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AEG’s Jim King previews BST Hyde Park comeback

The London concert series, which kicks off its 2022 season tomorrow with Elton John, is being held across three weekends for the first time

By James Hanley on 23 Jun 2022

Jim King, CEO of European Festivals, AEG Presents

Jim King


AEG Presents CEO of European festivals Jim King says BST Hyde Park’s extended format could become permanent as it prepares to launch its 2022 season tomorrow.

This year’s line-up includes headliners Elton John (24 June), the Rolling Stones (25 June/3 July), Eagles (26 June), Adele (1–2 July), Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and Duran Duran (10 July).

For the first time, the London-based series is taking place across three weekends, comprising nine concerts instead of the traditional six – a move King suggests is not a one-off.

“It’s certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future, which is fantastic,” King tells IQ. “It allows us to work with more artists and continue on our quest of ensuring that we have the biggest acts in the world come through this venue every year. And we love working with the artist community and the agents to achieve that.”

A by-product of the expansion will see the opening weekend clash with Glastonbury, albeit some acts – such as Sam Fender, Phoebe Bridgers and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – are performing at both events.

“There is huge demand and that is testament to the artists.”

“It’s a natural weekend for us to grow into,” explains King. “We could go later into July, but we felt that it was the best weekend to work with this year. Obviously, there are some challenges because we have to work within the supply chain, but it has given artists the opportunity to come into this window and play both shows, which is a good thing.”

Due to the pandemic, this year will mark BST’s first edition since 2019, when it welcomed Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Florence + The Machine and Robbie Williams. Pearl Jam and Duran Duran were originally booked to perform in 2020.

“We wanted to keep those shows in [for 2022] and their success is astounding when you think about it,” says King. “Pearl Jam are doing two nights in London and both are going to sell out. Duran Duran are going to have the biggest show of their career in this country. There is huge demand and that is testament to the artists.

“I also think it shows what a great connection there is between the fans and Hyde Park as a venue, because we are certainly seeing artists selling more tickets here with us [than at other venues].”

He adds: “What people are going to see when they turn up is a bigger and more creative BST Hyde Park than the one they last saw in 2019, including an even bigger Great Oak Stage, which just looks incredible. Every time I walk past it astounds me what the production guys have delivered. And hopefully the fan experience will be something everybody remembers – we’ve gone the extra mile to deliver a quality day out.”

“It’s the biggest line-up we’ve ever had: nine shows of quite simply the biggest artists on the planet”

While BST launched in 2013, King says its 2022 programme is already shaping up to be its most successful yet. The American Express-sponsored festival announced its latest partnership – a link-up with Hard Rock International – earlier this week.

“It’s the biggest line-up we’ve ever had: nine shows of quite simply the biggest artists on the planet,” he says. “It’s also the most amount of tickets we’ve ever sold, the highest gross and the largest number of sponsors and partners who want to be part of the festival. Every single metric we can apply shows us it is the biggest ever BST Hyde Park, so we start from a really strong place.

“An important footnote is that brands can take their sponsorship budgets to many places – to sport and other cultural activities – and music is one of the options they have, so for us to be able to be in a position where we’re seeing growth is a really good position for us to reflect on.”

 


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