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France’s Rock en Seine embarks on new era

Rock en Seine GM Matthieu Ducos and AEG European festivals boss Jim King have previewed a new era for the French festival in an interview with IQ.

The extended 18th edition of the 40,000-cap event takes place in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Paris from 25-28 August with headliners Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tame Impala and Stromae.

“From an AEG perspective, we see Rock en Seine as being as important to our global portfolio of festivals as Hyde Park, All Points East, Coachella and everywhere else,” says King. “It’s equal in every measure to the other festivals that we operate in any market around the world.

“It needed some attention; it needed resource and support and we needed to allow the team to realise their ambitions. But it has the potential to be one of the world’s leading city-based festivals and we certainly feel it’s on its way to achieving that.”

AEG acquired Rock en Seine in 2017 in partnership with media investment group LNEI, but King suggests the event’s return from its Covid-enforced hiatus marks something of a reboot, as it is the first edition to be held since the launch of AEG’s European Festivals division in three years ago.

“It had not had its best years, but it is a well respected event with a great history, and a great site in the centre of Paris”

“It allowed us to bring some specialist overview to Rock en Seine, which is a very long-standing and established festival in Europe,” he explains. “It had not had its best years but it is a well-respected event with a great history, and a great site in the centre of Paris.

“With the Covid shutdown, it enabled all stakeholders this extended review on how to make it better. It allowed us to reset the team locally, build a stronger relationship and, from that platform, provide whatever assistance – and I need to underline assistance – to that team to realise what their vision of it was.

“What you’re seeing now is the realisation of the outlook and the vision of the team in Paris. Our role has been able to provide that framework and at times just some guidance and resourcing to allow that to be achieved.”

AEG’s London concert series All Points East, which was held in May pre-pandemic, has been pushed back to the same weekend as Rock en Seine, enabling Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Tame Impala to headline both events.

All Points East, which kicks off tonight with Gorillaz, runs in Victoria Park over two weekends – 19-20 and 25-28 August.

“Festivals live and die on artist bookings. We can say otherwise, but it is essential to it”

“The one thing we did centrally was reposition All Points East to the same weekend, which would then allow Matthew and also Arnaud [Meersseman], who runs AEG’s Paris office, to work much more closely with the booking teams from All Points East and establish that new culture,” says King.

“Festivals live and die on artist bookings. We can say otherwise, but it’s essential to it. So the idea was to start building that platform where agents could see a strengthened end of the summer window, with two great shows which they could then support with their artists.

“Those foundations have then been picked up by Matthieu, and what we’re seeing now is the best line-up Rock en Seine has ever had. That’s creating more ticket sales and a higher gross than Rock en Seine has ever had, and more sponsors and sponsorship gross than Rock en Seine has ever had. So it’s just success, on success, on success.”

Ducos backs up King’s assessment.

“Moving All Points East to the same weekend as Rock en Seine was a huge step,” he tells IQ. “I agree we have the strongest line-up we’ve ever had, so it’s great to start this new version of Rock en Seine after a two-year stop.

“Usually, about 60% of the festival-goers come from the Paris region and 40% from other regions of France and abroad. We will have more people from abroad than usual, that’s for sure, because we have some bands that are doing only a few shows in Europe, like Arctic Monkeys, so people are coming from far away to see them.”

“We have great ambitions that it will continue to grow”

With the festival expanding from three to four days for the first time this year, King elaborates on the ambitions to grow Rock en Seine’s international appeal.

“You look at some of the other successes around mainland Europe where they have become destination festivals for a multinational audience, and for whatever reason Rock en Seine had lost that, or was not that,” he says. “But I think it certainly is developing into that and we have great ambitions that it will continue to grow because Paris is such a great city and so easy to travel to. Once you’re there, there’s so much to do. So why only do it for two days or three days?

“The ability to attract great talent is based on many things: the offer, the routing, but obviously where you’re going to and what we were able to do with Rock en Seine is to be more ambitious with the acts that we wanted to attract and then, with that, be more ambitious with the audience that we want to attract to see those acts.

