I may be at an age where Horlicks is preferable to guitar licks, and yes, I was once at an age where sex band drugs and rock and roll were part of a staple diet…
But the annual Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park is becoming, to say the least, a blot on the landscape of a great area. Last year it was 'the riot':
Because of this, Friends of Finsbury Park chair Tom Palin took the case for a ban on the festival to the High Court but lost. Haringey Council were of course laughing all the way to the bank (£400,000 worth of smiles that the 'festival' brings) with that decision. And while festival organisers boasted that there weren't any 'major incidents' this year it is hard to imagine that a KFC outlay would be looted by revellers and that people would be urinating in local gardens on a 'regular' Finsbury Park weekend.
The park is a local treasure, a free space where people can chill out. With what seems like a conveyor belt of these 'festivals' – Wireless, United, Ceremony' to name but three from the past 12 months, it seems like Finsbury Park is renting out the crown the jewel of the borough in contradiction of what local residents want, as another form of taxation.
I particularly 'like' this piece of PR nonsense from the Wireless organisers: "Festival Republic dedicated to having a positive impact on the local community and we thank the residents of Finsbury Park for your ongoing support." So presumably used condoms and needles, rioting, looting, drugs arrests, the aftermath scene described by MP Daid Lammy as 'Srengeti', and people filling water bottles with vodka is what Festival Republic is referring to as a 'positive impact'. More truthful would be that 50,000 people paying £60 a ticket give Festival Republic a 'positive impact' turnover of around £3m, £400,000 of which ends up in Haringey Council. Result, happiness, unless of course you happened to be working in KFC as the looters ransack the outlet, or you want to get a bus to and from Finsbury Park Station, or you want to drive within a two-mile radius of the area, or, perish the thought, go an enjoy quality time in Finsbury Park without having your ear drums shattered.
For those of you like me who think it's time to reclaim the park, please make your point heard here:
By Mark Rivlin