Walking through the deserted streets of Birmingham, at 8am on 1st January 2009 – what seemed like only a few hours after we had finished clearing up after the Birmingham New Year’s Eve fireworks display – the Alchemy Fireworks team seemed like the sole survivors in England’s second city. We felt tired, yes, but slightly cheered by the though that we felt a lot better than most of the people who had been partying in Birmingham city centre before and after the fireworks display at midnight.
That said, for much of the previous 2 days we would have happily exchanged below-zero temperatures and freezing fog for a comfortable armchair in the pub by the fire, and maybe a small beer…
Sadly the murky weather – which had lifted during the afternoon of the 31st – didn’t stay gone for long, and by the time midnight arrived (don’t forget the extra second Tinkerbell) the rooftop of the Hyatt Hotel was once again shrouded in thick fog – a cold white oasis of calm 25 storeys above the crowds in Centenary Square and along Broad Street, and the stunning views across the West Midlands that we had enjoyed whilst setting up the fireworks earlier in the day had disappeared. The aerial fireworks firing site on the top deck of the old Holliday Street Car Park was like a skating rink, and the fog meant that you couldn’t see what was happening on the other rooftop, even though there is only 100 metres between them. Still, the fog glowed, some moments were more visible than others, the noisy sequences were still effective and the crowd cheered – people in Birmingham do seem to love fireworks displays, and they had turned out in force despite the bad weather. Our decision to create a continuous firework display off the roof of the Hyatt (just in case strong wind meant we had to pull shells from the car park) proved to be a good call, if not for exactly the right reasons. Bring on 2009 – but with better visibility for a rootop fireworks display please Birmingham!
“Thanks for the show on Wednesday, I thought it was very good… it was a shame about the fog but we can’t control the weather and we still had 7,000 people out to watch.” Joan Durose, Head of Events, Birmingham City Council