“I think you’ll see great developments in the range of people – and the countries they originate from – coming to Rock en Seine over the next five years.”

In a setback for organisers, a planned standalone date on 30 August, headlined by Rage Against the Machine, with support from Run The Jewels and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, was scrapped last week on “medical guidance” due to an injury sustained by RATM frontman Zach de la Rocha.

Nonetheless, Ducos suggests AEG’s backing puts Rock in Seine in a strong position as it looks to enhance its reputation year-on-year.

“Paris doesn’t have a history of iconic, pop/rock music festivals,” he says. “We’ve been there for 18 years now and we did a great job, but I think we can go further and become an iconic festival in this great city. I’m quite confident about our power and attractiveness to book the rock, pop, but also electro and hip-hop acts we want in the future.”

 


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BST’s Jim King talks Adele, live biz resurgence

AEG’s Jim King has hailed Adele as “the biggest act on the planet” ahead of the singer’s exclusive two-night stand at BST Hyde Park this weekend.

Demand for the 65,000-cap London shows was enormous, with tickets selling out within minutes of going on sale last October.

The 1-2 July double-header will be the star’s first concerts proper since 2017, when her scheduled four-night run at Wembley Stadium was cut short due to damaged vocal cords. Her planned Weekends With Adele Las Vegas residency was postponed in January – just 24 hours before its opening night – with rescheduled dates still to be announced.

“She’s the biggest act on the planet. And for us to be able to have two concerts with her here is such a highlight for everybody involved,” King, AEG’s CEO of European festivals, tells IQ. “We couldn’t be more thankful that she decided to come and play here. We know they’re so excited about it.

“Fans are going to see the biggest act in the world perform two of the best concerts anyone’s going to see this year”

Adele, whose 2016 Adele Live tour grossed $167.7 million across 107 shows, is represented by WME agents Lucy Dickins internationally and Kirk Sommer in North America.

“The conversations that we’ve been having with her team all the way through this have been unbelievably positive,” adds King. “They are a great team to work with – we know them very well from days gone by. Fans are going to see the biggest act in the world perform two of the best concerts that anyone’s going to see this year. It’s very exciting.”

This year’s BST hosted headliners Elton John, the Rolling Stones and Eagles last weekend, with Adele and a second date with the Stones (3 June) following over the next three days. Concerts by Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and Duran Duran (10 July) bring the 2022 American Express-sponsored series to a close.

But despite expanding the BST programme from six concerts to nine, AEG pressed pause on pre-pandemic plans for new events in favour of rejuvenating existing festivals. King – who previously warned the live industry against oversupplying the market – feels the promoter’s “cautious” approach since returning from Covid-19 has been vindicated.

“The concerns that we had at the top end of the year still apply now”

“I think we’re going to continue to have an amazing year, but based on the fact that we were relatively cautious,” he says. “It sounds a bit crazy to say that with nine sold-out Hyde Park concerts, but it’s nine – we’re not chasing 99. So we have chosen to be fairly modest in our output.

“The concerns that we had at the top end of the year – that rescheduled shows from 2020 and 2021 were being rescheduled into ’22, on top of those shows that were coming into the marketplace in 2022 – still apply now.

“What we saw, and what we still see, is the indoor touring cycle extending quite deeply into the summer because of venue availability, and thus you have festivals competing with headline tours. There’s only so much money that people have to buy tickets, so I think that concern is very real and our response to it – which was being cautious in the number of shows that we did – was the right thing to do.”

“The backbone of the industry is the supply chain and the staff. They’re the people who make this happen”

King also reflects on how the touring business has changed compared to pre-March 2020 times.

“From an operational perspective, it’s largely the same, albeit there are well documented challenges in the supply chain – labour resourcing, etc, has been particularly difficult,” he says. “We have an industry now which has picked itself back up again, but there are a lot of faces who are no longer with us. A lot of experience left the industry and that is one of the greatest challenges we have needed to bounce back from.

