Once upon a time it used to be that music festivals were weekend-long events held in a muddy field somewhere in the countryside, meaning you had to bring along your own bodyweight’s worth of wet-weather gear and every possible piece of camping equipment known to man – yes, everything from a tent to a mosquito net – as there was no way of getting home until Sunday evening. But then, one day someone had a bright idea. Why not hold an urban music festival – one that would be hosted in a big city ensuring folks wouldn’t have to converge on a farmer’s field in the middle of nowhere but on a major public park in a major metropolis – and could go home at the end of the day?
What a bright idea it turned out to be. For, nowadays, the urban music festival has become a firm fixture of summer youth culture and one of the biggest, most popular and most enduring of them all is London’s Wireless Festival. Having started out 12 summers ago in the northern city of Leeds, this – easily the UK’s biggest city-based music festival, at which nobody camps over – has been based in London for the best part of a decade and, this summer, it’s set to welcome around 36,000 revellers into East London’s Finsbury Park – each day and evening! – between Friday 7th July and Sunday 9th July.
In actual fact, Wireless isn’t the only festival to be hosted by Finsbury Park at this time of year, yet – as noted – it’s definitely the biggest. And that’s because each year it manages to attract not just an enormous number of young, eager punters through its turnstiles, but also the best and most popular international chart-topping pop, hip hop, rap and R&B artists. Like with many a quality festival too, there’ll be no shortage of other shenanigans going on – everything from fairground rides for thrill-seekers to street-food pop-up stalls for those with rumbling tummies.
Talking of those acts, this summer’s line-up looks set to be a belter thanks to indie faves The Weeknd who, along with urban superstars Nas and Skepta, will be headlining. And they’ll be accompanied, across the weekend, by the likes of grime acts Wiley and Dave, local rapper Steflon Don and DJ legend Tim Westwood.
In many cases, most festival-goers tend to come for a (somewhat) hedonistic weekend and then head-off, not to think of the venue again. However, it’s worth thinking about the effect Wireless has on its venue and the surrounding area, as such events like this aren’t just crucial to London’s youth culture but generate an enormous amount of money that’s ploughed back into the local area’s (in this case, Haringey’s) parks, so they can be successful maintained and improved. So it’s a win-win all round! Not least as Finsbury Park is relatively easy to get to should you travel via public transport (see below) from wherever you may have made your base in the city – such as in the West End at, say, the Park Grand London Paddington hotel.
VIPs and corporate hospitality
This year, as in previous ones, Wireless will also boast a ‘VIP village’ full of gourmet food trucks and – most welcome of all – luxury toilet facilities. Moreover, they’ll also be a hospitality area for those who really feel like pushing the boat out. Indeed, ‘Bohemia’, as it’s titled, will be located in the area right behind the main stage, as close as possible to the acts and, indeed, all the action. This area will also host an unlimited, complimentary bar serving beer, wine, spirits and cocktails and tasty snacks and delicious dishes available from an on-site kitchen.
Opening and closing times
Friday 7th July: 1.30-9.45pm (Music starts at 3.30pm)
Saturday 8th July: 11am-10pm (Music starts at 1pm)
Sunday 9th July: 11am-9.30pm (Music starts at 1pm)
Best travel options
The event organisers strongly recommend relying on public transport to get to and from the festival on each of the days across the weekend. So, your best options for getting there – and away when it finishes each night – are via:
• Piccadilly line (for Manor House Tube station)
• Victoria Line (for Finsbury Park Tube station)
• Overground rail (specifically, Kings Cross station or Moorgate station to/ from Finsbury Park railway station).