Many of you have written to us expressing your concerns over Wireless 2016. Unbearable noise, antisocial behaviour, festival goers urinating in the street and defecating in gardens, intimidating security, dangerous hazards in the park to name but a few. We’ve had over 50 complaints so far from local residents, most on the Hackney side of the Park. Residents in Seven Sisters Road reported noise levels beyond which they thought acceptable. Even residents who were not against Wireless felt compelled to complain. There were reports of visible movement in flats and ‘shaking’ buildings, one resident likening it to a small earthquake. And if that wasn’t enough, a police helicopter hovered overhead after each day ended. On Sunday for example, the helicopter was up for over an hour until about 11pm, drawing in a raft of complaints from tired residents just wanting it all to be over.
Many of our complaints have been dealt with in an appalling way as Council officials covering for Festival Republic’s (Wireless Festival Organisers) mistakes, seem to forget where their responsibilities lie. One resident complained that she feared for children’s safety as a buggie driver using a mobile phone almost hit her. We sent the following email to Haringey Council Licensing:
‘We’ve had a report of buggy drivers using mobile phones when driving.
‘This morning I walked across Finsbury Park on the main east-west pedestrian route and had a close shave with a buggy which was being driven north onto the covered reservoir, crossing the path a few metres in front of me. The driver was clearly oblivious to my presence as he was having a conversation on a mobile phone whilst driving.
This area is very close to the children’s play areas and to me this seems like an accident waiting to happen. Can I suggest that you inform all drivers that they must only use phones in vehicles whilst they are stationary? There was also a passenger in the buggy who could have taken the phone if it was important.’
As I have mentioned before. Please can you ensure no risks like this are taken anywhere on site especially near children’s play areas.’
To which I received this reply;
‘Thanks for letting us know Tom, we will refer to Festival Republic.
This is on private land so I am not aware of it being an offence as this only applies to the Queens highway.’
Now, as Wireless prepares to decamp and the barriers are slowly taken away, shocking images of the park are starting to emerge. Fields that were green before the Wireless occupation are damaged beyond belief by vehicle tracks. We were promised the park would be protected, yet the protective matting has either not been used or not worked at all. Contractors rushing to get all signs of Wireless out of the park are cutting corners. Many are not observing Health and Safety site rules with trucks and cranes working without banksmen.
They are still hard at work dismantling the main stage in order to get Finsbury Park handed over to the public again. But what will we get? A park ravaged by 150,000 pairs of feet, a park disfigured by vehicles and heavy equipment, a park which is living proof that Haringey Council’s policy to host large music events does not work. It is impossible to mitigate events like this. The Council cannot control what happens in the park during the Wireless occupation. When will they learn that Finsbury Park is not the right place for this monster festival.