“How do we quickly and aggressively drive that experience back into what we have? Because the backbone of the industry is the supply chain and the staff. They’re the people who make this happen. And the ability to make decisions and, more importantly, make the right ones is what makes the UK industry the leading one in the world, in my opinion.”

He adds: “We’re also dealing with the impact of a wider economy issue of the cost of living crisis, which is ongoing and will be with us for some time, no doubt. But we’ve been here before, we’ve been in challenging economy situations where money’s tight and we have to react accordingly. We have to drive value and quality into the market so that when fans buy tickets, they feel that their experience was unbelievable value and they want to remain with us.”

Read part one of our interview with King here.

 


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UK set for biggest live music weekend ever

The UK is preparing to host what is believed to be its biggest weekend of live music ever, with more than one million people expected to attend concerts.

Leading the way is Glastonbury, headlined by Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, and BST Hyde Park, starring Elton John, the Rolling Stones and the Eagles, are set to host a combined 400,000 fans across three days.

Away from the festival circuit, Ed Sheeran has two dates lined up at the 90,000-cap Wembley Stadium, while the 80,000-cap London Stadium welcomes Green Day, Fall Out Boy & Weezer’s Hella Mega Tour tonight, followed by two nights with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Hella Mega Tour also stops at the 40,000-cap John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield tomorrow.

“For the industry to bounce back from a crippling couple of years with this level of quality and support from the fanbase shows the strength of what we do”

Fresh from two sold-out nights at Knebworth Park (80,000) earlier this month, Liam Gallagher will visit Scotland’s 50,000-cap Hampden Park in Glasgow on Sunday, the same day as Rammstein top the bill at Coventry Building Society Arena (40,000). Gallagher also headlines Northern Ireland’s Belsonic (15,000) this evening in Ormeau Park, Belfast.

Elsewhere, at The O2 (21,000), Diana Ross performs tonight as a precursor to her Glastonbury Sunday legends’ slot, while Eilish will follow up becoming the festival’s youngest headliner by completing the final two dates of her six-night residency at the London arena tomorrow and Sunday. Elton John is similarly busy, meanwhile, appearing at Bristol’s Ashton Gate (34,000) on Sunday.

“For the industry to bounce back from, let’s be blunt, a crippling couple of years with this level of quality and support from the fanbase shows the strength of what we do,” says BST organiser Jim King, speaking to IQ.

“The scale of what Ticketmaster delivers this weekend will be astonishing”

This weekend will also be a record setter for Ticketmaster, whose team will scan in around half a million fans across the UK, beating the company’s previous biggest weekend of events which took place in June 2019. According to the firm, the number of fans getting out to events in the UK so far this month is running 50% higher on average than the same period in 2019.

“The scale of what Ticketmaster delivers this weekend will be astonishing,” Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons tells IQ. “Summer has arrived, and the fans in full force alongside it. We’re so happy to be back, bigger and better than ever.”

Other indoor gigs of note include Twenty One Pilots at OVO Arena Wembley, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Resorts World Arena Birmingham, Kings of Leon at SSE Arena Belfast, the Beach Boys and George Benson at the Royal Albert Hall, Alanis Morissette at AO Arena Manchester, and Morissette, Barry Manilow and Gladys Knight at First Direct Arena Leeds.

“This will be one of the biggest weekends of live music in our history”

“This will be one of the biggest weekends of live music in our history, with Glastonbury taking place for the first time in three years, thousands of revellers attending BST and a wealth of gigs, concerts and festivals taking place across the UK,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins.

“Fans will be back doing what they love most – listening to fantastic music. This is great news for both the live music industry, which has significant cultural and societal importance, and for UK plc, with money spent at these events boosting towns and cities from Somerset to Stranraer.”

Earlier this month, Live Nation UK revealed it was on track for its biggest outdoor season ever, saying it will host nearly six million fans at live shows this summer. The promoter says four million people will attend one of its festivals or outdoor events, while close to two million will attend an indoor show.

