36: FINSBURY PARK, N4
Date of birth: 1869.

Brief history: initially devised as an electoral sop to the area's residents who were crying out for an area of open space in their polluted capital. One of the earliest municipal parks, Finsbury was purchased for the price of pounds 472 per acre in a calculated bid for popularity by Disraeli's failing government. Opened by King Edward VII, the park has gone on to become a mecca for picnickers, dogs, their owners and, more recently, music lovers. Since 1990 festival organisers Mean Fiddler have been hosting live events such as the famous Fleadh here. The growing success of these events, and the unmitigating support of Haringey council, has secured Finsbury Park's status as one of Britain's top summer music venues.

Site: covering 115 acres, it's built on the site of Hornsey Wood. The council transformed an area of overgrown brushwood into a sylvan Victorian strolling ground. The New River runs through its centre, filling the duck ponds. When it's not full of intoxicated festival-goers with sunstroke, it's a haven for north London joggers and dogwalkers.

Current events: Madstock IV (see Rock, right). Also Jam in the Park, headlined by The Lighthouse Family and LL Cool J (Sun 16 Aug, bookings on 0181 740 6288).

Strange but true: in 1992 the first Madness reunion rocked the park in more ways than one. The fire brigade were called after panicked residents assumed that an earthquake was responsible for the tremours shaking their homes, breaking their furniture and cracking their windows.

Getting there: parking is practically non-existent during festivals, but you have the option of either Manor House or Finsbury Park tube station. Buses include 4, 19, 106, 153, 210, 236, 253.

Where to meet: provided you can successfully negotiate the heaps of semi- clad bodies, Portaloos, food stalls, dogs, and blokes selling those horrible jester hats and whistles, the Worker's Beer Company tent is a safe bet.

Price of a pint: pounds 2.50

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