Grey Fireworks Display 2011: Welcoming Winter with a Bang

Claudia Fellerman finally makes the trek up the hill to see what all the fuss is about.

Bonfire Night Fireworks 2011 Grey College Guy Fawkes St Mary's Field

Durham was definitely alight last night as one of the biggest firework displays in the North-East returned to celebrate Bonfire Night 2011.

In my fourth and final year at Durham, I decided it was about time I took the plunge and headed up the hill to experience first hand the renowned Grey Fireworks. I clearly wasn’t the only Durhamer with this idea. The streets were filled with wellie-clad students, all making their way to St. Mary’s field, eager to see what the spectacle had in store this year.

Thinking that we were getting there quite early, with 15 minutes or so to spare before the event began, we casually arrived only to find thousands of people trying to cram themselves into a rather full field, dodging traffic whilst trying to find the perfect position to watch the show. So we joined the jam and pushed our way into a comfortable spot, ready and waiting for the first bang. The atmosphere was buzzing, everyone clearly excited to see what was in store. Students, families, pensioners – it seemed that everyone had turned up to welcome winter to Durham.

As the show began, we realised that the organisers had made one slight glitch in moving the event from Grey to Mary’s. The field just so happened to be surrounded by trees which made it somewhat tricky to actually appreciate all of the fireworks, and the smaller explosions got a little bit lost behind the bigger trees, depending on where you were standing.

The idea to set the fireworks off in time to music is fabulous. The songs were brilliantly chosen and a lot of time and effort had obviously been put into arranging the display. The song choices somehow managed to cater for everyone – ranging from Biffy Clyro and Muse classics to Martin Solveig dance tracks, so whether you could see every single firework or not, you could still have a bit of a rave. The display ranged from epic explosions to more sporadic sparks, each better than the last, and the ooohs and ahhhhs from the crowd really said it all! The show definitely ended with a bang, as the fireworks came thick and fast to the frenzied final drum and base beats, accompanied by an amazing light show.

Grey College definitely put a lot of hard work into creating such an epic display, creating a genuinely festive and celebratory atmosphere for the whole of Durham to enjoy. For those who wanted to carry on the fun, free entry to Klute was on offer upon generous donation to the pyrotechnic team.

A huge thanks to Grey College (and Mary’s for the use of their field!) for putting on such a professional and enjoyable evening. See you next year!