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High Court to hear legal battle next month over award of festival contract

The High Court is due next month to hear a procurement challenge over how the Royal Parks awarded a contract to organise concerts in London’s Hyde Park.

It awarded the contract in 2019 to entertainment firm AEG Presents for the annual British Summer Time concerts, which are suspended this year due to the pandemic.

AEG Presents had held the contract since 2012, when it replaced rival Live Nation, which bid unsuccessfully for the 2019 contract.

Live Nation has taken action against Royal Parks in a challenge to the way in which the procurement was conducted and has sought disclosure of materials concerning the negotiations.

This included a claim rejected last month by the High Court for evidence relating to why event organiser Jim King returned to AEG Presents.

It argued that the return of Mr King, who had organised earlier concerts in the parks, “was unlawfully communicated to The Royal Parks outside the tender portal” and was an unlawful amendment to AEG Presents’s tender submission, AEG Presents’s barristers Brick Court Chambers said.

But Brick Court said Mrs Justice Jefford refused Live Nation’s application concluding that the reasons why Mr King wished to return to AEG; why AEG wanted him back and the terms on which he returned were not sufficiently relevant to the pleaded issues in the case.

The substantive claim is due to go to trial between 5 and 19 October.

Royal Parks and Live Nation have been contacted for comment.

Mark Smulian

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