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‘Illegal’ Wireless gets green light from council

A residents' group has threatened legal action against Haringey Council, saying it "does not have the power" to approve the festival for Finsbury Park

By Jon Chapple on 22 Mar 2016

Kanye West, Wireless Festival 2014, Daniel Gregory

Kanye West at Wireless 2014 in Finsbury Park

image © Daniel Gregory

Residents’ association Friends of Finsbury Park has threatened legal action after Wireless Festival was given the go-ahead to take place in Finsbury Park, north London, for the third time this July.

Haringey Council gave Live Nation the green light for Wireless 2016 last Friday (16 March).

“After reviewing the relevant legislation it is our view that Haringey Council does not have the power to hold Wireless Festival,” said a statement from Friends of Finsbury Park. “We are now working closely with our solicitor, Susan Ring, to discuss the next course of action.”

The group, chaired by Tom Palin, says it sees the 110-acre (46ha) park as being on the front line in a fight to safeguard London’s public parks against “exploitation” from commercial interests: “Other councils are already looking to host events [similar to] Wireless Festival in their parks. This isn’t just about Finsbury Park. Commercial exploitation such as this will continue to happen across the country if we don’t make a stand.

“This isn’t just about Finsbury Park. Commercial exploitation such as this will continue to happen across the country if we don’t make a stand”

“These are our green spaces, our communities, our parks. We have to stop this now and save Finsbury Park for generations to come, helping our children and theirs to enjoy parks as the Victorians originally intended.”

Last year’s event proved controversial after violence erupted on Saturday. As one woman lay bleeding after being stabbed, a crowd of around 150 people trampled security fences and fought with police and security as they tried to gatecrash the festival at about 6pm.

Friends of Finsbury Park says it is “not against Wireless Festival in itself”, but the festival is “just too big” for the park. “Its vast scale covers almost one third of the park, surrounded by an oppressive 8ft-high green metal fence, excluding park users and residents in high summer for weeks on end,” it says. “We want to work with Haringey to find alternative, more imaginative, streams of income which are more appropriate in type and scale for our wonderful park and inclusive of the local community.”

Calvin Harris, Chase & Status and Kygo will headline Wireless 2016, on Friday 8 July, Saturday 9 July and Sunday 10 July, respectively.

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