Live Nation having ended all commercial relations with the Royal Parks organisation in London – and thus moved its Hard Rock Calling and Wireless festivals to the Olympic Park to the east of the capital – Hyde Park will now play leafy central London-based host to rival promoter AEG Live’s brand new event, the Barclaycard-backed British Summer Time.
It’ll comprise two weekends of live music plus an intervening programme of film, theatre, literature and sport (and a “specific family day”, whatever that may mean), and will be divided into four “themed zones” – each a veritable hive of “specially designed installations and entertainment, high quality restaurants, bespoke salons, pubs, cocktail bars, cafes, bistros and independent food stalls”. Oh, and Bon Jovi are the first BST headliner, by the way.
Speaking for AEG Live, which has invested multi-millions of pounds in the five-year Royal Parks alliance, Event Director Jim King says: “After a great deal of planning and hard work, we are so proud to announce what will no doubt be an incredible event for London. We literally started with a blank canvas and in Barclaycard British Summer Time, we have created what we believe to be the ultimate in summer events”.
Head Of Events at Royal Parks, James Russell, adds: “This is a new era for entertainment in Hyde Park. Hyde Park has such a wonderful heritage in hosting world-class concerts in the heart of London, dating back to 1969. Today, we are looking forward, and along with AEG Live, we are very excited to be bringing the Barclaycard British Summer Time event to this iconic location that is recognised around the world”.
AEG has also said that it has commissioned an independent report into sound levels in Hyde Park – complaints from punters at Live Nation’s events last year being that everything was too quiet, while nearby residents felt it was all too bloody loud. The result is that AEG has worked out a way to make everything louder but also quieter and “better for residents, customers and bands”, said King. He claimed that when Live Nation was in charge, the “orientation and position of the stage” was all wrong, wrong wrong.
He added: “We worked the plan in terms of relocating that stage and orienting it away from the residents because previously it had been firing straight at them. The report is very clear, it shows an improvement whilst still maintaining the off-site limits that we need to uphold, so we’re confident”.
The Chairman of the Residents Society of Mayfair and St James, Anthony Lorenz, wasn’t quite so confident, telling the BBC: “We all know it’s a half-measure and that they want to satisfy Westminster in order to keep the concerts running. It is incredibly unfair to the people who live there, who might be having a peaceful garden party, while there’s heavy bass music coming from the park”.
That’s possibly the first and last time you’ll see Bon Jovi described as ‘heavy bass music’.