The annual Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015 took place this last weekend just across the river at Bristol’s Ashton Court with promising weather. This hugely popular event sees mass launches of Hot Air Balloon’s on each of the 4 days and this year they achieved 7 out of 7 planned launches for the first time in the Fiesta’s history.
Those who came to see the morning and evening mass launches were treated to a wide variety of balloons ranging from the standard shape we all know through to Scottish Cup Trophies, a giant Swatch Watch and possibly the worlds biggest Minion! The weather was favourable for the first 3 days however the pilot briefing for the final launch was a tense affair with the cloud base having dropped and precipitation in the air. However just after 6 pm the green smoke was sent up and the pilots were cleared to fly heralding the 7th of 7 planned launches.
In addition to the mass launches each evening has a night glow event where balloons were are inflated and their burners used to make them “glow” choreographed to music. In the past this has seen some truly magnificent spectacles however this year was sadly lacking. Larging thanks to it being choreographed by Bristols “local” Radio Station Heart FM. Supposedly a celebration of being Bristolian it showed how unlocal Heart FM is and was simply just a mix of Hearts daily play list which showed no theme of any kind. This is what happens when global radio pretends to be local, I am sure someone like Sam FM could really have made it a celebration of Bristol.
What really spoiled the weekend for many though was the absolute atrocity that was the car parking. In the past the event organisers have promised to reduce the gridlock of past events however this year was by far the worst ever. The company employed by the event organisers had clearly not thought out their plan which showed when their marshalls had no control over the traffic exiting the car park leaving it to be a free for all which quickly turned into a disaster with some people literally not moving in the car park for over an hour. The advance parking seemed to suffer the worst with a field littered with arguing drivers, burnt out clutches and stuck in the mud people carriers. If this is what they call an improvement then have a very long way to go.
Its a shame that the end of each day was destined to spoil what was otherwise a great event but this is something that the organisers clearly need to improve as its often the last thing of the day that leaves the lasting memory.