Lewes Forum thread

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profit vs tradition

On 6 Nov 2012 at 9:13am chris huang-zhe wrote:
Will the new police commissioner work with the Chief Constable to prevent the unacceptable influx of students and other visitors on the 5th in 2013?
Currently the train companies prosper, and safety and tradition appear to be compromised.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 9:21am Frak wrote:
I'm pretty sure southern trains doesn't prosper much at all - they have to pay for a lot of extra staff and I doubt many people actually bought a ticket.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 9:24am chris huang-zhe wrote:
so they bring in thousands from Falmer as a sop to studentkind?
On 6 Nov 2012 at 9:53am Sussex Jim wrote:
Ticket inspection on bonfire night is zero; as one would expect for practical reasons. But the railways, even with "privatisation" can only operate with massive subsidies, so effectively they can be seen as a service to the taxpayer, like the NHS.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 10:13am GhostBike wrote:
And the roads don't receive any subsidy?
Railways are also a service to business. A big one.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 1:06pm Lewesian wrote:
What do you mean, "unacceptable influx of students"? You throw the biggest bonfire and firework party in Europe and expect a bunch of young, intelligent, naturally curious people, living on our doorstep just 3 miles away, to stay at home? This whole anti-outsider thing may be a policing necessity, but it's also weird and embarrassing.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 2:45pm Sussex Jim wrote:
I have been attending Lewes bonfire for probably almost 50 years; from the days when my father drove the family in to present times when living nearby. In more recent times we learnt to avoid the Cliffe and Memorial areas, and watched the grand procession from the upper High Street. Then, as a customer of that excellent pub the Brewers Arms, we could watch from the bottleneck with access to refreshment, toilets, etc.
Now sadly a curfew operates in the town centre from 5pm. If your'e not in by then, you are excluded. There has to be a case for a ticket system. Lewes and surrounding bonfire supporting villages to take precedence, with a nominal fee to cover costs.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 4:13pm Southover Queen wrote:
Jim, that's simply not true: there was no curfew last night. I know because I walked from Rotten Row via the bottleneck to my friends in the High Street at 7pm. No crowds, no drunken youth, just a happy anticipatory atmosphere.

The only reason restrictions were imposed last year was because of the pressure of numbers, and it was decided to restrict access once the number of people in the central High Street had got to critical level. That's because last year there were 60,000 and this year half that (if not fewer, to be honest).

I can't think of a quicker way to kill off bonfire than the incredible bureaucracy involved in issuing (and checking) tickets. Also if people buy a ticket they would then become a customer with expectations, and that would fatally wound the whole spirit of bonfire.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 5:03pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Thank you for that information, Southover Queen. Perhaps next year I will try to attend as you did. I agree a ticket system is probably impractical, but there has to be some way us Sussex folk can enjoy it.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 6:54pm Bonfire Boy wrote:
So have customers of Cliffe and Southover firesites fatally wounded the whole spirit of bonfire?
On 6 Nov 2012 at 7:48pm Southover Queen wrote:
No, but they're firework displays, not a solemn/anarchic/imaginative coming together of disparate people and organisations to march together in commemoration and celebration put together by and for a community. And anyway, as far as I know, all firesites except Waterloo now charge admission.

People (like me and I'm sure many others) happily cough up a fiver to watch tens of thousands pounds worth of fireworks go up in smoke, but the relationship is direct. If the society's display this year wasn't up to scratch, you'll go somewhere else - the free market in action. I was a customer at the Southover bonfire and firework display, and I got my money's worth.

The United Procession and the rest of the activity on our town's streets is different, and I do think that charging entry would fundamentally change the nature of the event. Since all bonfire boys and girls insist that bonfire is for the townspeople and themselves, how would charging people money to watch work?

On 6 Nov 2012 at 7:58pm Bonfire Boy wrote:
Don't mistake my question for a belief that we should charge people to come into the town on the 5th; it's just that your statement sounded rather pompous.
Commercial Square's site is free, and South Street might be too. The firesite is a whole lot more than just a firework display anyway.
And I would bet that not one Society anywhere in Sussex allocates a budget of more than four figures for their aerials - hence my point elsewhere about the creative use of budget.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 8:50pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
I have every faith that the tradition of Bonfire will continue but the biggest threat to Bonfire is the presence of visitors - last nights arrests confirm that THEY threaten the continuation of Bonfire (misuse of fireworks, drunken behaviour etc).
All societies collect monies on the night to dispense to local charities, but over recent years, there has been a steady decline in the generosity of the public to pay for their free entertainment (no excuses please).
Maybe we should introduce an admission fee to the town on the 5th - it works in Devon, so why not Lewes? Admission fees would guarantee monies for local charities and reduce the crowd numbers.

Check it out here »
On 6 Nov 2012 at 9:04pm Southover Queen wrote:
I stand corrected, BB! In that case, double/triple respect to all for the quality of the displays for such small sums. Southover's this year was really excellent. Most people paying their fiver are paying for admission to a firework display and bonfire, and they're not particularly aware of what else is going on.

