Brixton gears up for Brockwell Park Fireworks – but thousands will be excluded by Lambeth council decision to charge for tickets

Brockwell fireworks fence ring of steelFencing is being erected around part of Brockwell Park this morning as Lambeth prepares to charge for its popular fireworks event for the first time.


The annual event, which until this year has been free, will see punters charged up to £7 per ticket for entrance into the fireworks arena in front of Brockwell Park tonight. Some Lambeth residents were offered £6 tickets, but these have now sold out. Children under 16 go for free but only if tickets are booked in advance.

A council press release promises those who are able to pay the “best firework celebrations to date”, with street-style performers, a fire bird, human catherine wheel and fireworks by the crew who organised the London Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2012.

fireworks brockwell signMany have expressed anger that such a popular free event has been put behind security gates only for those who can afford it. Writing on the Independent website, Brixton Blog contributor Luke Massey said last year’s celebration transcended the barriers that usually segment our society. Referring to this year’s plan he wrote: “It’s great that kids can attend for free, and it’s great that Lambeth’s beefing up the event with more than just fireworks.

“But it does far more for the community to make these events as inclusive as possible. Because how often do we all go to the park together?”

Cllr Jane Edbrooke, the council member responsible for these things, has defended the decision to create a ticketed event. Last year the party attracted some 100,000 people and, the council claims, cost £100,000.

Edbrooke said: “There is a lot of pressure on our finances at the moment but the fireworks is such an important night in the calendar, I’m delighted we’ve found a way to keep it going while making sure children can still come in for free.”


Full event programme

  • 5pm – event gates open (funfair, food stalls and bars)
  • From 5:30pm – Giant Mechanical fire Bird and Disco Turtle from Emergency Exit Arts will roam the event site and entertain the crowds
  • 6pm – Lords of Lightning
  • 7pm – Lighting of our 7m high Lighthouse Bonfire

There will be no entry to the event site after 7.30pm

  • 7:30pm – Lords of Lightning
  • 7:50pm – Human Catherine Wheel and Fire Bird performance
  • 8pm – 20 minute firework display
  • 8:20pm – South London Samba
  • 8:50pm – Lords of Lightning
  • 9pm – Giant mechanical Fire Bird and Disco Turtle from Emergency Exit Arts continue to roam the event site
  • 10pm – event close

All times are subject to change by the event organisers.

Today’s event entry times will be from 5pm to 10pm at Brockwell Park. for full information.


  1. It was like having really service at a restaurant but then getting great food! The queues were huge and very crammed, I saw at least one couple ask where to buy tickets and then proceeded to walk on in and none of the staff even attempted to do anything about it, when inside it was far more crammed than previous years and very muddy which must have ruined areas of the park for the whole of winter. BUT the fireworks were great once again, the team who do them deserve huge credit. Very poorly organised though and my fiancé and I won’t be going again if it’s run like this.

  2. What a shambles, massive queues, poor viewing throughout, wrong location than previous years and crammed in like animals. I’ve been going with my family for the last 6 years and it will be the last. They have taken away the fun had by a predominantly local community.

    • I completely agree with Matthew Tyler-Smith. And it being so much later, and then delayed by over 30 minutes, and there being so many people crammed in together with no one (including the marshalls) knowing where things were or how to get in or out meant we felt very unsafe in there with our young daughter. Complete and utter fail.

  3. Is there a reference for the figure of 100,000 people at last years display? It sounds really high – that’s almost as big Glastonbury!

  4. I can get my head around ticketing, although it is sad when a formerly inclusive community event becomes more “exclusive”, but was disappointed (although not entirely surprised) to learn that we aren’t allowed to bring our own food and drink to the event. We’ve already paid to get in, why should we have to pay the inevitably jacked up prices for refreshments as well? Pretty cynical, Lambeth.

  5. I’ve got mixed feelings about the charge. The original reason for having free fireworks displays, run by Council and professionals, was to discourage people from handling their own fireworks in their back gardens (It’ll be interesting to see how busy A&E, the fire brigade and police are over the next few days).

    On the other hand, sending hundreds of pounds worth of our council tax money up in smoke every year during difficult times doesn’t seem fair either – especially for those who are really struggling.

    In any case, the ticket price does seem excessive, especially for those with children. It’ll be interesting to see how much the tickets are next year. A lower price could encourage more people to go and help keep many out of A&E.

  6. This is not good and far from okay. Yes £7 is just the price of some cigarettes or 2 Pints, but not everyone drinks and or smokes.. some people are just trying extraordinarily hard to feed their family and keep a warm roof over their heads. I’m not saying they shouldn’t charge at all but 100,000 each paying £7 (roughly speaking, yes! I know there were some £6 tickets and children can attend for free IF THEY PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE — REALLY WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE NUMBER OF CHILD TICKETS PURCHASED IN ADVANCE!!) Lambeth is looking to gross close to £700,000. This event (beefed up or not) is not costing Lambeth more than £200,000. That’s approximately £500,000 profit, paid for largely in part by Lambeth’s under privileged. #disappointed

  7. I support the council’s decision to charge particularly at a time of cut backs to their budgets. Why should essential financial resources be re-allocated for the sake of a firework show. £7 is hardly a great amount for an evening out – less than a pack of cigarettes or a couple of pints!

    • I agree with Daz, this is not an essential service at all. I would much rather the funds saved here go on essential services. Never before have I seen the budget so tight, there is no excuse for wasting money on this type of show at all. It should be charged, that way those that can afford it are footing the cost, those that cannot, well – if there is not enough money, then they can do what I did, watch from afar, from my flat window, or from the surrounding area. It was easy to see and appreciate from a mile away!

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