IslingtonTribune

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Wireless venue switched due to virus timetable

Music festival to take place in south London after years of complaints over noise and rowdy behaviour

26 March, 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Wireless Festival is moving from Finsbury Park

A MUSIC festival which triggered a row over noise is moving from Finsbury Park to south London this year.

Wireless Festival has been held in the park every summer since 2014 and boasted line-ups of big-name artists including Nas and Skepta. Crowds of more than 100,000 would flock to it – leaving neighbours complaining about rowdy behaviour and noise.

In 2016 the Friends of Finsbury Park group took park managers Haringey Council to court in an attempt to block the festival.

Tom Graham, co-chair of the Friends of Finsbury Park, said: “In 2020, we rediscovered the importance of big open public spaces – our lungs in the city.

“Finsbury Park saw tremendous use, and local residents found peace, joy and happiness in it. We never thought it likely that major events would go ahead in 2021, and are glad that the park will remain open for all of the summer.”

He added: “Haringey Council have made a false link between major events and funding its parks and open spaces. If Haringey Council cannot afford it, they should do the decent thing and look at alternative funding models now, rather than letting the space suffer in coming years.”

Haringey said the lifting of more virus restrictions on June 21 would leave them insufficient time to prepare for the festival – and by September it could clash with Arsenal’s home matches.

Islington councillor Gary Heather said: “Haringey actually did a report that showed only 8 per cent of people going to Wireless lived locally.

“It was a complete and utter nightmare from when it first started off. We had transport problems and issues with crowds.”

Wireless will now take place in Crystal Palace park.

Cllr Heather added: “I do understand Haringey’s predicament. We are also in the predicament of declining money from central government. I do sympathise with Haringey on that. But I’m not sure whether they are actually putting the money back into the park.”

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “The Wireless Festival has always been a key occasion on our annual calendar.

“It brings high-quality entertainment to many of our residents and visitors to the borough with its regular, world-class line-up of global music stars. It has unquestionably helped put Haringey on the map when it comes to the arts, culture and entertainment scene.”

The spokesperson added: “The pandemic has affected our major events income and that presents a challenge for us. We will continue to engage with our commercial partners and external stakeholders regarding our plans for the future.

“We have already received applications from Festival Republic to return to Finsbury Park next year, and we look forward to working with them to make this happen.”

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