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Council accused of ‘underhand’ change to Wireless conditions

Festival
7 February 2019

ALTHOUGH FESTIVAL Republic (FR), organiser of Wireless (cap. 45,000), has dropped an appeal against new conditions imposed on the event by Haringey Council last October, a group representing residents around London’s Finsbury Park is considering further legal action.

Friends of Finsbury Park (FOFP) accuse the council of making a subsequent “underhand” change
of conditions.

A review of the festival’s license in October stipulated that FR must adhere to noise levels of 85dB at various off-site points, including neighbouring building facades, according to FOFP, which believes this requirement has since been changed without adequate consultation.

“Haringey have decided to row back on several of the new noise conditions,” says Simon Hunt, chair FOFP, which has been in dispute with the promoter for several years (see Festival, issue 33). “We’re concerned because we weren’t involved in discussions about changing noise conditions for a third time.

“At the review in October we heard competing testimonies from three noise experts representing Haringey, [FR co-owner] Live Nation and ourselves. We demonstrated that a level of 85dB was workable by monitoring Stormzy’s set, and this was agreed,” Hunt explains.

“Since then, Haringey has heard from a fourth expert and decided that the opinion of all three review experts is void. We have no idea how the committee was persuaded and why was the fourth expert not heard in the normal way? It seems underhand and we are exploring an appeal to the High Court.”

Festival understands that, since the October hearing, Haringey appointed an independent sound specialist, Meyer Brown, who recommended the use of a dBC measure, rather than dB, as a more effective way to control low frequency noise and that the council followed this recommendation.

FOFP believes this change has effectively increased the dB level to 90.

In a statement, Haringey councillor Kirsten Hearn, cabinet member for Environment, says, “We’re pleased Haringey will continue to host Wireless Festival. We know that residents in Haringey and neighbouring boroughs want to see improvements around events at the park and we will work to deliver these with residents and partners at Finsbury Park.”

Drake, Stormzy and J Cole headlined last year, but no acts have been announced for this July’s event. Tickets cost £175.

Festival Republic did not respond to Festival’s requests for comment.

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