Rediscovering Norwich: The Big BOOM

The Big BOOM firework display was back in Norwich for another year. How do events like these reflect a community?

OK, so this isn’t exactly a ‘rediscovery’ as such. I must admit I did attend Norwich’s so-called ‘Big Boom’  back in  my first year of university, but that was over four years ago and I certainly didn’t write about it then.

This year’s Big Boom firework display was held on Friday November 3rd. The fireworks shot up from behind the Norwich Castle, though people usually watch the attraction from in front of the Town Hall.

It’s an event that attracts hundreds of people every year and comes with a great deal of build-up. If you think about it, this is rather baffling, as the ‘spectacular’ last a little under 15 minutes and really isn’t all that extraordinary.

Nevertheless, it seems to be a Norwich tradition. Residents cram themselves into a tightly packed bunch and stuff their faces with sugary/salty treats under the brightly coloured lights of the exploding fireworks.

A rather cheesy, definitely not used to public speaking individual, attempts to liven up the crowd with classic one-liners and a reminder that the Big BOOM is starting soon. But doesn’t he know we’re British, and we’re not about to start whooping and cheering mindlessly like we’re at an American football game?

I love events like this. I think not only do they showcase the best (or perhaps the worst) of our common English traits, but they also embody the city that they’re in. Norwich for example, is a widely diverse city, although some may have trouble believing this. At the Big Boom, you saw people dressed up to the nines in the latest designer gear, alongside huge families with young children, waving their newly bought flashy toys all too aware that this is the public event of the year.

The fireworks? Well, what can you really say about fireworks? This year, there seemed to be a ‘New York in Norwich’ theme, though I don’t think the themes or even the choice of music would actually make a difference. We are captivated by the whooshes, the bangs, the crackles, of any fireworks, and no amount of carefully planned ‘firework choreography’ is going to make a massive difference: we will still flock to these displays in the masses.

The next morning, photos appear across various Facebook groups. This really is the event you wouldn’t want to have missed. The local newspaper this year even live-streamed the fireworks, for those stuck in an office or simply unwilling to brave the cold.

These are events that bring us all together, and there was a unique, community spirit hanging in the air last night throughout the city centre. At a time when city’s like Norwich are very much divided (the city being a Labour stronghold in a Conservative county), it was nice to see everyone coming together and standing side-by-side for what is largely a pointless reason, even if it was just for an evening.


Brew @ Home

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