Editor’s comment: Let Wireless stay but make it work harder
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 July 2017
© Andrew Whitton 2015
Shoreditch. Finsbury Park. Busy areas with economies centred around socialising: nightclubs, pubs and bars, restaurants, and of course the park itself.
And so some reading our story about the people forced to leave London at weekends just to get some sleep, might be thinking: surely the people who moved there knew what they were in for?
Call me old-fashioned but I think if a house is fit to sell or rent, it should be fit to live in, and that should mean being able to go outside without fear and the ability to spend weekends at home that don’t consist of 60 straight sleepless hours.
I don’t share the view of some (including a number of my own friends) that Wireless should be moved or shut down altogether, perhaps because I am lucky enough not to live next door to it. Events like these are part and parcel of calling a place like Hackney home.
But when stewards fear being stabbed if they intervene in open criminality, something has clearly gone very wrong with the plan for the weekend.
I don’t doubt that Wireless Festival’s communication with its neighbours could be better: it didn’t manage to get back to us, either. And I’m not going to suggest steps they, and the authorities, can take to reassure the people who spend the other 362 days of the year in Finsbury Park: those suggestions ought to be coming from the residents themselves, at lavishly apologetic consultation events with free sandwiches. It’s hard to imagine the amount of money Wireless rakes in from the use of our park, so it should probably be bankrolling more than just terrified stewards: actual police officers is likely to be a starting point. Some of the cash they pay to use the park could be ringfenced to improve the area. But it all starts with listening.