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Festival Republic withdraws appeal over Wireless licensing restrictions

Festival Republic has withdrawn an appeal lodged in November with Haringey Council regarding licensing restrictions for this year’s Wireless festival. The new restrictions demand reduced noise levels and a final night 9.30pm curfew for the festival, which has taken place in north London’s Finsbury Park since 2014.

The restrictions came into place following a campaign led by residents’ group Friends of Finsbury Park (FOFP) and supported by Hackney and Islington Councils. The campaigners cite antisocial behaviour and public disruption as motivations for their objection to the festival.

The festival promoters initially appealed the decision, stating that the earlier curfew and noise restrictions would “seriously damage” Wireless’s international reputation. The appeal argued: “Headline artists will be deterred from appearing and the enjoyment of the audience will be materially diminished.”

“Headline artists will be deterred from appearing and the enjoyment of the audience will be materially diminished”

However, Festival Republic this week withdrew the appeal at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court after reaching an agreement about sound levels with Haringey Council.

Despite the apparent compromise, campaigners remain displeased with the outcome. Martin Bell, a FOFP member calls the measures “a betrayal of those who call for tougher controls on the event.”

Festival Republic has been contacted for comment.

Wireless festival is the UK’s biggest urban music festival, last year welcoming almost 40,000 festivalgoers over three days of music from J Cole, Post Malone and Stormzy, among others.

A full copy of the Haringey Council licensing report can be read here.

 


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Last day of Wireless to finish at 9.30 under new licence

The final day of London’s Wireless festival will now finish at 9.30pm, with last drinks orders at 9pm, under new licence conditions imposed by Haringey borough council.

The outcome of a licensing review – initiated by residents’ group Friends of Finsbury Park (FoFP) and supported by Hackney and Islington councils and Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn – also imposed new sound level limits on the festival, which takes place in Finsbury Park in north London, as well ordering promoter Live Nation/Festival Republic to hire more security staff.

Additionally, performers are to be forbidden from swearing on stage, while “offensive” clothing – such as “attire which exposes the groin, private parts, buttock or female breast(s)” –is also prohibited.

However, FoFP’s proposal that the event’s daily capacity should be reduced from 45,000 to 10,000 was rejected.

Live Nation lawyer Philip Kolvin told the licence hearing that Wireless is the “only festival in the world that fully represents the community in which it is based”. “It’s a celebration of grime music,” he said. “A genre that emerged from London, from the estates, from the inner city. It’s London music – therefore, the festival celebrates the music of the people.”

“It’s London music … the festival celebrates the music of the people”

“We are pleased that the committee has taken into consideration the testimony of our witnesses and noise expert on the excessive and invasive noise that is produced by the festival, and agreed with the Friends’ case that loud music from Wireless, including bass level noise, has caused a public nuisance,” reads a statement from FoFP. “We therefore welcome the decision of the committee to incorporate our proposed noise limits and noise monitoring conditions.

“We are also pleased that the event will finish earlier on a Sunday, as we had suggested. However, several of our proposed licensing conditions have been disregarded by the committee, of which the most important is our request to reduce the number of attendees at the event.”

Both parties have until 12 November to appeal the decision, which can be read in full here, according to the Islington Gazette.

FoFP had previously attempted to prevent Wireless being allowed to take place in Finsbury Park, arguing the park’s residential location, combined with alleged antisocial behaviour by attendees, is unsuitable for an event of Wireless’s size. The association appealed following the failure of a previous legal challenge ahead of Wireless 2016, but the appeal was dismissed last November by a court of appeal judge.

 


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FR reveals QOTSA Finsbury Park show…as Wireless challenge fails

Liam Gallagher’s 29 June 2018 headline show in Finsbury Park, London, will be followed on the 30th by a similar mini-festival headlined by Queens of the Stone Age, promoter Festival Republic announced today.

The show, billed as ‘Queens of the Stone Age and Friends’, will also include performances by Iggy Pop (a UK exclusive), Run the Jewels and the Hives, with more acts still to be announced.

Festival Republic currently promotes two festivals, Wireless and Community Festival, in Finsbury Park, in Harringay, north London.

