Outdoor Firework Concerts

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What is it about the British (or perhaps just the English). Two of this country's most pleasurable pastimes - picnicking outdoors and concert going, can be relaxing, entertaining and a pleasurable way of spending a few hours.

Combine the two however, and the worst of both worlds results. Would you like to go for an intimate family picnic with 8000 others sitting within inches of you? Go to an outdoor concert. Enjoy classical music? Go to an outdoor concert where a good orchestra plays the latest Classic FM hit toons, mangled through an erratic PA system, while others laugh and chatter over the music.

If this wasn't enough, to be a real afficionado, ladies must dress in ball gowns and stillettos, and struggle to retain dignity picking their way across an undulating and often muddy field. For the men, dinner suits/tuxedos are de rigeur, preferably with the loudest and most offensive bow tie/waist coat combo. All involved must carry their share of cold pizza, chicken wings, pasta salad and limp lettuce, to be served with a set of tables, chairs, crystal glassware, wine coolers and candelabra that would make the court of Louis XIV hang their heads in shame.

To obtain maximum enjoyment, be sure to queue at the gates ready for the 4:00 pm opening (for an 8:00pm concert), hurrying to the 'best spot' central to the stage and approximately 60 meters away. The men must now erect table and chairs while drinking cans of stella artois, occasionally stopping to conduct the orchestra, while the ladies loiter, looking pretty and not at all cold really. The Union Jack table cloth, held down by a bottle of tepid chardonnay at each corner completes the scene, and everyone must now settle down to eat what food is not carried across the field by gusts of wind or contaminated by wasps.

By the time the concert starts, the men must have consumed quantites of beer and/or wine sufficient to be encouraged to talk loudly enough to distract anyone misguided enough to have come to listen to the music. The gathered throng eagerly awaits the legendary 1812 Overture, complete with fireworks and explosives Bonaparte would have given his right arm for.

After the fourth encore of 'Land of Hope and Glory', the orchestra who have longed to play something challenging and musically satisfying all summer, hurry to get to their cars and escape the venue before the throng. Meanwhile 8000 happy punters pack away their belongings and queue in cars, waiting to fit through a single gateway, while desperate stewards avoid near death experiences guiding increasingly frustrated motorists on their way home.

Here's to next Summer!

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