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Wireless pledges an operational overhaul in bid to placate locals

By | Published on Friday 22 April 2016

Wireless Festival

Organisers of London’s Wireless Festival have announced a stack of operational changes ahead of this year’s planned event. The announcement follows mounting criticism from residents who live near Finsbury Park – which has hosted Wireless since 2014 – and who are calling on the local council to deny the Live Nation event a licence this year.

Arguing that the Wireless festival causes unacceptable loss of amenity and increases in traffic and noise, and that there were security failings at last year’s event, Friends Of Finsbury Park said last month: “We are not against Wireless Festival, but its sheer size and scale is totally inappropriate for Finsbury Park. We are happy to see events staged which don’t involve the closure of one third of the park in high summer, are more inclusive of the local community, and benefit the park itself”.

With that campaign seemingly gaining momentum, Melvin Benn, boss of Live Nation’s Festival Republic business, which has now taken over responsibility for Wireless, has made moves to try to placate locals and the local authority by promising a restructuring of the event’s operational and security teams for 2016. Festival industry veteran Benn has some experience in placating locals and councils with concerns about music events, so Live Nation will be hoping he is the man to successfully address the Wireless problems.

Benn said yesterday: “We have been working closely with local police and Haringey Council, as well as festival-goers, on a full site improvement plan for Wireless Festival 2016. Our new security strategy will solve issues from last year’s event, which includes the restructuring and management of key areas, specifically site structure and security. This is a new year for Wireless Festival, and we’re confident it’s going to be better than ever”.

A statement from Festival Republic said the new Wireless operational team “includes specialist security teams and new security positions; including security co-ordinator and offsite security roles, adding to the overall site improvement plan”. Meanwhile it noted that the Live Nation subsidiary “specialises in the production of large scale festivals, with Benn also responsible for the production behind Reading and Leeds, Latitude and V Festival, amongst others”.

Wireless isn’t the only event staged by a Live Nation business to be promising an operational revamp following teething problems at a newish site. As much previously reported, DF Concerts’ T In The Park is also hoping new systems and staff will overcome opposition from locals to it using the Strathallan Estate in Perthshire.