'Ticket sales are incredibly strong': AEG sets the stage for BST Hyde Park 2019

'Ticket sales are incredibly strong': AEG sets the stage for BST Hyde Park 2019

The director of Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park has hailed the strength of this year's line-up ahead of tonight's opening show, headlined by Celine Dion.

Jim King EVP, live music for promoter AEG Presents, said the 65,000-capacity gigs by Dion (July 5), Stevie Wonder (July 6), Barbra Streisand (July 7), Florence + The Machine & The National (July 13) and Robbie Williams (July 14) represented the annual concert series' "strongest year ever".

"Ticket sales are incredibly strong," King told Music Week. "The live market always goes in cycles, so we're fortunate here that we've got to the point now where artists will come out, even for a one-off. We're not just relying on artists who are doing world tours, they don't necessarily have to be in a touring cycle, so that adds more artists to the mix."

King declared Saturday's show with Stevie Wonder and special guest Lionel Richie as "the biggest night of the summer", adding it was "probably our fastest ever sellout".

"We're getting some real coups," he said. "Stevie and Lionel playing together is a one-off, and who knows if Barbra is going to come back through Europe again? So it's important that icons like that play in this setting. Obviously we want to promote them and this is great for us but Barbra Streisand playing in Hyde Park is an iconic moment and it's a moment people will remember for the rest of their lives.

"Robbie Williams has never played here before and I think the only time he played [Hyde Park] was Live8 so there will be some real moments. And to have Florence + The Machine coming back, we really love that bill. I think it's a great bill and a really big day out."

Neil Young and Bob Dylan will also play a joint-headline show on July 12 in Hyde Park separate from BST following a sponsorship row

There are only so many artists in the world who can sell 65,000 tickets, but we've found the market to be quite buoyant

Jim King

AEG Presents

Now in its seventh year, BST Hyde Park has welcomed the likes of The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Taylor Swift, Black Sabbath, Tom Petty, The Killers, Blur and Carole King. 

"There are only so many artists in the world who can sell 65,000 tickets, but we've found the market to be quite buoyant," added King. "Every year I think we've delivered really strong shows with great headliners.

"Unfortunately, touring cycles change and we can't always get who we want. Sometimes artists will prefer to go and play their own show at a stadium with their own production etc and we just have to keep going down the list until we get the six best that we can."

Acts on the various support bills this year include Kris Kristofferson, Bryan Ferry, Black Eyed Peas, Keane, Texas, Lianne La Havas, Josh Groban, Claire Richards and Lykke Li.

"I never understood that before we took it over people would come here at 7pm just to see the headliner," said King. "We wanted to change that and the whole process involved putting great food in here, great bars and great experiences so people get here early and have a wonderful day out in the park.

"It's not all about turning up at 1pm, hitting it up to 11 and going for it. You want the whole thing to build elegantly into the headline performance, which is obviously the main reason people are here."

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