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Punters spent £38million at Finsbury Park festivals last year - but Haringey Council only saw £1.4m

PUBLISHED: 09:53 23 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:37 27 August 2019

Festivalgoers at Wireless Festival. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA

Festivalgoers at Wireless Festival. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

More than 300,000 people spent a total of £38million at major festivals in Finsbury Park last year, a report reveals.

Tyga performs at Wireless Festival. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PATyga performs at Wireless Festival. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA

Excluding tickets, the average punter spent £172.30 all in - £90.26 at the festival, £9.73 in Haringey and £72.31 outside the borough - much of it likely to have been in Hackney and Islington, which border the park.

When travel, accommodation, food and drink outside the festival and the £11m spent on tickets are taken into account, the total spend was just over £63m.

But only £4m was spent in the vicinity of the park and Haringey Council pocketed just £1.4m, raising questions about the deals it has struck with organisers.

Wireless Festival was the main event at the park, followed by Liam Gallagher and Queens of the Stone Age gigs. They were all organised by Festival Republic, along with Steel Yard day.

Slammin' Events was the only other organiser, hosting the Southport Weekender and Tranzmission.

The report, titled Economic Impact of Major Events at Finsbury Park was carried out by Fourth Street, and commissioned by Haringey Council. It was delivered in December but is believed to have been published recently.

Most festivalgoers, about 55pc, came from outside London, with just 8pc, or 23,000, living locally. More than 80pc came on public transport.

A survey of businesses in the area found just over half said the impact of festivals was "very positive or positive", while 22pc said they had a "negative or very negative" effect.

Festivalgoers watch Trippie Redd performing at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park in 2019. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PAFestivalgoers watch Trippie Redd performing at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park in 2019. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA

The happier traders were food and drink establishments, while shops - some of which had to close due to the footfall - were the most damning.

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The Friends of Finsbury Park campaign group has seen its battle against Wireless go all the way to the High Court.

Chair Simon Hunt said: "There is an economic benefit to these festivals but it seems as though the overwhelming majority goes to the organisers themselves, and not to the local community."

Festivalgoers at Wireless Festival. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PAFestivalgoers at Wireless Festival. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA

Another member, Tom Graham, who submitted the Freedom of Information request that uncovered the report, added: "The council should reduce the size and frequency of events, and confidently demand more cash for the pleasure of leasing our lovely public space.

"I sympathise with council budget cuts and that nice things cost money, but income can still be made through more delicate use."

FoFP were unsuccessful in a judicial review aiming to ban Wireless due to its impact on the area, but did secure an agreement that all the cash generated by major events is reinvested in the park.

Haringey Council says that covers everything from management and maintenance to infrastructure. On its website it lists how the money has been reinvested, but only £370,000 is accounted for. This year there were fewer festivals, netting Haringey £1.1m.

Simon said the group has been trying to organise a meeting with the council to see where all the money is going.

"Earlier this year they promised to hold a workshop where they would set out the finances," he said. "We are pushing for that to take place at the moment.

"I've asked what is the effect of our ruling. Do they need to spend the money the next year or can they stockpile it for 10 years?"

Haringey's sustainability chief Cllr Kirsten Hearn said the events were a "huge boost" to the local economy, and £45m w

She added: "Many of our residents attend and enjoy these major events, which help to keep Haringey on the map for world-class entertainment.

"The injection of around £4m into the local economy provides a significant boost to nearby businesses in the surrounding boroughs of Hackney, Haringey and Islington."

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