The announcement of the QOTSA (pictured) show follows the rejection of another bid by residents’ group Friends of Finsbury Park to prevent Wireless being allowed to take place in the 110-acre park. The association appealed following the failure of a previous legal challenge against Wireless 2016, but its claims were last week dismissed by court of appeal judge Gary Hickinbottom. Friends of Finsbury Park chair Simon Hunt says the group has now applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The show will also include performances by Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels and the Hives

Like the Liam Gallagher concert, Festival Republic says the new event is “guaranteed to be [a] stand-out show of the summer”.

In addition to Wireless, Community and the two new shows, Festival Republic has applied to Haringey Council for permission to stage an additional, yet-to-be-announced “music event” with a daily capacity of 20,000 from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 May.

Tickets for the QOTSA-headlined event will go on sale on 9am on Friday 1 December, priced at £52.50 plus booking fee for GA, with VIP tickets are available.

 


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Benn’s Wireless reveals new security strategy for 2016

Festival Republic managing director and newly appointed Wireless festival director Melvin Benn last night hosted a press conference at The Hospital Club in central London, announcing a restructure of the festival’s operational team and a number of on-site security improvements for 2016.

While Benn didn’t directly address residents’ group The Friends of Finsbury Park’s legal challenge to the festival, which will be held this year from 8 to 10 July in north London’s Finsbury Park and headlined by Calvin Harris, Chase & Status and Kygo, the security situation – or the “massive disruption, damage, excessive noise and antisocial behaviour in streets surrounding the park”, in the words of The Friends of Finsbury Park – is one of the group’s main complaints about Live Nation/Festival Republic staging Wireless in its current location.

“We have been working closely with local police and Haringey council, as well as festivalgoers, on a full site improvement plan for Wireless Festival 2016,” said Benn. “Our new security strategy will solve issues from last year’s event, which includes the restructuring and management of key areas, specifically site structure and security. This is a new year for Wireless Festival, and we’re confident it’s going to be better than ever.”

“Our new security strategy will solve issues from last year’s event, which includes the restructuring and management of key areas, specifically site structure and security”

The new operational team now includes specialist security teams, with newly created roles including security coordinator and offsite security positions adding to the overall site improvement plan.

Last year’s Wireless proved controversial after violence erupted on Saturday. 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.

Benn has also been brought in as executive producer for the troubled T in the Park festival, which last year was heavily was criticised for its traffic congestion, failings on crowd control and security and repeated breaches of planning permission. The Scottish festival is undergoing a process of transformation for 2016, with a more spacious arenalarger, better-stewarded campsite and improved transport infrastructure.

Finsbury Park residents’ group launches Wireless legal challenge

The Friends of Finsbury Park has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for its legal challenge to stop this year’s Wireless Festival.

The residents’ association is following through with the legal action it threatened against Haringey Council after the council gave permission to Festival Republic/Live Nation to stage the festival in Finsbury Park, north London, for the third time from 8 to 10 July.

As of midday today the Say No to Wireless in Finsbury Park campaign has raised £2,165 from 20 backers (of a goal of £5,000) on the CrowdJustice website.

The Friends of Finsbury Park believes, “after reviewing the relevant legislation”, that “Haringey Council does not have the power to hold Wireless Festival” in the grade II-listed public park, which is classed as Metropolitan Open Land.

The group says the 110-acre (46ha) park is too small for the festival, which has a daily capacity of 49,000, and that “the outcome of this case could affect all London parks, as councils seek to sell off and privatise green spaces. The argument that huge commercial events such as Wireless Festival must take place in order to maintain a public space is deeply disturbing and cannot be allowed to happen.”

Finsbury Park has a long history of hosting live music, with notable performances including Bob Dylan on his Never Ending European tour in 1993, the Sex Pistols’ 1996 comeback concert, Oasis on their Heathen Chemistry tour in 2002 and The Stone Roses’ reunion tour in 2013. It was also the location for Mean Fiddler’s Fleadh Festival from 1990 to 2003 and Rise Festival from 2006 to 2009.

Calvin Harris, Chase & Status and Kygo will headline Wireless 2016.