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Alexandra Palace Firework Festival: ‘Like a smaller, colder Glastonbury’

This year’s fireworks extravaganza had a mini winter wonderland, bonfire and big top tent all rolled into one, writes Miriam Balanescu

Credit: Stephen Furner

Without doubt, the Alexandra Palace fireworks have become one of London’s biggest annual events. Every year, thousands from London and further afield scramble to get tickets to see this explosive spectacle while standing atop one of the city’s highest vantage points, with a unique view across its skyline.

It’s a tradition which the palace say has been going on since 1873 – when a certain Mr James Pain would organise ‘grand’ displays, which included a mock Mount Vesuvius and random parachuting. Today, crowds of 90,000 flock to the venue, persevering onward despite the steep incline of the Alexandra Park hill.

But is the tough walk worth it? This year’s event was a full-blown festival, combining not only the display, but a mini Winter Wonderland (complete with creepy fairground trailers), a bonfire, and a big top tent all rolled into one. It was reminiscent of a smaller, colder – and darker – Glastonbury.

Plus, there were fleets of food and drink vendors (most of which sadly overpriced, possibly to be expected) with a suitably wintery feel – mulled wine and Belgian beers were in abundance. Added to this, another DJ tent was at the epicentre of this court full of food and drink, for those looking to grab a pint and dance.

The display itself left a little to be desired: while the fireworks were backed by a fun ’90s soundtrack, the music was strangely quiet and out-of-sync with the explosions. It was a stylishly choreographed show, and a crowd-pleaser nonetheless.

With such a grand event – worthy of its impressive history – it remains to be seen what the palace will pull out of the bag for next year.


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