Why a six-hour outdoors spectacular featuring a firework finale on the edge of Harborough has split the town down the middle

Many loved the event - but others complained about the late night noise

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 3:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 3:32 pm
The Festival of Light on the edge of Market Harborough has split the town down the middle. Photo by Jo Hill.

A thunderous six-hour outdoors spectacular featuring a dramatic fireworks finale on the edge of Market Harborough has split the town down the middle.

The all-action Festival of Light at the town’s 90-acre Showground site is being hailed as an “incredible feast of fun” by some of the hundreds of spectators who lapped it up.

But angry residents are weighing in to blast its “ear-splitting” fireworks crescendo which brought the curtain down on the event at almost 11pm on Saturday night (July 24).

The Festival of Light on the edge of Market Harborough has split the town down the middle. Photo by Jo Hill.

An ecstatic woman who went along to the billed “celebration of colour and fire” at the Showground off Leicester Road told the Harborough Mail: “We all had a fantastic time, it was just magnificent.

“I just cannot understand what all the moaning is about.

“It was great to see so many people getting together and having such an excellent time after we’ve all been locked down for almost a year and a half.

“I saw parties being held there, hen nights, big groups of people loving it,” said the mother-of-two in her 40s.

The Festival of Light on the edge of Market Harborough has split the town down the middle. Photo by Jo Hill.

“We got there at 4.30pm as soon as the gates opened.

“It was extremely well organised and it all went very smoothly – we got in in five minutes and we got out in five minutes.

“But much more than that, we were just treated to thrilling non-stop entertainment all evening and all night.

“One of the highlights for me was watching the brilliant Blades aerobatic team at about 7pm.

The Festival of Light on the edge of Market Harborough has split the town down the middle. Photo by Jo Hill.

“They’re based just up the road at Sywell Aerodrome and put on a spellbinding display up in the night skies above us,” said the woman who lives in Market Harborough and paid £20 for her ticket.

“We saw 12 parachutists jumping out of a helicopter, hot air balloons, colour smoke displays and the FireFlies aerobatic performance team.

“I pitched up with my husband, my parents and a couple of friends and we all loved it.

“You could buy food and drink, there was loads of space at the Showground for all of us and it was such a special night out after everything has been shut down.

“There was a big shout out for key workers such as NHS staff there and they received a huge round of applause,” said the spectator, who asked not to be named.

“And the fireworks show at the end was just dazzling, the best I’ve ever seen.

“It was set to music and it brought the house down, the perfect way to top off an amazing night.

“So for us it was very positive – and just what the people of Harborough needed amid this awful pandemic.

“I can’t wait to go to next years.”

But local people have also contacted the Mail to complain about the explosive high-octane show.

One furious young mum who lives on Market Harborough’s Southern Estate said: “I live quite a way from the Showground but the fireworks were so loud they sounded as if they were going off next door!

“They woke up my little girl and sent my pet dog mad with fear.

“I wouldn’t have minded so much if the fireworks had gone off much earlier in the evening.

“But to fire them off after 10.30 at night is just not on – it’s not acceptable.”

Another mum said: “They sounded much more like explosives to me than fireworks.

“They were ear-splitting – and they woke my baby up too.

“It was highly irresponsible and inconsiderate – and I just hope we don’t get a repeat performance next summer.”

The Festival of Light was staged by Oxfordshire-based Xplosive Events Ltd.

They have been asked for a comment but have yet to respond.

The company says on their website: “Xplosive Events Ltd are pioneers in unique family firework entertainment events.

“Based in Oxfordshire, our mission is to deliver quality and breathtaking public firework events for families throughout the UK.

“Most of our events focus on supersized firework displays choreographed to music designed and produced by our award-winning firework display team Illusion Fireworks Ltd.”