However I don't think it undermines my point. The firesites are organised by each society on what is effectively private land, whereas the processions happen on the public streets. Charging people would be fantastically different and I really do think it would change the relationship between the "audience" and the "performer" as well.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 9:31pm Southover Queen wrote:
Blast: "charging people would be fantastically difficult" not "different".
On 6 Nov 2012 at 10:03pm JustAKid wrote:
Does no-one else feel that the atmosphere created on bonfire night is becoming more and more un-welcoming. You talk about charging outsiders and youths binge drinking and onlookers being irresponsible with fireworks. In my opinion "bonfire boys" are made up of a bunch power hungry muppets, who feel as though they have the right to command the streets for on night of the year. This is probably a large reflection of their own lives, and how little excitement they get day to day. So when it gets to the 5th they can put on fancy dress and feel all so important. That being said I dont despise bonfire night, I pity it.
Participants of Rio de janeiro, Mardigras and Trinidad and Tobago do not feel threatened when tourist flock to see it. Get a grip.
On 6 Nov 2012 at 11:19pm Bonfire Boy wrote:
You should have taken a proper look at Bonfire. Seen the huge family ethos, the smiles and camaraderie, the pride in wonderful costumes, the invited visiting bands, and the satisfaction of a year's worth of preparation and planning bearing such wonderful fruit. True, you would also have seen the frustration and loathing of drunken fools who were unable to simply watch and appreciate the continuation of part of our cultural history. Perhaps you are part of the latter unwelcome group, if you feel like you say?
On 6 Nov 2012 at 11:22pm Get real wrote:
@justakid as has been said before so listen good we take to the streets so us muppets and you yourself can speak freely in this our green and pleasent land , we would welcome well behaved visitors , now go get a grip yourself troll
On 6 Nov 2012 at 11:54pm JustAKid wrote:
You march on the 5th to express your freedom of speech, while knowing our green and pleasent land is safe. I think what has happened here, is that you have monumentally failed to regurgitate a combination of lyrics and speeches that have somehow made their way into that idle mind of yours.
@BonfireBoy, on the main website it encourages outsiders not to turn up. Not to bring children. Of course you boys were happy, your were bathing in each others satisfaction, feeling like you were kings of the universe itself. For your counter-argument I hope it doesn't take a full year to organise a piss up for a bunch of middle aged men to walk circles around lewes and end up jumping over a fire.
On 7 Nov 2012 at 2:22am insomniac wrote:
1. One cannot 'speak freely' in the UK. There are many, many illegal utterances.
2. Why the hell do you think UK is 'green & pleasant', don't you get out much?
3. "you have monumentally failed to regurgitate a combination of lyrics and speeches that have somehow made their way into that idle mind of yours" is possibly the most tortuously clumsy and awkwardly verbose sentence I've ever read. Are you a Daily Mirror hack?
On 7 Nov 2012 at 8:59am Bonfire Boy wrote:
I don't even think he's climbed up to that level, insomniac. I do think he's blind though, not to see the thousands of women and children in Bonfire...
On 7 Nov 2012 at 2:27pm Penguin wrote:
Just a Kid?... precisely. Probably best that you go and play with your toys then, and leave grown up people to do the stuff that you don't understand.
I have never been to Mardi Gras, Rio de Janeiro or Trinidad and Tobago, but I have no doubt that they feel they 'own the streets' during their celebrations in much the same way that we do. I imagine they would also get just as p1ssed off if spectators just wandered into their midst just to be bloody awkward. It makes me laugh when people come to watch what we do, but then complain that we try to keep the streets clear so that we can do it! Yes, you might be asked quite abrubtly to move out of the way, but nobody listens otherwise. They would soon complain if they got burnt with a torch though, or knocked down by a tableau! If you don't want us in the streets, if you think we are just a bunch of middle aged men walking in circles, then why on earth do you come and watch what we do? Is it not more a reflection on your life, and how little excitement you get, that you have to go out and watch something that you obviously dislike so much because you have nothing better to do? And you call us muppets!
On 7 Nov 2012 at 2:38pm v.c. wrote:
JustAKid - Bonfire is not for you - stay in and drink your cocoa whilst Mummy reads your bedtime story and keep your night light on. When you grow up you will find it fun sometimes to get the dressing up box out and enjoy yourself. Even if it is only once a year.
On 11 Nov 2012 at 1:37pm amy wrote:
Bruciare il Papa Clovelly is the village in Devon with an entrance fee, however there is only one way into the village with a ticket gate. More of a tourist attraction.
On 11 Nov 2012 at 7:50pm Bonfire boy wrote:
As anyone closely involved in Lewes bonfire would know the idea of charging is anathema. Not only would it totally undermine the fact that most societies process for themselves alone but would also mean that the societys were event organisers and bring innumerable problems. We have been druv too far already. No more.

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