Jim King, AEG Events’ Executive Vice President (music), bangs the drum for British Summer Time Hyde Park (BST), accessibility, Attitude is Everything, All Points East, suppliers and much more.
To your considerable credit, accessibility has been high up the BST priority list since 2013 and Attitude is Everything (AiE) has been a part of the festival planning throughout. How did that relationship start?
We placed accessibility at the heart of our offering when we tendered for the BST Hyde Park contract. We reached out to AiE as we wanted industry leadership to monitor and advise us on our strategy. The relationship started there and it’s continued to this day.
What difference does it make having Attitude is Everything’s considerable clout as a partner looking after deaf and disabled requirements?
It gives us confidence in what we are doing. While we can deliver a vision for where our overall strategy wants to take us, it’s essential that we work with experts in this field to actually achieve excellence and relevance.
Which company came up with the Revised Booking Service?
This was an AEG development with support and guidance from Attitude Is Everything. Our aim was to ensure that the system was efficient, easy to navigate and ultimately an improvement to the customer experience. And we have seen great feedback following its implementation.
Will All Points East (APE) take its accessibility lead from BST/Attitude is Everything?
Absolutely. It’s central to all our event planning across the company.
You won a two-year extension to the Hyde Park contract in 2016, what happens next?
We continue to deliver a great show for The Royal Parks and hopefully they invite us back for another go.
Will there be any other noticeable changes to the BST site this year, in any context?
We rarely make significant changes to the offering. We want fans and staff to feel and see the event moving forward but at the same time there is a wealth of experience and enjoyment and we want to build on that with improvements rather than wholesale changes.
Have you aimed for/managed to keep a continuity of suppliers for APE and BST?
Yes. Where we think it’s appropriate. I like building partnerships and driving experience and shared values. I think you build better events that way.
With such a novel sounding venture in Victoria Park, there must be a considerable benefit in using companies familiar with your methods and expectations?
One of the most challenging aspects of delivering any event, especially a new one, is articulating the vision and ideals that it stands for. That’s the same for our staff, our suppliers and fans. We’re fortunate that in a number of key areas the partners and suppliers that we work with are in balance with what we stand for as a company and thus are sometimes better placed to buy into and understand the vision and values.
How much, if at all, did the availability of kit/people influence the APE dates?
We need the staffing resources to deliver any project, so ensuring our events don’t sit directly on top of each other is important, but kit wasn’t a factor in the decision really. We start from what we think are the best dates to deliver the event that we are setting out to achieve, in terms of talent availability and stakeholder planning, for instance. If the dates allow better and more efficient use of kit then that’s a bonus.