Events in Finsbury Park - the impact

I thought the following tweets put forward by tom@tgraham deserved a bigger audience given the work he has put into compiling them. I reproduce them here with his permission. They make interesting reading for those who have been following the debate about events in Finsbury Park.

Haringey paid for an economic impact assessment of the various festivals in Finsbury Park. If you cannot sleep check it out here ( @haringeycouncil were a little bit coy about releasing.

In 2018, 306,097 people visited festivals in the park. Only 8% of attendees live in Haringey, 33% elsewhere in London and 55% from the rest of UK. (These events are not a 'local' or 'community' cultural event put on for people living nearby).

84% of visitors came on public transport (tube / train / bus). No wonder Finsbury Park is so popular with event companies - how many other big public spaces are so well connected?

On average, event goers spend a total of £172pp ex. tickets (!). The bulk of that is spent in the festival - £90 - going to the organisers @slamminevents and @LiveNationUK. £72pp is spent elsewhere in London, and a measly £9.73pp spent in Harginey. (Bravo for local businesses).

Punters spent c.£38m on the events (£27m in the festivals, c£11m of ticket sales). @haringeycouncil said income from the events for (ab)using the park each year is c£1.1m. That's what - only about 2.5% of organiser revenue? (Why is the council not getting a better deal?)

Festival goers also spent money elsewhere in London - about £21m. BUT only £2.9m was spent in Haringey. Local biz did note this increase in turn over but most money went to pubs. (The borough is feeling the pain but not capturing a broad based economic return for it).

The survey talks about job creation. It recons at peak c. 3k people work on big events, with c 19,000 man days of effort across all of them. Sounds a lot until you annualise it to ... 9 people's jobs. And the bulk of that work is short term contract security / bar work.

The @FourthStreetUK report is diligent. 2 simple conclusions for me. 1/ Festivals can have positive economic impacts BUT Haringey isn't seeing them. 2/ Events companies are making serious money (OK) but councils are failing to capture a sensible share to offset the local impact.

So what: The council should reduce the size & frequency of events, & confidently demand more cash for the pleasure of leasing our lovely public space. I sympathise with council budget cuts & that Nice Things Cost Money... but income can still be made through more delicate use.

I'd welcome any comments from @haringeycouncil or @kirstenhearn (who was kind enough to discuss the topic briefly recently). fyi @andrewsmithwest and @danhancox and @islingtongztte. Forgive in advance any misinterpretations of the report.


  • That's very interesting, thanks for posting this.
  • Has any work been carried out to establish what the cost is for the promotor to put on these events? I would be interested to kow what cut the council gets of the profits as using the revenue numbers may be a wee bit misleading as I suspect it pretty expensive to set up tum and take down the event s
  • That's a great set of tweets. Thanks for highlighting them.
  • Came across this FOI on the Council re Wireless from the 2016 event

    Contains some interesting addition info on how much was charged by the council and what they did with the cash.

    It seems that around 135k (based on this years attendance) attended at approx. £60 a head which equals £8.100,000 ticket revenue. The council was paid £446,264 fees which equates to approx. 5.5% of revenue

    Either I am miscalculating something but it would seem strangely according to the first post that the council have reduced their take by more than 50% between 2016 and 2018?

    It would be really good to know the costs to run it so you have both sides of the balance sheet and see just what kind of deal the council can get based on the economics of the whole thing.

    I wonder how much the headline performers get paid? Anyone know?

    The promoters must be make quite a few millions out of it.
  • A friend of a friends family run a company that organise a large element of that size gigs and festivals. The margins are very tight and a lot of festivals lose money.

    Here's an article that talks about the costs.
  • My personal view is that the Council have been fairly complacent about this - they get some income from these events without putting any effort into ensuring value for money and close their ears to the criticism and because two thirds of the people affected are not their voters it’s there isn’t much need to worry about the consequences.
  • So what are you thinking they need to do? Charge more?
  • On what evidence are the council complacent? We don't have the promoter's financial numbers and they probably don't as well. I am sure the council have much greater worries about services they have to provide like social care etc. Lots of folks come and enjoy themselves, a few people complain because they are inconvenienced a small bit, the place gets tidied up and life goes on.
  • edited August 27
    I guess the OP is worried that the council is getting ripped off if only around 2-6% of revenue that the events get actually goes back to the council. I'm not familiar with events so I wouldn't know what festivals pay for a venue. Apart from that I'm personally not too worried as you'd hope the council gets its fair slice of the cake, would be good to have more transparency as locals though?
  • If nobody is making any money as suggested, probably best to just let the park be a park then.

    I'm fairly confident that festivals returning year after year are making plenty of money, and if you've got councils falling over themselves to "get some extra income to fill the holes from austerity", then no doubt that cost will come down too because the promoter has plenty of choice.

    Finsbury Park doesn't compare well to other parks that host events because our local council doesn't spend any money in it. Looks like they sprung into action this year after the hearing. About time too.
  • It's really looking better this year, the team are out every morning clearing up trash and trimming / repairing where they can. Been really impressed at how a few extra hands and a pot of cash can make a difference. Slap on the back for the Friends of Finsbury Park as well for that one. Hopefully it's the start of some long-term momentum to make a Park we can all be proud of!
  • Brodiej. There is quite a bit of benefit it was discussed here
  • Ah yes, because of those points made by someone else i've totally changed my mind. Actually that's a lie.

    I think this is one of those discussions where nobody is ever going to change their view and that's fine.

    FP toilets are the barometer for me of whether money from the festivals is being reinvested back into the park. They're still rank, and untouched by investment after 5 years of wireless, so i hold my view.
  • It only takes one rancid kebab to ruin an entire bathroom
  • I wish I knew not paying was an option
  • How do you even get away with it?

    Your reg. number is linked to your address and name...
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    I don't believe those stats.
  • Can someone tweet them and get the source?
  • Does anyone know when whatever noise-fest is currently taking over the park will be gone?

    The parasitic promoter hasn't even got the decency to deliver a leaflet telling me when to expect them to F off and give the park back.
  • We got a letter last week.
  • This is the last of the big events for this year, I believe? So we can all settle in for a peaceful autumn. ;)

    (You know, apart from the sirens, helicopters, building work, noisy neighbours, etc...)
  • A letter arrived last week
  • It's quite noisy this one isn't it? Must be the wind?
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    Just totally unnecessary on a Sunday evening in a residential area. Might be worth not getting annoyed if I went back next week and there was a new outdoor gym and the flower beds and gardens looked like Regents Park.
  • I guess it must have been the wind. Funny isn't it.
    I think yesterday was louder. And I could hear several stages at the same time, which made it more annoying.
    But tonight's felt worse because I'm tired. But they finished a few minutes early and now it's back to the normal sounds of N4 and I've only just got in to bed. So all is fine really.
    Funny how my annoyance just evaporated.

    I'm going to listen to a bit of drum and bass tomorrow whilst walking the dog and pretend I'm young and cool.
  • Maybe don’t just tell us, tell the Council too, if you’ve the time ...

  • edited September 23
    If the guy in those Twitter comments who walks round the lake all day asks for a breakfast item at 11:31am I would advise serving him.
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