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Live Nation appeals new restrictions council has placed on Wireless festival

By | Published on Friday 23 November 2018

Wireless Festival

You might think that Live Nation would have been pleased to be granted a licence for its Wireless festival to take place in North London’s Finsbury Park next summer. After all, some locals were calling for the licence not to be issued at all or for the event’s capacity to be significantly cut back. But the live giant says that, while it got its licence for the capacity it wanted, some of the conditions in that licence are unworkable.

There has been opposition to Wireless from some local community groups ever since the Live Nation event – which has morphed into a celebration of urban music in recent years – was relocated into Finsbury Park. The community group Friends Of Finsbury Park have done a good job in organising that opposition and putting pressure on the local council to put new restrictions on the festival.

Among other things, locals have complained about noise levels, general disruption, unruly behaviour by festival-goers on the way to and from the event, local streets being used as toilets and drugs being bought and sold around the park. Although it’s Haringey Council that issues the licence, the park also borders onto the Islington and Hackney boroughs, and councillors there have also expressed some concerns.

Despite that opposition, Live Nation last month got its licence from Haringey Council to stage Wireless 2019 in Finsbury Park. However, the new licence came with some new terms. That included the amusing conditions regarding swearing and the exposure of “female breasts” on-stage, but also some more practical new rules regarding noise levels and curfew.

It’s the latter that Live Nation now says are unworkable. It has submitted an appeal over the council’s decision to Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court. In it, according to the Islington Gazette, the live music company says of the new noise restrictions: “Wireless festival is unlikely to be commercially viable or practically feasible with such bass levels or with such sound levels on the adjoining Seven Sisters Road”.

It goes on: “Headline artists will be deterred from appearing and the enjoyment of the audience will be materially diminished, to the extent that extensive audience complaints about low sound levels will be received, there will be an adverse response on social media and the worldwide reputation will be affected”.

As for the new 9.30pm closing time the licence forces, Live Nation’s appeal goes on: “It will be seriously damaging to the commerciality and attractiveness of the event. Headline artists of international repute will not be interested in finishing their performance at 9.30pm before it is even dark enough for an effective light show as part of the climax the act. The audience will complain about early closing and the reputation of the event and the premises licence holder will suffer”.

Needless to say, Friends Of Finsbury Park are critical of Live Nation’s appeal, telling the Gazette: “We are dismayed that big business in the form of Live Nation has decided to attempt to overturn the decision of democratically elected councillors who heard evidence from local residents and councillors from three boroughs over the course of two evenings at Haringey Town Hall, and were evidently persuaded that Live Nation has been causing a public nuisance. Haringey Council must now defend the decision by the [licensing sub-committee] to impose new conditions on the licence”.