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Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival
Photograph: Lloyd WintersAlexandra Palace Fireworks Festival

Bonfire Night is pretty much cancelled in London

Big displays – including those held at Alexandra Palace and Victoria Park – won’t be going ahead this year

Alexandra Sims

Ooh, aah, urgh! This year, Bonfire Night celebrations in London are looking more like a set of soggy sparklers than the explosive events we were hoping for. 

Usually, the city’s firework displays are attended by hundreds of thousands of people (Ally Pally’s bangs and sparks alone attract 90,000 spectators) and come complete with dodgems, laser shows, and banging tunes. They’re effectively the muddiest club night you’ve ever seen. 

However, like most mass gatherings this year, the fifth of November is yet another pillar of London’s events calendar that has fallen in 2020, with all of the city's biggest and best displays cancelling this year.

Last week, Alexandra Palace, which hosts what is probably the biggest display in the capital, announced it would be cancelling its Fireworks Festival this year: an event that usually entails funfairs, comedy, cabaret and live music. 

The People’s Palace said that due to social distancing guidelines it would not be able to welcome the number of people it usually receives and alternative ways for the display to go ahead were not financially viable. ‘To say we’re disappointed not to be able to go ahead this year is a massive understatement,’ said Louise Stewart, Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust chief executive. 

‘It’s also a serious financial blow for the charity. Events are our lifeblood, without them and the vital income they provide our future is uncertain,’ she added. 

Other stand-out London displays have also been cancelled, including Blackheath, Battersea Park, Southwark Park, Victoria Park and Wimbledon Park. As things stand, Time Out has been unable to find any Bonfire Night displays in London that have active ticket links. Crystal Palace Fireworks is the only display that has announced dates, but early bird tickets are still yet to go on sale: Time Out has contacted the event to confirm if it will go ahead as planned but is yet to hear further.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Christmas has a bit more sparkle in store.

In better news: London’s biggest cancelled musicals return to the West End for four special shows.

Christmas drive-in cinema is coming to London.


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