Jim King
– Jim King

Impact International: UK/Euro Honors

Jim King

CEO, European Festivals AEG Presents

It Is Never Going To Be 2018 Again: Jim King Is On Schedule

Jim King, the CEO, European Festivals for AEG Presents was in the middle of preparing All Points East Festival at London’s Victoria Park, Aug. 27-30, when we reached out. Headlined by London Grammar, Jorja Smith, Jamie xx, Kano, Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club, it’s one of the few flagship events in the British Capital that went ahead in the summer of 2021. 

When the UK government announced its reopening strategy in February – all restrictions to be lifted through June – a certain euphoria could be felt in the country. Jim King, CEO European Festivals, AEG Presents, knew that the government’s reopening statement was simply that, though: “A political statement that the country should ready itself and could reopen and enjoy various activities. 

“What the statement didn’t encompass,” he recalls, “was the huge logistical challenges that still laid ahead. So whilst there was excitement that a green light to reopening had been announced, it was tempered with a great deal of concern for how the successful management of the supply chain could be given the distress it had been through and the lack of clarity that the they wanted to actually embrace reopening with the significant risks this still posed.”

Which is why, during the last 12 months, his team set its priorities about strengthening AEG Presents’ core assets. King explains, “In periods of uncertainty, growth and acquisition opportunities naturally open up but I believe that that the strongest growth we would achieve was through strengthening and growing BST Hyde Park and All Points East initially, whilst seeking new opportunities that wheel and support, as well as be supported by, these key events.”

“We will be announcing new activity in the coming three months that show that process,” King reveals. 

In order to be able to bounce back from lockdown, a combination of furlough and flexible working has been critical. It allowed him to keep expertise inside the organization, which “was fundamental to how well All Points East 2021 played out.” 

Since King doesn’t consider himself “the best motivator in these situations to be honest,” he left the team-bonding excercizes to others. “What I tried to do was show a pathway of how our division was going to get back to work and update regularly on that. I have an amazing team, who’s passion is live music and specifically festivals. The greatest motivation and uplift I could offer them was honesty and then delivery of how we’d get to a standing in the open air listening to music. Thankfully we were on schedule and made it happen in 2021,” he says.

Just as important as protecting the team, is protecting the supply chain, King continues. “Thats aimed at all parts of the supply chain,” he says, “Promoters, artists, suppliers, crew etc. The risk still remains very high with the insurance solutions far from perfect. The supply chain as a whole needs to look forward to a new collaborative way of working. Not embracing that, and agonizing that ‘it’s different to before’ is not going to help. If the new operating and contracting solutions work, then they work and they should be embraced. It is never going to be 2018 again so let’s make 2022 the best it can be.”