THE CLOCKS have gone back and the evenings are getting colder – but November in Oldham always starts with the warm glow, heat and colours of The Big Bang.
It’s now five years since we brought the civic bonfire back onto the annual events calendar and it was one of our best decisions yet. It is always a great night for families.
Oldham Edge has proved to be a fantastic picturesque setting for it all – and it has the added advantage of enabling many people across the borough unable to attend to marvel at the fireworks display from the comfort of their own homes.
This year The Big Bang is taking place on Thursday, November 3 and although the weather conditions are forecast to be relatively mild you should still wrap up snug.
Please also remember to wear appropriate footwear at what is a totally grassed site – white stiletto heels and your prized trainers will simply not do the job(!).
For 2016 we’re once again offering the use of all council-owned car parks free of charge from 3pm onwards on the day, but demand on those nearest to Oldham Edge – like at the Civic Centre and Bradshaw Street – is always high and they fill up early.
There’s no parking at the event itself but our band of volunteers will help you to find alternative places to park and direct you towards the site on foot.
We advise you to arrive early and, wherever possible, to use public transport.
The Big Bang takes months of careful planning and this year we’ve got another great entertainment line-up on offer from the moment the site opens at 5pm with a funfair and food stalls.
The stageshow starts at 6pm, with the bonfire lit shortly afterwards, and the family can enjoy Juba Do Leao with their Latin percussion drums plus a headline performance from ‘Flame Oz’ with a ‘glow show’, fire dancing and spectacular juggling.
We pride ourselves on the unrivalled quality of the pyrotechnics at this event which is why we’ve again asked Fantastic Fireworks to provide the showcase display from around 7pm onwards. A personal highlight for me is always to see the thrilled face of our young competition winner who gets to press the buzzer and start the firework finale.
Oldham Edge has now hosted this event since 2013 and each year we review arrangements to improve the event and the site for families.
We’re again working hard with event partners Revolution96.2 to get all the vital information publicised quickly and help to get you there on time to enjoy the spectacle.
This year we’ve also added an extra entrance to the site to try and reduce some of the congestion and slippy conditions underfoot that we had last year. The site map is below for your reference.
Please bring your families along and take advantage of what is the best bonfire and fireworks display for miles around at what is not just a free but – crucially – a safe event designed with our partners at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service and the Treacle campaign.
Finally this week, on the subject of learning from experiences, I have noticed the odd comment about teething problems at the Old Town Hall ODEON cinema development in the first few days.
The public response to the venue so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
To attract around 14,000 visitors in the first week certainly vindicated our decision to go for a phased opening over the school half-term holidays and I’m certain many people will be returning as Molino Lounge, Nando’s and Gourmet Burger Kitchen open their doors in the weeks ahead.
Some people have said they experienced long food queues and issues with cleanliness between showings. But with sold-out viewings back to back in each screen – and new staff learning on the job in a very challenging baptism – I simply ask that people be patient.
I know that Paul Dagg, the ODEON manager, is working extremely hard with staff to identify any issues and iron them out.
Please bear with him and his team, and also respect the environment and the building that we have all worked SO hard to make great again.
Everyone can play their part in that – even if that’s just by removing your own litter after a film – and help to ensure the Old Town Hall continues to be the huge success that Oldham town centre deserves and needs.
See you at The Big Bang on Thursday night!