East of England Arena delivers a drive-in Covid19-secure firework display for 4000 people

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Over 4000 people arrived at the East of England Arena and Events Centre in 1000 cars last night, November 4, for a spectacular fireworks display, which was Covid19-secure and socially distanced as the venue, organiser, Peterborough City Council, public health and a range of suppliers worked to bring the display forward ahead of today’s lockdown.

Venue director, Jason Lunn, explained, “The display had been scheduled for the 7th 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 November 5th. 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 3-hour show, including pre-display entertainment while visitors parked, requests from the audience, and broadcasting the soundtrack to the fireworks. Kev Lawrence of PCRFM was DJ for the night and provided a lively show to keep everyone entertained as they parked their vehicles and waited for the show to start. Online over 1000 visitors watched a live stream of the display’s Facebook page.

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Pamela Newbould, health & safety and Covid19 officer, takes up the story, “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.

The comments from the venue’s Facebook page after the display communicate the feeling of those who attended:

  • Chris – “Our first time. We thought it was genuinely brilliant. So well organised and such a great display. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it so much fun and also so safe.”
  • Naomi – “Absolutely fantastic display and awesome atmosphere! Well done to all involved!”
  • Ray – “We all loved it thankyou well organised great display… Drive-in is the future bring on the next one”
  • Fiona – “Thought this … was very well organised, we really enjoyed it and felt covid safe too”
  • Chloe – “Thank you so much it was amazing! Definitely going to book for Christmas one! X”
  • Becky – “It was fantastic, well done”
  • Matthew – “Absolutely gutted to have missed this! One of my favourite events of the year. A great achievement to have held it in the first place let alone change the date last minute. Well done all!!”

“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.” concluded Lunn.