“Significant cost pressures and the cost-of-living squeeze mean trading remains challenging”

However, Collins points out that despite the unprecedented few days ahead, the well-documented wider challenges facing the industry have not simply gone away.

“While the celebrations this weekend will be a world class showcase of our exceptional £4.5 billion industry, venues, festivals, live events, artists and suppliers are not back trading at pre-pandemic levels,” he says. “Significant cost pressures and the cost-of-living squeeze mean trading remains challenging.

“It is of vital importance therefore, that the government takes steps to support those across the live music ecosystem. In particular, introducing a cultural rate of VAT on ticket sales which would secure the sector’s recovery, boost the UK economy and deliver many more weekends like the one that lies ahead.”

 


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AEG’s Jim King previews BST Hyde Park comeback

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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Hard Rock International links with BST Hyde Park

AEG’s BST Hyde Park has announced a partnership with Hard Rock International.

The London festival’s 2022 edition runs from Friday 24 June to Sunday 10 July, with headliners including Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Adele, Pearl Jam and Eagles.

The concerts will be complemented by Hard Rock-sponsored festivities, including Hard Rock Rising presents the Rainbow Stage, which will showcase up-and-coming artists. The brand’s first ever Hard Rock Cafe opened in London in 1971.

“As we reflect on half a century of Hard Rock, which started right here in London and has since expanded to reach all corners of the globe with venues in over 70 countries, we’re thrilled to take part in such an iconic cultural celebration by helping extend access to music lovers and enrich the experiences of festival goers at BST Hyde Park” says Jim Allen, Hard Rock International chairman.

“For 50 years, Hard Rock has been associated with the biggest names in music”

Hard Rock Cafe will activate at BST Hyde Park with a cafe pop-up on the festival grounds and in the VIP section. Hard Rock Cafe locations will also have unique memorabilia on display from BST Hyde Park performers, as well as memorabilia from other UK music legends.

BST Hyde Park’s Open House is also set to return, offering a host of free activities between the weekends of music.

“For 50 years, Hard Rock has been associated with the biggest names in music,” says Jim King CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents. “We look forward to sharing their glorious history at BST Hyde Park this summer where music fans can enjoy the famous Hard Rock Cafe and the Hard Rock Rising Stage.”

Hard Rock previously partnered with Live Nation on the Hard Rock Calling series in Hyde Park from 2008-12. AEG launched BST Hyde Park in 2013 after signing an exclusive agreement for the venue with The Royal Parks.

 


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All Points East partners with crypto platform Luno

On the heels of its link-up with London’s Koko venue, cryptocurrency exchange Luno has been announced as presenting partner of this year’s All Points East festival.

According to Luno, the partnership, which has been facilitated by AEG Global Partnerships, will enable it to “educate festival goers about safely harnessing the power and possibilities of cryptocurrency”.

Taking place in East London’s Victoria Park from 19-28 August, All Points East is expected to attract more than 350,000 festival goers over the course of the event. Headline acts will include Gorillaz, The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk, Tame Impala, The National, Disclosure and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

“Every day, the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger”

“We’re delighted to be the presenting partner for All Points East this year,” says Sam Kopelman, Luno’s UK country manager. “You only have to look at the line up to see that it’s a festival with real cultural relevance that attracts a forward thinking crowd. As such, it’s the perfect partner for us to develop a long term relationship with music fans, artists and the broader industry. Every day, the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger, with blockchain innovations beginning to revolutionise the industry.”

The deal also includes the creation of the ‘Luno Lounge’ on the festival site, a space which will reflect the themes of both accessibility and opportunity. Luno customers will be offered exclusive access to promotions and competitions for festival tickets via social media, as well as fast track entry and other on-site benefits such as VIP upgrades.

Luno will also have a number of crypto themed environments on the festival site and will work with artists to create unique content about the opportunities of crypto.

