food and beverage, the show was still priced lower than many major concerts and sporting events,” he contends.
Unsurprisingly, tickets for both of the 33-year-old star’s BST dates were snapped up in minutes but King says there has been “strong sales across all [BST] shows”.
Elton John’s headline show, which opens the festival and is part of his swansong Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, also sold out.
“[Adele’s BST shows] are still priced lower than many major concerts and sporting events”
Returning for the first time in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, King says AEG is excited to reveal a “new look” (and a new sponsor – American Express) for the eighth outing of the festival.
“It is exciting. We will finally have the chance to reveal the new creative presentation of the event with an updated Great Oak Stage and a new look and feel to the creative areas around the site,” he says.
BST last took place in 2019 with headliners Celine Dion, Florence and the Machine and Robbie Williams, and a recorded attendance of 65,000 at each concert.
The festival launched in 2013 and, over the years, has seen performances from acts including the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, the Cure, Black Sabbath and Barbra Streisand.
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