In times of yore, fireworks were a special treat to welcome in the new year; open to all who are willing to look at the sky and emit vowel sounds of appreciation. But in London too much of a good thing means big, big crowds, and as the years have passed the city’s river banks have been crammed with far more explosion-gawpers than is safe or pleasant for anybody involved (around half a million turned up last year) and now the powers that be have decided that something must be done.
So they’re selling tickets at £10 a pop, guaranteeing a nice time (and a nice view) will be had by all. The Mayor’s office promises the price is to cover the cost of the systems and security involved in ticketing the event in the first place, but many Londoners are understandably angry that a traditionally free event now costs more than our minimum wage. They’ve even turned down an offer from a ticketing company to provide their services for free, which didn’t help matters, and to top it all off, there are only 100,000 places: we’re anticipating Glastonbury-scale virtual queues when they go on sale at midday today (Friday September 26).
If you’re not lucky enough to bag yourself the golden tickets, or decisive enough to commit before October’s even begun, you might prefer to pencil in some fireworks action for Bonfire Night instead. There are events confirmed all over London (though the majority of them will be ticketed, too), and Blackheath’s huge display also expects to attract 100,000 people and remains free to attend. Sounds like a bangin’ night out to us.
By Ashleigh Arnott