“We’ll be working with Luno to add value to both fans and park users across the whole festival”

Luno is becoming increasingly active in the UK’s music and entertainment space as it aims to build on the growing interest in digital and blockchain technology amongst the cultural sector and creative industries.

“All Points East has grown from strength to strength over the last four years,” says Jim King, AEG’s CEO of European Festivals. “2022 arguably has the strongest line up to date and so it’s the perfect opportunity for us to welcome Luno as the presenting partner for the festival. We will be working with Luno to add value to both fans and park users across the whole festival, especially during our midweek ‘In the Neighbourhood’ programme.”


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Long hot summer: Festivals expand for 2022

Wireless is the latest festival to announce an expanded format, ahead of what looks to be a bumper 2022 festival season.

This year, Europe’s biggest celebration of contemporary Black music will take place at three of its former sites over two weekends in July.

The Festival Republic-promoted festival will kick off on 1–3 July at London’s Crystal Palace Park, where it took place in 2021 for the first time in history.

The following weekend (8–11 July), Wireless will simultaneously take place at its traditional home of Finsbury Park in London and Birmingham’s NEC –  where it last took place in 2014.

Festival Republic today announced blockbuster headliners including A$AP Rocky (UK exclusive), J. Cole (UK exclusive), Tyler, The Creator (London exclusive), Cardi B (UK exclusive), Nicki Minaj (EU exclusive), Dave and SZA (EU exclusive).

Wireless is the latest in a long line of festivals to expand after two relatively festival-free summers.

“Adding the fourth festival day as inclusive for all previously bought three-day tickets was our way of saying thank you”

Tomorrowland (Belgium), Primavera (Spain), Mad Cool (Spain), Standon Calling (UK), InMusic (Croatia) and Summer Breeze (Germany), Rock en Seine (France), Splendour (UK) and Wonderbus Columbus (US) are among the existing festivals that have been extended for 2022.

Festival organisers have cited a number of reasons for extending their usual format including meeting pent-up demand, recouping losses, celebrating anniversaries and rewarding fan loyalty.

InMusic, Croatia’s biggest open-air music festival, added a fourth day as an all-inclusive for fans who had held onto their three-day ticket.

“Adding the fourth festival day as inclusive for all previously bought three-day tickets was our way of saying thank you for all the love and support,” says Ivana Jelaca from InMusic.

“We were moved by the messages of support we received after the pandemic hit and we were trying to figure out the best way to thank everyone for their understanding and patience.

“We choose to focus on the audiences that have been supportive and active in the years prior to the pandemic, as the two-year loss of live music content has had a huge impact on the quality of their lives.”

“People are hungry for live music and in need of a carefree festival weekend among friends”

Jelaca says that the festival’s 15th anniversary, which is delayed two years due to pandemic-related cancellations, is also cause for an extended celebration.

Alex Härtel from Silverdust, which promotes Summer Breeze in Germany, says the promoter has similar reasons for extending the festival.

“The reason is our 25th anniversary! Summer Breeze has been around since 1997 and despite three cancellations (two due to covid) we want to celebrate 25 years of existence with our loyal fans and many friends and bands from all over the world,” says Härtel.

Moreover, Härtel says the festival is capitalising on pent-up demand for live music: “People are hungry for live music and in need of a carefree festival weekend among friends,” he adds.

While each of the organisers says that their extended edition will benefit vendors, hotel properties and other entities who typically profit from the event, the added day won’t make a dent in the losses the festivals have suffered from the pandemic.

“Fans will expect more in 2022 than they accepted in 2021”

“If anything, an additional festival day generates greater expenses – programming and production-wise – and as an independent mid-sized festival with a limited capacity there are only so many tickets on sale,” explains InMusic’s Jenca.

Silverdust’s Härtel echoes that sentiment, adding: “The extended programme on the first day wouldn’t justify a big enough increase in ticket price to recoup what two years of covid did to the festival. We are doing this to create something special for the fans, the crew and everyone involved with Summer Breeze.”

