Telford Balloon Fiesta wows crowds despite Saturday’s ‘Night Glow’ being canceled for security reasons

The hot air balloon festival drew huge crowds. Photo courtesy: Kara Thomas

Record numbers of visitors were seen at the Telford Balloon Fiesta which returned to the QEII Arena over the weekend, with music and fun galore.

However, rowdy behavior and people trying to climb over fences as the park reached capacity spoiled the fun on Saturday night. Police, worried about overcrowding and the outbreak of fighting, ordered the party to close early for the day.

That meant the popular Night Glow didn’t happen.

Kara Thomas, who took this photo, had a “fabulous time” but admits it was incredibly busy.

However, the event returned on Sunday for a second full day of entertainment.

A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesman said: ‘We want people to have fun, but we need to keep people safe. On the advice of the police, we canceled the Saturday Night Glow show due to the large crowd.

“We know it was disappointing, but we hope our visitors enjoyed the free shows, balloons and carnival parade throughout the weekend.

“We are going to review the management of the number of visitors for next year.”

The weekend started with musical performances on Friday evening.

A colorful display of hot air balloons filled the sky over Telford Park

Then about 18 balloons were launched at dawn on Saturday and Sunday morning. Some, however, went further than others. The impressive Maxwell coffee balloon only reached one field off Stirchley Avenue.

Back at the QE11 Arena, visitors enjoyed a variety of activities ranging from music on Friday to all day Saturday and Sunday.

The weather was perfect and those who didn’t attend the event enjoyed seeing the balloons above their homes. In the arena was a balloon flight simulator so people could see what it is like to ride in a balloon.

Highlights included a Sunday fiesta procession from Southwater to the area and Saturday performances by the Imps Motorcycle Display team plus more live music on the main stage.

The IMPS Motorcycle Show Team.

This included, on Saturday, this time from the Shropshire Music Awards, with The Original Wanted and Ruby Allen from 2 p.m., then Trademark Blud and Papermoon.

The Sunday morning balloon launch was followed by entertainment including the Circus Sensible Show and a carnival parade from Southwater to the arena. Stage performances throughout the afternoon were attended by vocalist Macey O.

Music-wise, Dirty Rockin Scoundrels kicked off Friday, followed by Gineva from 6:15-7:15 p.m., before Focus headliners closed out the evening from 8-9 p.m. Dutch rockers Focus, best known for their track Hocus Pocus, which featured in Nike’s 2010 World Cup ad with Wayne Rooney, are currently in the middle of their European tour.

Sunday’s lineup includes the Circus Sensible Show, a carnival parade, breakout dance routines, and then stage performances by dance and community groups as well as Macy O.

Councilor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services, said: ‘This is a highlight of Telford & Wrekin Council’s calendar of events as we know it attracts visitors regional as well as thousands of our borough residents.

“The council’s ‘by your side’ investment includes a £750,000 commitment to our events program to ensure we continue to provide a range of activities for residents and attract visitors to the area.”