The stages are set and the sound checks are under way – this weekend, London’s Victoria Park will once again welcome festivalgoers as AEG's All Points East festival returns for its second year.
Last year, more than 200,000 people gathered at the park to celebrate the 10-day event that is rapidly establishing itself as the start of festival season and AEG Presents' vice-president of global partnerships, Will Dowdy, concedes that the fear of "the tricky second album" persists in the world of festivals too.
On stage, heritage acts such as The Chemical Brothers and The Strokes are programmed alongside newer acts, and this approach is replicated with an equally strong brand line-up of festival-supporting stalwarts and new pretenders.
Making a major debut in the UK festival scene this year is Huawei, which will undertake its first major festival activation at All Points East. The brand will be highlighting the photography capability of its handsets with an experience designed to showcase the two key functions: the ability to take images in low light and the zoom technology. Dowdy explains: "We’re setting up a dark room for people to shoot and post photos that the naked eye can’t see and we’re building a Huawei viewing tower for people to zoom into the main stage and back across the festival goers."
It is set to be one of the most prominent activations at the festival and will be joined by a raft of experiences from brands including Logic Vapes, Kraken Rum with its "Freaky tiki" space and Tinder, which will be delivering an activation on site to tie in with the brand’s new "festival mode", created in partnership with AEG Worldwide and Live Nation to connect and match festivalgoers.
Meanwhile, American Express is forging forward with its partnership with AEG, building on its experiences at Coachella and other festivals within AEG's portfolio to deliver an experience for Amex card members at All Points East. Upon arrival at the festival, card members that received a complimentary VIP upgrade can enter the site via a members lane and enjoy access to an exclusive members lounge with views across to the main stage.
Both activations represent a growing shift from brands wanting to move beyond traditional festival sponsorship and to authentically build experiences to engage with the increasingly varied demographic that are attending urban festivals.
Another festival partner keen to put itself firmly on the map for music fans is Ray-Ban. Building on its partnership last year that saw the brand create a limited-edition piece of eyewear for only the second time ever in its history, to be given to selected artists, there will be a more prominent consumer-facing presence this year. Ray-Ban will be aligning itself to one of the most striking structures in Victoria Park, the X stage. Known this year as the Ray-Ban Studios X Stage and guest-hosted by DJ Peggy Gou on the opening night of the festival, the electronic music-focused area will become Ray-Ban’s residence for the duration of All Points East.
Perennial crowd-pleaser Jägermeister also returns to Victoria Park with its Jagerhaus. Created by Frukt, the huge structure contains seven spaces, including a loft members bar and a backyard, and features a curated programme of live music. Dowdy is effusive in his praise for both the brand and the agency: "Both Jägermeister and Frukt did an incredible job last year, absolutely smashing it in terms of content. They are the only brand we’ve allowed to programme their own music at our events, so it shows the faith we have in them."
As the second year of All Points East kicks off, its audacious programming and growing line-up of brands catering to festivalgoers' every whim should kick any "second album fears" well and truly in to touch.