The East of England Arena hosted a drive-in, Covid-secure fireworks display yesterday, 4 November, for over 4,000 people in 1,000 cars.
The venue worked with the event’s organiser, Peterborough City Council, public health and a range of suppliers to bring the display forward ahead of the lockdown from today, 5 November.
Venue director, Jason Lunn, said: “The display had been scheduled for 7 November as a socially distanced drive-in display and everything was in place, with suppliers and personnel all briefed accordingly. The sudden announcement of a national lockdown meant either cancelling or postponing the display.”
“There was a third choice – with a few days to prepare we decided to try and bring the display date forward, just ahead of the beginning of the new lockdown on 5 November. With the display already sold out, we knew just how disappointing a cancellation would be, especially on the eve of more social restrictions, so we quickly began working with the organiser Entertainment Effects, Peterborough City Council, and public health authorities, to make it happen.”
Vehicles were positioned with at least 2m between them, the families inside were asked to stand to the right of the vehicle and maintain social distancing at all times. Peterborough City Radio hosted a three hour long show, including pre-display entertainment while visitors parked, requests from the audience, and broadcasting the soundtrack to the fireworks, with Kev Lawrence of PCRFM as DJ for the night. Online, over 1000 visitors watched a live stream via the display’s Facebook page.
Pamela Newbould, health and safety and Covid-19 officer, added: “Once we had discussed a change of date with the Martin Allen of Entertainment Events and established the possibility of moving the display forward to the 4th was feasible, we then worked with Peterborough City Council and public health to demonstrate that the requirements to make this a safe and spectacular night would all be in place as originally planned. The change of date was announced and most people were able to attend, those who could not were reimbursed, and those tickets were put back on sale.
“We could not have done this without the amazing help of the local authorities, with whom we have a great working relationship, and our suppliers and contractors who pulled out all the stops to make this happen, namely Crowdsafe UK for stewarding, security and parking, Oak Valley Medical for first aid as well as staff temperature checks, and Terry Harris, photographer. We had 50 personnel on-site who ensured that we were able to deliver a Covid-19 secure display that was as safe as it was spectacular.
“Everyone who came behaved impeccably and an orderly exit meant that we cleared the venue of around 1000 cars in just 25 minutes. The end of a very satisfying display.”