IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Renewed calls for Wireless festival ban in Finsbury Park

Wireless was "better this year than last" but councillor warns of social impact on the borough

15 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

NEIGHBOURS living by Finsbury Park have renewed calls for the annual licence granted to the Wireless festival to be revoked after another weekend of music.

Some members of the Friends of Finsbury Park group said the event should be banned, even after a licensing review led to stricter conditions for this year.

Although the 110-acre open space is well used by residents in at least three boroughs, Haringey Council hold the decision on the licence.

Campaigner Cive Carter said it was “scurrilous” for the council to claim that the festival only closed off 30 per cent of the park to the public.

Haringey councillor Eldridge Culverwell, Friends of Finsbury Park chairman Simon Hunt, Clive Carter

He said: “They have put on their Twitter account recently, claiming falsely, that more than 70 per cent of the park is open to the public and completely unaffected for that weekend. It is just not true.”

Martin Ball, another Friends member, said the festival affected “the whole park” when taking into account the ticket office, parked coaches, checkpoint cabins, extra congestion and security vehicles.

Other members at the general meeting on Tuesday called for a full year without major events – Wireless has a capacity of 50,000 people – to give the land a chance to recover.

Resident Tabitha Tanqueray, who lives just off the park, said vibrations from the festival “felt like a minor earthquake” during the headline act on Saturday night. She said: “I had never experienced anything like that before. It was a bit like the movement you feel when you’re on a boat. It was very surreal and unsettling to feel that in a solid Victorian terrace.”

Cllr Gary Heather, who represents Finsbury Parkward at Islington Council, said he felt the festival was “better this year than last year” in terms of fewer cases of anti-social behaviour on the streets. But he added: “I’m not supporting it any- way. This is a way of Haringey plugging the Tory cuts, but they are doing something that leaves a negative impact in Hackney and Islington.”

Danielle Dodoo, 42, an app developer from Loughton, spoke to the Tribune about how she is suffering from “mental flashbacks” after being “hooked” on to the side of a fence while attending the festival on the Sunday.

She believes a last-minute change – where an act was reportedly switched between stages – caused a rush which left her trapped on the fence.

“All I remember, in slow motion, is the fence coming down. Everything felt like it went quiet [it was like] being dragged underwater,” she said. She had to be freed from the fence by a passerby.

Ms Dodoo, who was there to promote her app Piin which aims to connect likeminded people together, was later taken to hospital after suffering a large gash to her thigh.

Danielle Dodoo being treated for her wound after Wireless

Festival Republic did not respond to a request for comment, while a spokeswoman from Haringey Council said: “The licence belongs to Live Nation, managed by the Festival Republic, and security arrangements are their responsibility, audited by the Safety Advisory Group.

“The Safety Advisory Group were satisfied with The Festival Republic’s arrangements – they had over and above the required security and resources.”

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