January 23, 2013 13:09
Bon Jovi first act announced for new 10-day festival in Hyde Park
Rockers are first to perform at site under park's new promoters, AEG
The rockers will headline Hyde Park on July 5 as part of Barclaycard British Summer Time – a 10 day long event across two weekends from June 28 to July 7. There will be six concerts hosted in that period, taking place on June 28, 29 and 30 and July 5, 6 and 7.
Across Hyde Park there will be four themed areas which will feature, according to the promoters, "specially designed installations and entertainment, high quality restaurants, bespoke salons, pubs, cocktail bars, cafes, bistros and independent food stalls". The site will also host its own microbrewery to offer a range of alcoholic drinks across the site.
Last year, promoters AEG Live have won the five-year contract to host concerts at the prestigious site in central London, after fellow promoters Live Nation lost the tender process, following complaints about noise and curfew restrictions and unreasonable financial expectations put upon them by The Royal Parks, which owns the site.
This week, Live Nation announced that it would be moving a number of Hyde Park staples, including Wireless and Hard Rock Calling, to the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.
Back in Hyde Park, a new tree-lined stage designed to fit in with the surrounding park, called The Great Oak Stage will be moved away from neighbouring residential areas, which organisers say will improve sound levels by 3db. The venue saw a problematic summer season in 2012, including the cutting short of Bruce Springsteen's performance with Paul McCartney and the complaints about low volume at Blur's August gig due to sound regulations imposed in the interest of local residents.
Speaking at the press conference, taking place today (January 23), AEG event director said he didn't foresee any such problems this year. "Bands know what the curfews are... I don't see it as an issue," he said. Asked how Barclaycard British Summertime will compare to the events at Olympic Stadium staged by rivals Live Nation, King said, "We have the biggest rock band in the world sitting next to us so I think it compares pretty well." Given that Bon Jovi were the only band present, we can only assume he was referring to them. Bon Jovi themselves said they turned down the chance to play Hard Rock Calling in order to play Hyde Park. "We were offered to open the Olympic venue but I wanted to play Hyde Park," said Jon Bon Jovi.
Complaints about noise in Hyde Park had almost doubled since 2008, promoting a review of the venue's licence to host events. In February 2012, Westminster Council reduced the number of concerts held annually at Hyde Park from 13 to nine. It also cut the number of people who could attend events from 80,000 to 65,000 – and, in some cases, to 50,000.
Speaking to NME about pulling out of the tender process after 15 years of putting on gigs at the site, John Probyn, Chief Operating Officer of Live Nation said: "People always see the promoters as the greedy guys who take the money. Trust me, at Hyde Park we didn’t. The venue, the name… everybody wants to play there. Everyone did want to play there; the problem with that now is that they don’t want to play there, because of the adverse publicity it’s got."
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