Live events sector
A High Court judge has dismissed a bid to have Wireless Festival removed from Finsbury Park. A local residents’ group, The Friends of Finsbury Park, had requested a judicial review of the Local Authority’s decision to allow the festival to go ahead, arguing that that Haringey Council “does not have the power” to approve the Live Nation event for the grade II-listed public park, which is classified as Metropolitan Open Land.
The group, which raised over £11,000 on crowdfunding website CrowdJustice towards its legal costs, contended the council’s decision was illegal under the Greater London (Parks and Open Spaces Act), which allows a maximum of the 10% of the park to be shut off for a private event (Wireless takes up 27%).
Wireless Festival faced criticism in 2015 after serious security problems when the 45,000-capacity festival featured acts such as Drake, David Guetta, Avicii, Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj in 2015. Video footage emerged showing chaotic scenes after a crowd forced open a security gate to gain access to the site during a performance by Lethal Bizzle. The Friends Of Finsbury Park group said a the time: “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” addng “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’s cabinet member for the environment, Peray Ahmet, welcomed the decision saying “We are pleased with today’s ruling, which means that large-scale live music events in Finsbury Park and open spaces across London are no longer under threat” adding “Events like Wireless make a huge contribution to London’s cultural scene and in Haringey bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds, which is spent improving our parks and attracting more visitors. We will continue to work with residents and event organisers to ensure Wireless Festival is safe and enjoyable for all.”
Tom Palin, The Friends of Finsbury Park’s chairman, says the group will appeal the decision.