The Friends Of Finsbury Park group is escalating its campaign to prevent this year’s Wireless Festival from going ahead at North London’s Finsbury Park.
Formed as a charity organisation back in 1986, The Friends Of Finsbury Park have been campaigning to stop Wireless Festival from taking place in the 110-acre public park for some time.
The group oppose the use of the Park for major events such as Wireless Festival “which are simply too big, too noisy, unmanageable, unsafe and prevent local people and residents from enjoying the park”.
Billed for the weekend of Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July, Wireless Festival 2016 is still awaiting event permission from Haringey Council and the group hope to disrupt the planning process before it’s granted.
Presenting a formal objection to the Wireless Festival 2016 Application, the group listed their concerns with last year’s festival: “There were serious safety issues when hundreds of gatecrashers stormed the barriers, residents complained of excessive noise, disruption, and antisocial behaviour in streets surrounding the Park.”
“The event also caused severe damage to the fabric of Finsbury Park, destroying the grass areas where Wireless was held, with thousands of pairs of feet turning them into dusty scrubland which stayed ruined for months.”
Haringey Council made £845,000 from hosting Wireless Festival in 2014, all of which it claims went back into funding park improvements.
The Friends Of Finsbury Park group also highlighted the work of London solicitor Susan Ring, specialist in environmental and public law, who said in approving the application the council would be acting unlawfully as the size of the concerts contravenes an Act of Parliament set up to protect London parks.
In response, Haringey Council released the following statement: “We are considering all responses to the stakeholder consultation before making a decision on this application.
“Haringey Council work closely with the Finsbury Park events stakeholder group – which includes the Friends of Finsbury Park – when planning for events to ensure that they run as smoothly and safely as possible and the safety of people attending, as well as nearby residents, is always our top priority.”
Last year’s Wireless made headlines when dozens of people broke through permiter gates and metal fencing to gatecrash the weekend event.
There were more than 30 arrests over the weekend. Offences included possession of an offensive weapon, breach of bail and drugs offences.
Chief superintendent Victor Olisa, borough commander for Haringey, said at the time: “The Wireless Festival has been held in Haringey for a number of years and is enjoyed by thousands of people. Unfortunately, this weekend we saw a number of people act in an unacceptable manner by trying to barge their way into the festival without paying. While the number of arrests over the three days was low – and mainly for minor offences – we will review footage of this incident and decide whether any action should be taken against those involved.
“I would like to take this opportunity to praise the actions of the officer, and the security team, who managed to control the situation without it spiralling out of control. This is yet another example of the difficulties faced by officers performing their duty.”
These latest objections from The Friends of Finsbury Park, whose patron is Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, come in their ongoing dispute with Haringey Council over the festival’s future at the park.
When the Haringey Council committee met in October 2015 to discuss the impact and future of Wireless Festival, the Friends of Finsbury Park group attended the meeting but left angry, heckling the councillors about what they saw as a refusal to hear their point of view.
Calvin Harris, Chase and Status, J.Cole, Kygo and Boy Better Know are all scheduled to play Wireless Festival 2016 at Finsbury Park, London over the weekend of Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July.
Wireless 2016 festival tickets are on sale now, priced at £62.50 plus £7.25 in booking fees.
Day tickets are priced at £62.50 plus £7.25 booking fees, weekend tickets for all three days of Wireless 2016 will be priced at £155.50 plus booking fees. You can buy two day tickets for a combination of two days, priced at £106.50 plus booking fee.
Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wireless to buy tickets.