Islington Council and Jeremy Corbyn ‘concerned’ about impact of Wireless Festival on Finsbury Park

The ambulance in Seven Sisters Road at the junction with Portland Rise. Picture: Keith Greywood

The ambulance in Seven Sisters Road at the junction with Portland Rise. Picture: Keith Greywood - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Extra security in Hackney’s streets over the Wireless weekend left Islington’s Finsbury Park community having to contend with hundreds of drunk, noisy festivalgoers, the council has said.

The town hall has submitted a damning report supporting a review of Wireless organiser Live Nation’s licence, called for by the Friends of Finsbury Park.

In it, officers express “major concerns” over noise, management of anti-social behaviour, parking, traffic, street cleaning, the capacity of the park and crowd exit management at this year’s event.

The report said:

• Islington was ”frustrated” at having been forced to use its own staff to deal with the issues

• Huge queues at the festival caused binge drinking as people bought more drinks each time they went to the bar

• Signs encouraged people to walk home via Islington but there was no stewarding in place, leading to drug dealing and taking in residential streets

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• Islington was forced to employ street cleaners due to the mess after the festival

• Some people were not allowed into their homes because they didn’t have proof of address. One person with a small child was told to leave the youngster in the car until the street closure was lifted – on one day that was at 11.50pm

• 1,000 homes were landlocked by the road closures

• Because Hackney Council hired extra security following problems at concerts the previous weekend, festivalgoers were pushed into Islington where no additional stewarding was in place

• The lack of safe access in the event of emergency was ‘particularly concerning’ especially as two festivalgoers died

Islington did say should the concerns be addressed it would pull its representation from the potential review.

Jeremy Corbyn has also written to Haringey council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor saying each year he is becoming “increasingly concerned” about the impact of closures of the park on locals.

“The events result in the local community having limited access to the park for a considerable amount of weeks each year,” he said. “The area of the park cordoned off with huge barriers and the use of hard surface and road for the parking of very large heavy vehicles seem to be increasing each year.”

He said it was “very obvious the organisers were not sufficiently prepared for it or its effects on the local community”, referencing neighbours who could feel their homes “literally vibrating”.