Mixed reception for ‘low noise’ fireworks display

Bradley Stoke Town Council’s first-ever ‘low noise’ fireworks display, held in fine weather conditions at the Jubilee Centre on Sunday 7th November, received a mixed reaction from the public, both at the event itself and afterwards on social media.

Photo of fireworks exploding about a crowd of people.
View from the Jubilee Centre car park.

As previously reported, the council had decided to trial a ‘low noise’ event in response to concerns raised by a resident over the detrimental impact of a traditional display “on local wildlife and pets”.

In the hours after the event, almost 300 comments were made on a post on the Bradley Stoke Journal’s Facebook page, ranging from expressions of appreciation that the town council is being considerate towards animals (and humans) to disappointment over the lack of excitement due to the absence of the traditional loud bangs.

There were also the usual complaints about inconsiderate parking of motor vehicles near the venue, which this year was so bad that First Bus chose to divert the no. 73 away from serving Brook Way and the Willow Brook Centre until 9pm.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

A council report produced following the event noted that the number of people attending had been “noticeably lower than in previous years”, adding that this was “likely due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Whether that is true is open to doubt as other displays in the area saw strong demand, with Downend’s selling out for the first time in 50 years. Furthermore, the absence this year of a display at St Michael’s Primary School in Stoke Gifford might have been expected to boost numbers.

In contrast to most other local displays, the Bradley Stoke event is free to attend, with bucket collections being made for the mayor’s charities. This year’s collection raised £2,861 (including £460 donated by food traders) for Dogs for Good and St Peter’s Hospice. The significant drop from the £3,959 raised at the last event in 2019 is put down to the lower attendance.

Bradley Stoke Rotary Club, which ran the barbecue at the event, raised over £1,000, which it will use to “continue supporting local good causes”.

Photo of a line of barbecue grills.
Barbecue hosted by Bradley Stoke Rotary Club.

The council report expresses thanks for the support of the volunteer marshals and bucket collectors from a range of local groups including Little Stoke Social Club, Dogs for Good, Bradley Stoke in Bloom, Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group, the young people of Bradley Stoke, the local police beat team and council members & staff. Thanks also go to Bradley Stoke Radio for providing musical entertainment on Jubilee Green.

Councillors now have the unenviable task of deciding whether to stick with a ‘low noise’ format for the 2022 event or revert to a traditional display.


Feedback on social media

A small sample of the comments made on a post on the Bradley Stoke Journal’s Facebook page:

KLB: I have two autistic children I simply cannot bring to loud events and we LOVED being able to watch this year’s without fear.

CD: Very disappointed. If it’s low noise again we will not be attending. If low noise must be used it should be replaced by music – although without the bangs the atmosphere just isn’t there.

VF: Thank you Bradley Stoke Town Council for organising. It was lovely and enjoyed by all in my family. Appreciate the low-noise may not be everybody’s cup of tea but we didn’t miss it. Especially if it means more people with diverse needs can attend.

LBE: I feel that as it’s an organised and advertised display we should have standard popping fireworks or at least background music. The issues for people and pets are not caused by the one organised 20-min display but by the unorganised and late, unexpected fireworks.

AD: Personally, I was bored and wouldn’t bother going to a low noise display again. A shame as I look forward to this display every year.

HA: I think backing music would be a great addition. Yes it lacked the usual ‘wow’ moments but you can’t say that we weren’t warned! Thank you to the town council for offering this option this year. Low noise works for many, and for those who prefer the big bone-shaking bangs (me included) we’ve got plenty of other options locally

SM: Well done BS Town Council for putting people’s welfare (i.e. those with autism and PTSD for example) plus animals first. I applaud you!

Related link: Fireworks Displays (The Journal)

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 22). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Format for 2022 display decided

UPDATE added 27th November 2021.

Members of Bradley Stoke Town Council have voted by a narrow margin (6:4) to return to a traditional format for next year’s fireworks display.

Extract from the draft minutes of the Full Council meeting on 17th November 2021:

Much discussion took place on the town council fireworks displays over the years with councillors weighing up all options moving forward.

Following further discussion, Councillor Ben Randles proposed to hold a traditional firework display on 6th November 2022 with a budget of £9,000 for the event plus the fireworks companies to be invited to quote for both a one-off and three-year fixed price events, seconded by Councillor Andy Ward. A vote was taken, 6 in favour, 4 against, proposal carried.

The Town Clerk was asked to speak to Rotary Club regarding a possible donation to the Mayor’s Charity and also to find out about their use of a generator as opposed to mains power.

For more information about the 2022 and future displays, visit the Journal’s Fireworks Displays information page.

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