Council accused of lacking ‘serious engagement’ over Finsbury Park events

The furore over Finsbury Park events continues as Krankbrother has sought approval to increase capacity for its events, reports Miriam Balanescu

Finsbury Park terror attack

Haringey Council has been criticised for a “lack of serious engagement” with the local Finsbury Park community after an events organiser applied to increase its Finsbury Park festival’s capacity from 8,000 to nearly 10,000.

Krankbrother, which runs a yearly festival held in Finsbury Park each summer, applied to vary their premises licence before Christmas 2023.

The notice, published in a local paper, sought approval to raise the event capacity from 8,000 to 9,999 people, as well as adding a further day to the event. 

The notice suggested any objections to the change in licence should be written in to [email protected] – but they must relate to prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and prevention of children from harm.

Since its publication, the licence has prompted controversy, with locals taking to X (formerly Twitter) to encourage others to write to the council before the deadline last week.

@HarringayBirder posted: “No, no, no, no. This CANNOT be allowed.

“Krankbrother already have, over successive summers taken over and fenced off a large part of our park, destroyed grass and turned what was previous healthy grassland into wet mud, pumped out loud dance music at intolerable levels.”

Another local with the handle @AndrewMcEwan07 posted: “Do Haringey Council ever actually respond to local residents or consult them? This year all we were told was that the vibrations were people jumping and that ‘thorough tests’ would be done next year.. Definitely just a fob off mission though. Was patronising.”

The licence application follows an ongoing controversy last year over events held in Finsbury Park, with local environmental campaigners taking particular issue with Krankbrother for holding its event in the most “eco-diverse area” of the park.

In August 2023, Krankbrother was accused by local groups including Haringey Tree Protectors of lopping branches off 154-year-old plane trees, as well as placing heavy equipment near tree roots in breach of council guidelines. 

Mike Hakata responded by saying the council was “confident no lasting or significant damage occurred”. 

The opposition Liberal Democrats later launched a petition calling for management of Finsbury Park to be “taken out of Haringey Council’s hands”. 

Another concern raised by residents is having access to the park removed. A series of concerts last year, including The 1975, led to the park being entirely closed off to the public, while the Krankbrother event required a section of the park to be shut. 

Last month, the first in a series of 45,000 capacity concerts to be held this summer was announced, with Solid Grooves label founder Michael Bibi performing.

A spokesperson for the Friends of Finsbury Park told HCP: “The Friends of Finsbury Park is disappointed at the lack of serious engagement on the impact of major events in Finsbury Park, with no real consultation to any of the three boroughs’ residents in almost ten years. We believe there is space for small, well-managed, locally focused events – and are proud of Finsbury Park’s history here – but we do not believe what is now proposed meets that test. 

“This festival, sited in one of the most ecologically sensitive areas of the park, proposes an expansion in duration and scale. Undeniably, it will have a material impact on this unique green space that we should treasure. It’s another weekend of disruption, pollution and noise for long suffering local residents, with a large area fenced off from use just when they might hope to enjoy its beautiful tranquil space in the city. 

“No progress has been made on the numerous concerns raised by local residents through last year’s major events, which left the park battered by muddy runs and nearby flats literally rocking along to the music. Residents of all three boroughs deserve better: a park that’s safe and well cared for, open to all, and ecologically protected.”

Cabinet member for culture, communities and leisure Emily Arkell, said: “Finsbury Park has a long history as a venue for outdoor events. We’re proud to build on this tradition by hosting some of the biggest names in music each summer.

“As well as providing unique recreational opportunities, these events generate around £1.2million per year, all of which is reinvested into maintaining and improving the park for all residents.

“We are always looking to improve how events are managed, and throughout the year we regularly engage with residents and stakeholders in Haringey, Islington and Hackney to ensure that negative impacts are minimised. We hold organisers to account and aren’t afraid to act if standards fall short.

“All applications to vary a premises licence are subject to formal consultation with responses carefully considered by the licensing sub-committee before it reaches a decision.”

Krankbrother has been approached for comment.