It isn’t just increased demand festivals will have to meet this year but also increased expectations said AEG Presents CEO of European Festivals Jim King.

“The emergence from multiple lockdowns created a unique demand that is unlikely to repeat in the same way,” he explains.

“Fans will expect more in 2022 than they accepted in 2021. We will see an increasing upturn in expectation from fans as the year plays out and they have been to more and more shows and there will be a need for the industry to up its game to keep fans attending and buying more tickets in the later part of the year.”

 


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AEG’s Jim King: ‘Fans will expect more in 2022’

AEG Presents CEO of European Festivals Jim King says the live business will need to “up its game” in 2022 to meet fans’ raised expectations.

Though heartened by the success of the festivals that managed to go ahead in late summer ’21 following the Covid washout of the previous summer, the leading exec advises the bar will be set higher for the coming season.

“We must be careful,” he tells IQ. “The emergence from multiple lockdowns created a unique demand that is unlikely to repeat in the same way.

“Fans will expect more in 2022 than they accepted in 2021. We will see an increasing upturn in expectation from fans as the year plays out and they have been to more and more shows and there will be a need for the industry to up its game to keep fans attending and buying more tickets in the later part of the year.”

“For some artists and events, 2022 has a risk of being a hangover from the pandemic rather than the strong return the industry needs”

Highlighting the potential problems for tours and festivals over the next 12 months, King points to the number of headline tours rescheduled from 2020/21 into 2022 – an issue set to be further exacerbated by the ongoing disruption to the circuit in Q1 ’22.

“Many of the sales cycles sit on top of each other and in many cases, also sit on top of the festivals that the artist is also appearing on,” he says. “Ultimately, tour and festival announcements need to be carefully coordinated, but if an artist normally sells 5,000 tickets in a market per cycle, then packaging 10,000 or more tickets around a festival play all in the same market in one year is going to be a challenge, and some artists and events will suffer.

“At some point there is likely to be fatigue between fans and certain artists, resulting in some events experiencing lower sales and/or higher non-attendance. If not managed, then for some artists and events, 2022 has a risk of being a hangover from the pandemic rather than the strong return the industry needs.”

AEG’s flagship UK concert series, BST Hyde Park, was cancelled for the second year in succession in 2021, but will return with a bumper line-up this summer. The London-based festival is to take place across two weeks from 24 June to 10 July, with concerts from Elton John (24 June), Eagles (26 June), Duran Duran (10 July), Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and, in a huge coup, Adele (1–2 July).

“With the volume of shows in play, fans will not respond favourably if their expectations are not being met”

The promoter’s All Points East staple was able to take place in London’s Victoria Park last August and its 2022 edition is set over two weekends from 19-20 and 25-28 August with headliners Gorillaz, The Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala, The National and Disclosure.

AEG’s French festival, Rock en Seine (ReS), meanwhile, has swelled to a four-day format and will be headlined by Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds from 25–28 August in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

King has previously explained the company paused its pre-pandemic plans for new events in favour of focusing on rejuvenating established festivals. But as the industry gears up for its first proper summer season since 2019, he retains high hopes of a strong return.

“Overall, I am positive for the summer,” concludes King. “AEG has a fantastic series of festivals on sale with amazing headliners, but the ball is in our court to deliver great fan experiences, and with the volume of shows in play, fans will not respond favourably if their expectations are not being met.”

Read the full interview with King in IQ 107, out now.

 


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IQ 107 out now: Industry heads map the road ahead

IQ 107, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

In the January 2022 edition, industry leaders from around the world share their thoughts about the state of the industry and the recovery of the sector, over the coming weeks and months.

Elsewhere, the IQ news team looks back at the trends, deals, events and, of course, the Covid restrictions that made the headlines during 2021.

