Music Blog: Were the Finsbury Park Festivals the Worst Ever?

Obviously being a bit of a music blog, I go to a lot of events and festivals.

It’s very rare that I’ll speak poorly of them though.

Understanding the levels of organisation that goes into big events, you kind of have to expect to take the bitter with the sweet.

The Finsbury Park Festivals this weekend was next level though…

And even as a seasoned festival goer I was kind of shocked at how it all went down.

When I saw people online slagging off the Liam Gallagher day on the Friday, I just thought they were being dramatic.

Claims that queues for a drink were taking over an hour, alongside moaning about the toilet queue being equally as bad.

I shrugged it off thinking it was clearly a bunch of lads lads lads who’d never been a festival before.

However, when I arrived on the Saturday for the Queens of the Stone Age day, I soon realised what they were on about.

The security checks I can take on the chin. We are seeing increased numbers of security checks at all festivals as time goes on and I’ve got to give the security staff at Finsbury Park credit for making sure everyone was safe on arrival.

With the levels of knife crime and acid attacks being reported on such a regular basis, I’d rather be safe than sorry to be honest. So a small walk through an airport-style metal detector is no skin off my nose.

Although, when festivals are making a conscious effort to be greener, is there a need for thousands of clear plastic bags to be issued out as mandatory to put your belongings in? Simply popping the content of your pockets in the plastic tray provided would have been enough. Plastic waste could have been avoided in this instance.

I saw some people complaining about being turned away with their rucksacks at the entrance. To be fair, it does say on the website literature that any bags over a4 size wouldn’t be allowed in…

I welcome this, because is there anything worse than a giant rucksack in your face at a crowd?

But saying that, Slam Dunk (for example) had lockers available in case someone didn’t read the rules. I don’t *think* there were any available at Finsbury Park, which led to some people cutting their losses and heading home.

The scariest bit of the whole event was when it came to leaving Finsbury Park…

45,000 people all being forced out of one gate was kind of scary. I’ve literally never seen so many people in one place – all going in one direction, being ushered like cattle.

Once again though, the security staff were wonderful at keeping an upbeat attitude, helping people and managing it. Although it didn’t detract from the experience of so many people scrambling to get out of one gate.

Security at Finsbury Park wasn’t the only hot topic of the events though.

As mentioned, the bar and toilets were a BIG issue.

And as soon as we walked in we could see the extent of it.

I think there were 6 bars in total and each one had a winding queue consisting of hundreds of people waiting to be served.

Waiting times varied from 45 minutes to 1.5hours for thirsty fans.

…And speaking of thirsty, the lack of water facilities on such a hot day also took a shine off the event. With only a few taps dotted around and even more queues.

The toilet queue was more of the same.

Well, unless you battled all the way down to the right side of the main stage, which was less hectic. But still a lengthy wait at times and a bit of a trek if you were anywhere else on site.

I’m unsure how this was all so completely mismanaged, as in the grand scheme of things this wasn’t a particularly big festival and the facilities on paper seemed enough.

I can only imagine the issue lay at the actual service at the bar? But I’ll never know as I never made it there.

With the above in mind though, surely they would have realised the extent of the issues on the Friday at Liam Gallagher and put in emergency measures to rectify this?

It only takes a quick scan down the event Facebook page and reviews to understand the levels of negative feedback.

At £60+ a ticket, people left feeling unsatisfied.

But what about the bands that played though? Did they make up for it?

The performances themselves were outstanding.

Iggy Pop played banger after banger, and QOTSA were hit after hit…

I’ve not seen either before, which is weird. But considering the circumstance they actually made up for the otherwise awful co-ordination of the event.

Iggy Pop Setlist Finsbury Park:

  • I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges song)
  • Gimme Danger (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • The Passenger
  • Lust for Life
  • Skull Ring
  • I’m Sick of You (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • Some Weird Sin
  • Repo Man
  • Search and Destroy (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • T.V. Eye (The Stooges song)
  • Mass Production
  • The Jean Genie (David Bowie cover)

Queens of the Stone Age Setlist Finsbury Park:

  • Do It Again
  • The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
  • Go With the Flow
  • Sick, Sick, Sick
  • Feet Don’t Fail Me
  • The Way You Used to Do
  • My God Is the Sun
  • I Sat by the Ocean
  • The Evil Has Landed
  • In the Fade
  • Burn the Witch
  • You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
  • No One Knows
  • Smooth Sailing
  • If I Had a Tail
  • Domesticated Animals
  • Make It Wit Chu
  • Little Sister
  • A Song for the Deaf

Overall the sun was shining, the bands were awesome, but would I go to a Finsbury Park festival again? I would be apprehensive at best.

If I had paid the full ticket price I would actually be disgruntled. But we managed to pick up two tickets off Twickets for £30 each which wasn’t too bad a price to pay.

I didn’t see as many negative reviews of the Community Festival on the Sunday mind. So maybe a few creases were ironed out by that point.

I just hope that Festival Republic, who organised the events, take the feedback on board and don’t make the same mistakes again. I’m just surprised this whole situation happened in the first place when they are one of the biggest festival organisers in the UK?

See what NME said about the events here.

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lisi ledbetter
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this sounds really bad, most of all the exit-queue! glad nothing major happened, but hot weather and no liquid is just horrible.

Jess
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I was at the Liam Gallagher gig and the queues for the bar were horrendous (luckily I’m not a big drinker so I was happy getting refreshments from the other trucks there!). It was so badly organised and to be honest, I expected better from Festival Republic – I’ve been to Leeds Festival numerous times and have never seen such queues or chaos. I’m so glad you mentioned how scary leaving the gig was – The LG gig didn’t have any positive staff to usher us out, it was just a free for all and I won’t lie there were… Read more »