Disappointed families who turned up to a huge fireworks event are demanding a refund after smoke clouded their view of the display.
The Fireworks Spectacular at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham was billed as the biggest in the city and drew hundreds of people celebrating Bonfire Night.
But those who attended, paying up to £42 each, have called for refunds after claims thick smoke submerged the stadium within minutes of the start, obscuring the pyrotechnics.
One father, David Kelly, said it was his daughter’s first fireworks display. “It got to the point you couldn’t see anything whilst ‘The Greatest Show’ played sarcastically in the background,” he told The Independent.
“Initially we could see a few fireworks but within minutes thick smoke began to build up and rise from the launch area and soon submerged the whole stadium. Disappointment soon turned to distress for our little one as the fireworks began to ricochet off the floodlights.
“The smoke become almost overwhelming and we had lots of ash rain down on us.”
Watching people leave the fireworks. Perhaps they should have been stopped when they realised it was a smoke display. pic.twitter.com/5pOYygjCI3
— Bernie phillips (@phillipsbernie) November 4, 2023
Mr Kelly said he had waited with his family for 45 minutes to see the main event. He said: “The boos that rang out at the end were probably louder than the fireworks.”
Caoimhe, aged 30, said she attended with friends and they soon realised they couldn’t see anything.
She said: “At that point it became one of the most entertaining fireworks displays I’ve been to as the whole thing became funnier the less and less of it we could see. Overall we actually had a good time!”
However, Bernie Phillips, aged 42, a special needs teacher, told The Independent that many neurodivergent people had found the display “distressing”.
“I really felt for some of the audience who were neurodiverse and found it quite distressing,” she said. “It takes a lot to build up to a large event and to be surrounded by smoke and bangs. They left very quickly.”
Ms Phillips said her family were “upset and disappointed” but wouldn’t “hold their breath” for a refund.
The smoke was in fact caused by a lack of professionalism including poor testing practices, as the fireworks were hitting the building and floodlight in addition to explosions in the seats. #edgbaston @Edgbaston @birmingham_live https://t.co/iZSqmv1QFC pic.twitter.com/xxbV6vFU4E
— ⚔️ (@inthetrashcan) November 5, 2023
Shortly after the event, some customers said they had received an email from organisers saying “Ooops... we know that could have gone better!”, which some social media users called “a joke”.
In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Edgbaston Stadium said: “Due to the atmospheric conditions and unfortunate weather conditions we know that our fireworks display was impacted.
“We are currently investigating the issues that occurred and we will communicate with all ticket purchasers in due course.”