‘How can you know what will offend?’ Row continues over Wireless festival swearing ban

Confusion reigns around licensing conditions of annual hip-hop event after residents’ group takes offence at performers’ language

A row has erupted over the perceived censorship of artists performing at London’s Wireless festival, the annual three-day hip-hop and R&B event that was headlined this year by Stormzy, Drake and J Cole, after new restrictions were imposed on performers using bad language.

On 22 October, Haringey council published a review of the premises license allowing Wireless to take place in Finsbury Park, London, in response to an application by the Friends of Finsbury Park (FOFP) community group. FOFP had submitted a list of 20 suggested conditions “to make it a more manageable event for the community”, said chair Simon Hunt, a philosophy student at Oxford. These included a reduction in the number of attendees, an earlier Sunday curfew, stricter noise monitoring, the provision of free tap water, a ban on cigarette sales, a tougher drug enforcement policy and a watershed-style restriction on performers using bad language.

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