By Ammaarah Khan and Hannah Ledden
After allegations of damage, crime and anti-social behaviour that the Wireless Festival brought to the suburbs of Haringey last year, uneasy area residents are voicing their concerns as the three-day music event approaches.
The Friends of Finsbury Park group are hoping to raise £35,000 through an online fundraiser to take Haringey council to court after the festival was given the go ahead last month to take place July 8th, 9th and 10th. Haringey Council and Wireless Festival organisers insist that through new management there will be more security this year.
Eleven Years of Music
The festival started in Hyde Park in 2005. It has taken place in London, although it moved to Leeds in 2006 and 2007. In 2005, one-day ticket prices started at £35; now they start at £59.50.
Wireless has always been praised for its ‘something for everyone’ selection of acts over the years, covering various genres such as indie/rock, pop, hip-hop, rap and dance. World-famous musicians who have performed include Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, David Guetta and Fatboy Slim.
Last Year’s Events
The current legal disputes are the result of serious disruptions at last year’s festival. Videos show hundreds of people, without tickets, storming the security gates and ripping through fences, overpowering officials in scenes reminiscent of a rioting mob.
Video showing festival-goers last year.
Sofie Tyers, 20, a student from St Albans managed to avoid the disruption and said that the occurrences didn’t affect her experience.
“My experience was just like a normal festival and it was busy but not unbearable. I didn’t get caught up in the disturbances but the worst part was trying to find my way out at the end,” she said.
Although the immediate impact on local people during the course of the event is a main concern behind the festival returning to Finsbury Park this summer, the long-term implications are a prominent worry.
In their online campaign, Friends of Finsbury Park commented on the “destructive legacy of Wireless” and damage created from last summer that is “still apparent and much will never recover”.
Changes for 2016
Frustrations amongst campaign supporters and local residents continue to rise at the suggestion that the park will continue to house the music event this year, despite their concerns being raised.
Speaking at the time of original opposition, a spokesman for Haringey Council assured local people of increased measures to prevent the same level of disruption.
Ellie Cooper, 21, from Torquay saw the disruption first-hand last year, and believes blame shouldn’t fall with the park itself.
“I think it was such a good day and didn’t feel annoyed about people wanting to get in and enjoy the music. I don’t think that it was the park’s fault because I saw what happened and the videos online and the staff weren’t acting quick enough to rectify the problems.”
Those involved in questioning the council’s decision to continue with the event said that their focus remains on removing the music weekend from their park, not stopping it all together.
Many suggestions have been offered for alternative locations including previous sites: Hyde Park and the Olympic Park in Stratford.
If plans go ahead this year, the festival will be take place at Finsbury Park with headlining acts such as Calvin Harris, Boy Better Know and Chase & Status.
Friends of Finsbury Park continue to campaign against the council’s decision. More information can be found at http://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/save-finsbury-park/.