New Year's Eve in London
|This article is outdated. (January 2011)|
New Year's Eve in London is usually celebrated around the area of the River Thames where the London Eye and Big Ben are situated. The countdown is accompanied by the chimes of Big Ben, and a countdown timer projected onto Shell Centre. The fireworks are launched off the London Eye at midnight, which previously lasted 10 minutes, but was reduced to 8 minutes for the 2010 display saving organisers a total of £70,000. Also during that year, a projection on the tower that houses Big Ben also greeted in the new year.
The first major fireworks display in London was to celebrate the year 2000. It was estimated by the BBC that about 3m people turned up around the Thames to watch the fireworks display. A river of fire was planned to accompany the fireworks display, but did not occur. A fireworks display was planned during 2000 to celebrate 2001, but was cancelled in November due to a dispute between the mayor of London and the tube services. Also there was no fireworks display for 2001-02 and 2002-03.
After a hiatus of no fireworks on New Year's Eve, for the 2003-04 event, there were fireworks though only for three minutes.
For the 2004-05 event, in the runup to midnight, an image of candles was projected onto the Shell Centre as a tribute to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Also, at midnight, fireworks were launched from the wheel itself for the first time.
For the 2011-12 extravaganza, fireworks were fired in a one off event from Big Ben, launching from the top of the building outwards above the many spectators and well wishers below, welcoming in the year in which London will host the Olympic Games. Fireworks were launched in the shape and colour of the Olympic Flag, in a display that lasted approximately eleven minutes compared to being reduced to eight minutes in 2010. The 2012-13 display was based on both the diamond jubilee and the Olympics. The Queen's Christmas speech was used in the firework display for the first time.
Previously, no music has been played during the new year firework displays in London. However, from 2010–11, a musical soundtrack was played during the fireworks show, with the BBC providing the soundtrack. During the 2010-11 fireworks display, songs that were played included Queen's We Will Rock You, The Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Blur's Song 2. Also in the 2011-12 display Labrinth's Earthquake was played in tribute for the 2011 London riots.