Open spaces shouldn’t require celebrations to pay for maintenance, neighbors say

Megan Thee Stallion performs with thousands on Wireless

A NEW but familiar row has opened up on how parks are paid for-after thousands went to the Wireless festival and reported that people without tickets tried to jump the fence.

Objectors said the event at Finsbury Park, which featured exclusive performances from some of the world’s most popular rap and R&B acts, was too noisy and blocked too much open space with others.

In the past week more than 1,500 people signed the “Hands Off Our Park” petition to say “no to the loss of space in the park for large noisy celebrations”.

The petition is supported by Friends of Finsbury Park (FFP), a charity that represents park users.

“The real debate here is about how the council funds large green open spaces. Finsbury Park is managed by Haringey Council, which has long rented space for large events to fill the park’s budget gap,” he said. said FFP co-chair Tom Graham. “We care about effectively funding our local parks without relying on the revenue of large events.”

He said Friends of Finsbury Park wanted to see Haringey “communicate with the public on park funding costs properly-people value these spaces, but it’s not free”.

Referring to a recent “Parks for Health” initiative, Mr. Graham said there was “evidence of Camden and Islington working together in public parks.”

He said: “There is a good argument for all three boroughs [Islington, Hackney and Haringey] coming together to share the burden and responsibility of funding the park ”.

He said there was a “huge sense of frustration” among residents that large events were “using more than half of our park for more than four weeks”.

Finsbury Park

A large part of the park will be closed for about four weeks at the end of July, as festival organizers set up hoarding and prepare for a series of festivals and music events.

“For five nights of concerts, you effectively have four weeks of barriers around that part of the park,” Mr Graham said.

These events were kicked off by Wireless over the weekend.

As temperatures rose to 30 degrees on Sunday, there were complaints of large queues and poor crowd control.

Milly Oliver, who was waiting to enter the park through the main entrance to Seven Sisters Road, said she saw “people dying and being trampled on,” adding that the situation had become “really scary” and that she had “been trauma “.

Others said people were forced to jump over fences to avoid being trampled on. According to police, officials attended to help with festival security and when the crowd increased after a small group of people attempted to enter, entry to the festival was “momentarily” halted.

Wireless has spread to three venues this year, with performances taking place in Crystal Palace Park and Birmingham as well as Finsbury Park.

The festival was led by rapper Cardi B on Friday, R&B singer SZA on Saturday and “Queen of Rap” Nicki Minaj on Sunday. It’s a rare event on the UK music calendar showcasing the best of hip-hop, rap and R&B, and is known for its importance by Black History Month organizers.

The park has a long history of music events going back to Jimi Hendrix, while Bob Dylan and Madness performed sell-out gigs.

But Mr Graham said: “It has nothing to do with the type of music – we agree that there is an important venue for diverse music festivals, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it in Finsbury Park.”

He said the FFP supports “well-managed, small community-focused events” with a capacity of less than 10,000.

“We are proud to host the Kurdish Festival and Latino Festival,” he said. “We host diverse events – it’s not an agile protest. Our challenge is about the safety of the events, how well they are managed, and its impact on the environment.”

Wireless did not respond to our queries this week. A Haringey Council spokesman said: “Finsbury Park has a long history of hosting big events and with Covid restricting the lives of our young people for a long time, musical events like this are helping to bring our communities back to appreciate art, culture and music.

“We will always include the views of our residents and there are a number of issues that need to be considered around these events including how we bring people in and out of the area, how we work with the joint boroughs. and respects the local area. “