Behind the scenes: American Express presents BST Hyde Park

Record audiences attended a new-look American Express presents BST Hyde Park. Read on, as the event’s organising team reveal all about exciting event developments on-site…

Over nine spectacular shows and three weekends, American Express presents BST Hyde Park demonstrated the power of live music as the event became the biggest BST Hyde Park event ever, selling 530,000 tickets across all the shows. Music fans flocked to Hyde Park to see some of the biggest artists on the planet headline; Adele, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Eagles, Pearl Jam, and Duran Duran were joined by an incredible line up of support artists, including Pixies, Stereophonics, Johnny Marr, and Nile Rodgers and Chic.

“It felt amazing to be back after a three-year hiatus,” explained LS Events’ Steve Reynolds, BST Hyde Park’s event director. “Hyde Park is a really special place to put on an event and it felt good to be back and with a lot of familiar faces. American Express presents BST Hyde Park has a wonderfully inclusive, family feel to it and our team were delighted to return to doing what we do best.”

LS Events works alongside AEG Presents and provides operational project management, site management, and event management to the event. Reynolds continued: “LS Events has been fortunate to work on every show, an incredible 51 in total. We came back to this prestigious site with a mission to deliver this event to a level of excellence that has never been experienced by our audience and artists before. I believe we achieved that.”

Better experience

2022 was the first year that the event extended its run from two weekends to three weekends (from six shows to nine); this combined with the world-class artists that AEG Presents secured meant that the site-wide production was more sophisticated than ever before.

Everything was bigger and better. The biggest change for the event was the introduction of a new Great Oak stage – Star Live’s Titan stage – and new a larger hospitality offer.

Laura Armstrong, senior project manager at LS Events, said: “We’ve worked closely with AEG Presents to uplift the hugely ambitious creative elements at the show.

“This year saw a new creative design across the whole of the site in line with the new creative vision for the next few years. One of the most iconic areas at BST Hyde Park is the Great Oak Stage and utilising Star Live’s new Titan stage, Mark Ward and the Proper Productions Team worked to develop the next generation of this focal point of the event.”

Armstrong continued: “The Grandstand Structure was another redesign, which provided additional premium viewing capacity and suites. The redesigned front of house towers reduced the size which improved the general admission view, whilst giving a better experience for technical production crews.”

BSt Hyde Park Ben Baker in the bag

Significant investment

Star Live has a long history of introducing new products at major shows in Hyde Park. The origins of the Titan can be traced back to the staging Star Live designed for Adele’s tour in 2017, which introduced the Ultra towers with their 100-ton capacity.

Simon Broyd, chief commercial officer at Star Live, commented: “AEG Presents has a new contract in place with Royal Parks through to 2027, and Star Live has a new contract in place with AEG Presents for the same period. This long-term commitment from all parties allowed for significant investment into the event, the site, and the production.

“The Ultra towers were incorporated into a concept design to support AEG Presents’ bid for the current Hyde Park contract. This design underwent multiple refinements during lockdown, based around a set of core requirements. It had to deal with the production requirements of all known potential festival headliners, provide best-in-class sightlines, provide a rigging loft with easy and safe access, built in catwalks and spreader trusses, and critically, 100 tons of rigging capacity in the main stage area. To achieve all the above, we developed from scratch a new folding (and/or flatpack) horizontal truss system, which at 2.1 metres high and weighing more than eight tons for a 30m span, seemed to suit being called Titan.”

For BST Hyde Park, Titan was customised. The roof was able to support 74 tons of screens, plus the house audio and lighting rigs, and all the artist packages without any issues. But it was not the only change. The event’s hospitality offer was also vastly increased.

Broyd added: “The hospitality grandstand – known as the Accor Live Limitless Grandstand – had a significantly increased capacity this year. It was both wider and deeper than previous years but still had the same amazing views of the Great Oak stage. The key upgrade to the structure was using Star Live’s Viewbox units as the VIP hospitality suites.”

Also new for 2022 were two high-performance front-of-house positions that Star Live created with its Viewbox units. Not only did this provide a perfect working space for engineers, but it also doubled as a viewing platform using the rooftop terrace.

BST Hyde Park Nathan Cox in the bag

Good to be back

Star Live was just one supplier contracted to BST Hyde Park, reporting into LS Events. Instant Marquees, Peppermint Bars, PTL, and Capital Sound, a Solotech company, provided event infrastructure and services to the large-scale event also.

Solotech provided video and audio equipment across the entire site. The video screen measured almost 1,500 square metres and a total of 182 Martin Audio line array cabinets and 44 subs were used too. Capital Sound increased the number of cabinets it put in, putting in an additional four cabinets to each of the main hangs, and the cabinets on the rear six delays were upgraded too. According to Martin Connelly, senior project manager at Capital Sound, the addition of the extra cabinets provided more control of the sound on-site.

Connolly said: “What stood out for me on this project was the co-operation between all departments to get the show happening from two years of nothing.”

Broyd agreed and concluded: “Titan was prominently designed with one thing in mind: to be the ultimate touring solution or festival focal point as well as the most advanced production facility for the world’s biggest artists. As BST Hyde Park attracts the biggest artists on the planet, the Titan stage couldn’t have had a better baptism than this event. The feedback received from everyone involved in the stage – from artists, management, designers, and riggers, through to technicians and engineers – was overwhelmingly fantastic.”

Suppliers list

Sound and video – Solotech
Marshalling and security – Total Event Solutions and G4S
Plant – Charles Wilson
Portable buildings – Wernick Events

Bars – Peppermint Bars

Stage – Star Live
Temporary structures – Instant Marquees, Key Structures and GL events UK
Tower lights – Illumin8
Fencing – Entertee
Toilets – PTL

Images: Nathan J Cox/Ben Baker/inthebag.pro