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Local residents vow to fight on after London council does deal with Live Nation over Wireless noise restrictions

By | Published on Tuesday 15 January 2019

Wireless Festival

A residents group in the Finsbury Park area of London say “the fight isn’t over” after their local council did a deal with the Wireless festival over its new licensing conditions.

Wireless owner Live Nation has had a number of run ins with the Friends Of Finsbury Park group since it relocated its now urban music centric festival to their neighbourhood in 2014. After last year’s event some local campaigners were calling for the festival not to be granted a licence at all for 2019, while others demanded it have its capacity significantly cut.

Haringey Council nevertheless agreed in October to provide Wireless with a licence for 2019, without the significant capacity cuts, but with some extra rules for Live Nation to comply with. The live music firm then took issue with some of those extra conditions, particularly those relating to noise levels and curfew, and to that end appealed the council’s decision regarding the Wireless licence at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

However, last week it withdrew that appeal having seemingly done a deal with the local council over noise level restrictions and presumably having learned to live with the earlier-than-ideal curfew. But FOFP say they’d have preferred the appeal hearing to go ahead, so they could have presented their arguments, rather than the council doing a deal on noise restrictions behind closed doors.

According to the Islington Gazette, the council told local campaigners that, after Live Nation filed the appeal in November, it hired a noise consultant to review data and advise on the possible implications of altered restrictions. It was based on that work that it did a deal with the promoter, with the council’s licensing sub-committee also agreeing to the changes.

FOFP campaigner Martin Ball told the Gazette that he felt that the council had “capitulated” in doing the deal over noise restrictions, adding “what a betrayal of those who call for tougher controls on the event”. Meanwhile, another representative of the group confirmed plans to continue to fight the Wireless licence, probably by taking the matter to the high court. Campaigner Tom Palin told the Islington Tribune: “It feels like a David versus Goliath battle but we fight on – it isn’t over”.

Speaking for Haringey Council, Councillor Kirsten Hearn last week said of reaching a deal with Live Nation: “We’re pleased Haringey will continue to play host to Wireless Festival – a world-class urban event that helps to fund the park the whole year round”.