Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

When a venue becomes more trouble than it’s worth

It’s a case of no more parklife for Live Nation. The giant live music company have decided to quit promoting shows at London’s Hyde Park citing such issues as noise problems, crowd safety considerations and unrealistic revenue assumptions. The company …

Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 09:43

   

It’s a case of no more parklife for Live Nation. The giant live music company have decided to quit promoting shows at London’s Hyde Park citing such issues as noise problems, crowd safety considerations and unrealistic revenue assumptions. The company have been promoting shows at the park since 2001 and acts who played Hyde Park this summer included Bruce Springsteen (who had the power pulled on him during his show when he and guest Paul McCartney ran over curfew), Blur (the band’s latest “last ever gig” suffered from sound issues), Rihanna, Soundgarden, Paul Simon and Deadmau5.


Saying goodbye to all of this at London’s Hyde Park?

The “unrealistic revenue assumptions” probably refers to the current round of negotiations with the Royal Parks Agency over a new five year contract to hold shows in the venue as Live Nation are whinging about the tender and bid process for the new contract. It will be interesting to see who ends up grabbing the contract. There are probably plenty of promoters who would be quite happy to put up with the Agency’s conditions to get their hands on the park. While Live Nation might think that this kind of huffing and puffing will lead to them getting their own way (they are, remember, The Biggest Promoters In The Entire World Ever and are used to getting their own way), they’re not the only players in the game. Indeed, the Evening Standard suggests that Live Nation’s big rival AEG might be willing to play ball.

It’s unlikely that Hyde Park will simply go dark next year when it comes to live music. For a start, it’s a lucrative hire and brings in serious revenue so it behoves the park’s landlords to make sure there are shows there next year. It’s also a prime site in central London and has many advantages that other parks in the city simply do not possess. Perhaps some of the festivals which have sprung up around the outskirts of the city will move in?

Of course, the travails over Hyde Park have resonances here when you consider this year’s Phoenix Park saga. It would be interesting to know if the Office of Public Works, the public body charged with managing the Park, have had approaches about live shows in the venue next summer and what, if any, changes they will be making to their tender process in the wake of what happened in July. Will MCD return to the park for more live shows or will the mooted revival of Oxegen mean they don’t have to do that? Will another promoter (Aiken Promotions have promoted shows in the park in the past) take up the slack? After all, as we saw with the latest run of shows in the park, there is definitely a market for big shows in the field in the middle of the capital if you book the right acts. That said, the security issues mean the venue may have become more trouble than it’s worth. We look forward to someone leaking any interesting letters which the OPW have received on this subject.

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