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Community Festival Reviewed

John Bowness takes an observational stroll around the Finsbury Park event

Community was a new festival for Finsbury Park – and it wore its colours firmly on its sleeve. This was a festival with a very clear focus in terms of its audience…and on the big day it was clear that it had firmly hit the nail on the head.

Anteros
Anteros

With a slew of young and enthusiastic guitar bands playing across its two stages, Community tapped an affluent seam of music fans…late-teen middle-class Londoners looking for a slightly edgy rock experience, but with safety in numbers.

Main Stage at Community
Main Stage at Community

The price point was spot on for this: £35 was a magic figure to make it an easy decision for students to make a day of it or for parents to fork out for a ticket to keep the kids happy for a whole day in the early summer. Add some pocket money for drinks and food and Community was far from a bank-breaker…and hopefully it will act as a feeder event to encourage more people to graduate on to bigger weekend festivals.

That said, the crowd wasn’t exclusively 15-19…but at the same time anyone with a beard, a bit of a paunch, lines around their eyes, or a Grateful Dead t-shirt certainly stood out a mile. Running from lunchtime until 10pm, Community is the latest in a long line of Finsbury Park festivals. The space lends itself incredibly well to two or three stages-worth of entertainment, and the fact the local tube station is geared to deal with Arsenal match days means the transport logistics for an urban event are pretty much covered.

If we had one comment to make on that front however it was regarding the ‘residents only’ parking restrictions that seemed to be in force across a three-mile perimeter. Whilst we applaud moves to discourage the use of cars, for those who did have to travel under their own steam for whatever reason (Southern Rail work to rule for instance) it was hugely frustrating to drive down street after street of empty bays, all of which were locked-down to non-residents.  In fairness this is probably a council thing – and maybe those responsible for setting licensing restrictions might re-consider it next year.

The site itself was simply laid out – one big stage and a secondary one tucked at the top of the park, with bars and food stalls ringing the perimeter. 

Second Stage at Community
Second Stage at Community

Sight lines were good and the sound quality was good enough…maybe not as loud as some might want, but there are neighbours to respect…which is why the main stage flown PA was well below half-mast.

Rules and regulations ruled supreme though in terms of people not being allowed to bring in anything larger than a small satchel and the use of airport scanners – but recent events made that something everyone seemed happy to live with.

However, the really tight hard curfew clearly had the organisers on edge – meaning that one of the most anticipated acts of the day – Slaves – had their final track ‘The Hunter’ pulled out from under them as they crept a minute over their allotted time. The over-run may have been due to the surprise guest appearance of Madness’ Suggs, who popped up to let people know Slaves would be supporting them at their House of Common all-dayer on Clapham Common in August.

Slaves (one of!)
Slaves (one of!)

Do we have any other tips for Community guests or organisers?

Well for punters looking to get a drink watch out for the ‘tidal’ phenomenon that saw bar queues swell dramatically a few times during the afternoon during big changeovers. 

And for organisers – could you get rid of the squeezy-cheesy chips concession…more often than not it seems people couldn’t stomach the gloopy orange stuff and it found it’s way onto the floor, looking much like the droppings from some radioactive pterodactyl. 

Rubbish
Rubbish

Oh yes, and with regards the bins, putting clear plastic bags over the park bins to stop people using them simply doesn’t work. People make holes in the plastic to poke stuff through and when they are full they just leave litter around the bottom. Get something more substantial to cover them – and put a couple of wheelie bins next to them as well.

 

 
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Review Info

Author:
John Bowness
Added:
1st July 2017
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Community Festival Reviewed
Community
[Festival]

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