No Cambridge fireworks display on Midsummer Common this year for Bonfire Night

Cambridge's Fireworks and Bonfire Night celebration on Midsummer Common

Cambridge's Fireworks and Bonfire Night celebration on Midsummer Common has been cancelled this year. - Credit: Cambridge Live

As November 5th approaches, thoughts will be turning to where to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

However, there will be no huge Cambridge fireworks display and Bonfire Night celebration on Midsummer Common this year.

Attracting up to 20,000 people, the annual event is one of the largest free fireworks displays in the region. 

Cambridge Live posted on its Facebook page: "We are sorry to share the news Cambridge's Fireworks and Bonfire Night will not go ahead this year."

Cambridge City Council made the "very difficult decision" to cancel the annual event back in September following the publication of the government's Winter Plan to tackle COVID-19.

The fireworks display was cancelled due to the possibility, set out in the Winter Plan, that vaccine passports could be required at short notice for large outdoor events. 

Following the announcement, councillor Anna Smith, executive councillor for communities, said: “It is with great reluctance and huge sadness we have arrived at this position.

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"Our free, open-access Bonfire Night is enjoyed by well over 20,000 people every year.

"Up until the publication of the Winter Plan we had been aiming to go ahead.

"We had hoped free, large scale outdoor events would be given some certainty in the Winter Plan, but the opposite is true – we have much less certainty that we did before."

In announcing the fireworks spectacular's cancellation for the second year running – 2020's display was also called off due to COVID-19 restrictions – organisers cited the fact "vaccine passports cannot be safely and practically checked at the Midsummer Common event".

As it happens, vaccine passports haven't been introduced in England yet, although the number of people testing positive has dramatically increased in recent weeks.

Vaccine passports are one of the potential measures that could be introduced if the government adopts its Plan B this winter.

“I know that residents will be incredibly disappointed by this decision but keeping local people safe has been our top priority from the very start of this pandemic,” added Cllr Smith.

“Unlike ticketed events in secure locations, we could not safely control access to Midsummer Common or other areas nearby if we had to check proof of vaccine.

"What makes it even more difficult is that we cannot insure against the loss of public funds if we go ahead with our planning and have to cancel at short notice. Frankly, we are in a no-win situation.

“I’m so disappointed that we have to make this decision for the second year in a row.

"I hope that next year we will all be able to enjoy watching the fireworks together.

"In the meantime, we will work hard to make sure that there are other events over the winter which light up the winter nights and bring us together as a community.”