On site at London’s All Points East festival (cap. 40,000), AEG Presents CEO of European festivals Jim King tells Access about staging this year’s event and working on other AEG festivals including France’s Rock En Seine and the debut of Forwards festival in Bristol.

Following last year’s scaled-back four-day event, staged during a period of lingering Covid-related uncertainty, All Points East (APE) festival is back at full scale with around 350,000 people expected to descend on East London’s Victoria Park across six show days from 19-28 August. Co-located with Field Day, the festival is hosting acts such as Gorillaz, Tame Impala, Disclosure, The Chemical Brothers and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.

Despite last year’s downscaled edition “working brilliantly”, King says he is pleased to see a wider booking platform this year: “You’re not coming just to see a headline act, you’re coming to see six, eight or ten acts – that’s one of the great things about it.”

In-between the site’s East and West main stages lie four other performance areas; the indoor North Stage tent, the striking X-shaped 6 Music Stage (pictured) and the Firestone and BMW Play Next stages.

“We put a great deal of passion, love and creation across all the stages,” says King. “People can navigate their way around the different stages and still feel a sense of discovery, which isn’t always the case in a London park.”

With the live music market busier than ever this year as it battles to bounce back from the pandemic, King says he has been pleased to see a high level of interest in APE from sponsors. Along with the return of partners such as BBC 6 Music and Ray Ban, which is now the headline sponsor of the West Stage, cryptocurrency platform Luno signed up as the headline sponsor.

As well as the creation of the Luno Lounge, King says AEG has worked with the brand to enhance the experience of both festival attendees and park users, with the latter able to enjoy the midweek family-focused In the Neighbourhood programme of free activities including music, cinema and sports sessions.

“We’re finding there are more sponsors who want to be involved in and want to invest more in live music, and that’s a really positive thing,” he says. “That means they’re looking at live music, in comparison with sport or other cultural activities, and the more that they put towards live music, the better it is for us.”

Following AEG’s most successful American Express presents BST Hyde Park show series to date, with 530,000 tickets sold across nine shows this summer, the promoter is set to stage the inaugural Forwards festival (cap. 60,000) in Bristol from 3-4 September. AEG has teamed up with Bristol-based Love Saves The Day festival promoter Team Love to work on the event, which will take place on The Downs with a lineup including Jamie XX, Little Simz, Charli XCX and The Chemical Brothers.

“That show is going to exceed all of our expectations in the first year, we’re super happy with it,” says King.

The promoter is also working on the expanded Rock en Seine (40,000) festival in Paris on 25-28 August, which previously ran across three days. With the shows timed so closely, it has enabled several of the acts on the APE lineup to also perform at the Paris event, including Tame Impala, Nick Cave and James Blake.

King likens the French festival’s location in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud to APE’s: “[Victoria Park] is a beautiful location and it’s in a great part of London. Similarly, Saint-Cloud where Rock en Seine takes place is right on the banks of the Seine – you couldn’t ask for a better place for a music festival.”

AEG Presents’ first Rock en Seine since it launched the AEG European Festivals division in the summer of 2019, King is confident it will be a landmark edition: “This is going to be the best Rock en Seine ever, not since we got involved [in 2017] but since it started 18 years ago. For us, this summer is the best we’ve ever had.”