The Wireless festival has been granted permission to return to its north London venue, but only on the strict condition that performers do not swear.
The licence conditions for the Finsbury Park event also include new tougher sound level limits and have been imposed by the local council after a residents’ group made a series of complaints.
Largely featuring music of black origin, such as grime, hiphop and rap, the north London festival attracts almost 50,000 people each day, and has been headlined recently by Skepta and Chance the Rapper.
Stormzy was the main attraction this year, but if the Croydon-born rapper returns he will have to censor his breakthrough track Shut Up, which contains five swear words, or Wireless could face penalties and may not be allowed to return.
The new rules request that performers “do not sing or play any vulgar, obscene or banned songs or carry out indecent acts or make any vulgar gestures, actions or remarks during the performance”.
In a complaint made to Haringey council, campaigners said the festival brought anti-social behaviour to the area, with open drug dealing, vomiting on streets and excrement on doorsteps seen in previous years.
Tom Palin, a director of Friends of Finsbury Park, said locals last year “could not get any peace” and he personally knew of 10 people who had moved out of the area as a result of the disruption each year.
“I remember last year when Travis Scott was performing and the windows at my friends’ house were shaking,” he said. “You could hear them jangling. The residents were adamant that something had to be done to stop the disturbance.”
The ban, which is likely to be difficult to enforce, was criticised on social media for effectively censoring music and introducing rules that might not be applied to indie and rock festivals.
Councillor Kirsten Hearn, Haringey’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “Wireless festival is a world-class urban event that helps to fund the park the whole year round and makes a major cultural contribution to Haringey. We will work to address these [concerns] with residents and partners at Finsbury Park.”
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