2012 ¦ Bristol, UK
August. My mate bought a hot air balloon for his company. And it was making a debut here at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. He invited us to join him in the VIP area. Getting there we found ourselves wading through 300,000 people in a tightly cordoned area. Freaking intense – but finally made our way to the gated entrance where we were able to step past security, through into the wide open space of the central field where several dozen balloons where lying deflated – waiting for darkness to come. Great atmosphere – especially being able to lounge around nice tables in the comfort and space away from the massive crowds.
Once it was dark, the Night Glow begins. All the balloons inflate over 30 minutes or so and then abruptly the darkness is swept away by the roaring blast of burners lighting up the night. Magical. Especially being so close to the action. Although we soon got much closer.
Of course, there’s us – larking around after more than a few whiskies. We totally forgot about the 300,000 people looking down on us; they’re lost in the darkness whilst we’re in this brightly lit area. Then a moment came when the music died down and this insane chorus of human voices erupted from the shadows in every direction. Brilliant night.
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