On page 34, IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson explores the benefits that blockchain technology can offer the live music industry.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Wayne Forte details the process behind producing his critically acclaimed Mad Dogs & Englishmen documentary, and Richard Davies urges the industry to adopt a more strategic approach in its efforts to beat ticket touts.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, Dan Steinberg (Emporium Presents), Rob Challice (Paradigm), Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust) and Nick Hobbs (Charmenko) describe their best moments of 2021.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:


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AEG Presents’ Jim King shares forecast for 2022

This article is the second part of IQ’s interview with Jim King, originally published in December 2021. To read the first instalment, in which King discusses Adele and BST Hyde Park 2022, click here.

Jim King, CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents, warns the industry to be careful with thinking that the pent-up demand seen in early summer 2021 will remain.

“I have some caution over 2022 and the concern remains that the industry has reacted, in some areas, by oversupplying the market with rescheduled tours sitting on top of new tours which now sit very closely to summer festival periods,” he says.

“The industry needs to pause and reflect on how many tickets it feels can be sold in 2022 and 2023 and then react and plan accordingly. The problem is that our industry has a problem saying no.”

Alongside a slew of rescheduled tours, 2022 is also set to gain a multitude of new events, extended editions and revived festivals.

Tomorrowland (Belgium), Primavera (Spain), Mad Cool (Spain), Standon Calling (UK), InMusic (Croatia) and Summer Breeze (Germany) are among the existing festivals to be extended in 2022 – in some cases by entire weekends. Meanwhile, promoters including FKP Scorpio, Goldenvoice, Primavera, Live Nation and DreamHaus have marked brand new festivals in 2022’s increasingly busy calendar.

“The industry needs to pause and reflect on how many tickets it feels can be sold in 2022 and 2023 and then react”

In light of concerns about oversupplying, King says AEG has hit pause on pre-pandemic plans for new events and is instead focused on rejuvenating existing festivals. One such event is Rock en Seine (ReS), the responsibility for which which recently passed to his team, allowing a “total review” of what the enduring Paris festival could be.

“The challenge, like with many long-standing events, was that we needed to reset what the event stood for and what we wanted to say to fans, artists, media, and sponsors,” explains King.

In October it was announced that the 18th edition of the annual event will take place in an extended four-day format with a “new vision and one of the most impressive line-ups in the history of the festival”. Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds are to headline between 25–28 August in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

“The challenge, like with many long-standing events, was that we needed to reset what the [Rock en Seine] stood for”

“We just feel that the new format offers a more compelling commercial framework and one that aligns with the modern festival industry landscape which has changed a great deal over the last 20 years,” says King.

“ReS needed to reflect these changes. More days means we get to work with more artists and that’s another great reason to expand. Plus, Paris is one of the most accessible and culturally vibrant cities in the world. We felt that we had the opportunity to reflect that and widen the appeal of the festival to more fans.”

King says he prefers to look forward rather than backwards but that the lockdown was “tough” financially. “We are very fortunate that our owner was hugely supportive of our company and so we were able to plan through that period,” he says. “It’s our job now to repay that commitment and recover the losses from 2020 with a solid strategic plan for 2022/23 that builds on from the successes we were able to deliver at All Points East 2021.”

“It’s our job now to repay that commitment and recover the losses from 2020 with a solid strategic plan for 2022/23”

King says that strategic plan is to take a “new and fresh approach” to line-ups that were announced before the pandemic.

“That didn’t mean that we stopped working with all the acts from 2020 but we sought to reshape and strengthen the line ups,” he says. “Examples of this included Bombay Bicycle Club who instead played with Foals in 2021 [at All Points East] and Kraftwerk now playing with The Chemical Brothers in 2022.”

Discussing how he sees the recovery of the international live music industry progressing, King says the challenge will be whether the industry can approach 2022 and 2023 with the spirit of collaboration that was fostered in 2021.

“I think we saw the resilience that the industry can offer in some of the successes in 2021. The ability to mobilise quickly and work collaboratively throughout the supply chain to deliver high-quality shows demonstrates how strong we can be when we work with a common interest. If we can do this again, then recovery will be quicker and built on much stronger foundations.”

 


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