I've been the Gloucester Docks fireworks display many times since moving here. When I lived in the actual docks it was obviously rather convenient (and I didn't have to pay to get in), but I've been back several times since because it's always been very good.
Sadly this year it was rubbish, and judging by social media reaction the other 9,999 people there agreed with me.
We arrived quite soon after the gates opened, having not been organised enough to book in advance (but that's ok, because apparently including fees it actually cost *more* to prebook....). Jon wanted a beer, so we wandered over to the bar where we found a very long queue and no alcohol being served. Hmm. Massive queues for food too.
We found friends and made our way into the crowd ready to watch the display at 7:15. As usual, there was an announcement that it would actually start at half past. But that's fine, they always seem to be running late. Half past came and went. The man doing the PA advised us to "have a beer" while we waited. Oh, if only we could...
Anyway, eventually the laser show kicked off. Sci Fi themed. Darth Vader with half his face missing, something which was probably supposed to be a Death Star, and what the USS Enterprise would look like if you made a model from paper plates and toilet roll tubes. Oh, and also some random green squiggles projected on buildings behind the crowd.
My main point here is that no one goes to a firework display to watch lasers instead. It's not the 80s any more, and it wasn't even a good show!
wow, so impressive...
During this, half a dozen fireworks went off. Was that part of the official display? Were they supposed to go off then or had someone hit a button early? Was it someone letting off their own fireworks further away? No-one was quite sure.
And then we got to the actual fireworks. Yay! I think there was still some laser stuff going on but who cares because why would you watch that instead of fireworks.
After approximately four minutes the music cut out, and then the fireworks stopped too. More confusion - was that it? Surely not, maybe some sort of technical problem?
But no, the man on the PA told us to start making our way to the exits, but actually would we please wait a moment because the police had to clear crowds from the other side of the gates. There may have been some booing, and a general shocked silence.
I'm not one of the people calling for a refund, because it's done by the Round Table to raise money for charity and it's always been good before. However I was quite surprised to read their official response and find that no, there weren't technical problems - it really was just shit. Disappointing. Let's hope next year is back to the normal standard.