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Council approves Finsbury Park for Live Nation’s Wireless, though not all locals happy

By | Published on Friday 20 December 2013


The London edition of Live Nation’s Wireless festival is almost certainly moving to Finsbury Park after Haringey Borough Council approved a licensing application earlier this week, though the live giant may have to deal with some unhappy neighbours, something which previously hindered its summer festivals operation in Hyde Park.

Wireless was one of the flagship events Live Nation created in 2005 once it secured the rights to stage concerts in Hyde Park. But in more recent years complaints by residents living near the park led to limitations on sound levels and curfews, and ultimately the partnership between the live firm and the Royal Parks ended after the 2012 season. The latter then struck up a new deal with Live Nation rival AEG Live, which staged a streamlined and reworked live event programme in the park earlier this year, seemingly without pissing off the locals so much.

But while AEG was busy telling the world that it could succeed where its rival failed by using Hyde Park as a festival venue while keeping both punters and locals happy, Live Nation scored a coup by announcing it had the rights to stage music events in the Olympic Park in East London, and that’s where Wireless took place in 2013, with a headline-grabbing bill led by Live Nation business partner Jay-Z.

But, insiders say, while the Olympic Park was a good venue in publicity terms, there were issues with using the space for a music festival which have not yet been resolved, which is why Live Nation decided to look for another London space for its summer city centre festivals programme. Resulting in the shift to Finsbury Park.

The North London park has been host to numerous concerts and festivals over the years, so locals there should be used to it, though some critics of the licence Live Nation has secured say that Wireless is significantly bigger than any event previously hosted at the site, and will result in more inconvenience for locals, and more of the park being cut off from the public.

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Katherine Reece told the Haringey Independent: “[We] believe that far greater co-ordination with police and transport authorities needs to take place for larger concerts in the park, and that the Labour-run council has not provided assurances that enough will be done to lessen the impact on residents. And Live Nation’s indefinite license for concerts in Finsbury Park means that far larger parts of the park will be unavailable to residents for longer periods than ever before”.

But local Council Leader Claire Kober defended the decision to grant the license, telling the local paper: “We’re proud that Finsbury Park is home to such a rich programme of events that brings visitors to our borough and supports local traders. This policy will not increase the number of large events, but it will bring in vital income to help us maintain our Green Flag award-winning parks at a time when our budget is being significantly reduced. We’re committed to better licensing and enforcement to minimise disruption from events to local residents – as well as funding free community events and festivals that continue to make use of Finsbury Park’s stunning facilities”.

As previously reported, earlier this week Live Nation announced that Wireless would take place from 4-6 Jul in 2014, with a second edition for the first time since 2007, this time taking place in Birmingham.