the fireworks at Meadowbank Stadium were a dazzling display with a superhero theme for the first time.
However, a host of spectators who paid £6.50 a ticket to cram into the stadium’s stands on Tuesday night were left feeling anything but super about the experience.
A series of complaints have been sent to organisers Edinburgh Leisure by punters claiming they were unable to see the Bonfire Night fireworks from their seats.
Among the complainants was former Snow Patrol bass guitarist Mark McClelland, who said he had been left extremely disappointed and feeling “ripped off” after paying £52 for eight tickets and missing the skyshow altogether.
The 37-year-old musician said: “Upon arriving in our allocated seating block the only free seating was in row ZA. Immediately it was obvious we were not able to see the sky. In fact, because of the low protruding roof we were only able to see halfway up the height of the stadium’s spotlights.
“As soon as the fireworks display began, the grumbling began. Everyone in the rear-most rows was complaining. Some walked down to the bottom of the steps in order to get a view, but were promptly sent back up by the stewards. It is obvious that the event was deliberately oversold.
“I estimate at least half of the people who paid £6.50 per ticket would have missed the best part of the fireworks. All we could see was the rockets taking off and then the grass being lit up as they exploded out of sight.”
Mr McClelland, whose hits included Run – which has the lyrics “light up, light up, as if you have a choice” – also said the music had been “absolutely deafening”. He added: “My wife was compelled to take our daughter out of the arena in fear for her hearing.”
Given the layout of the stadium, not being able to see the fireworks as they explode in the sky is believed to be a long running problem – but a situation exacerbated this year by confusion outside the ground.
Large queues are understood to have formed as security staff struggled to process bar-coded tickets. Many people printing their tickets off at home are said to have folded them, making it hard for scanners to read them. One disgruntled spectator, who declined to give his name, said: “I don’t think the organisers factored in the differing qualities of the home-printed tickets.”
Edinburgh Leisure operations director Graeme Gardiner said the display was run by Edinburgh-based firework company 21cc, which has been in charge of events at Edinburgh Castle and Hopetoun House.
He said: “We are immensely proud of the fireworks display and regret that some people were disappointed with their experience.
“We work extremely hard to ensure that our customers enjoy the evening and last night was no exception. Everybody was seated on time for the performance to start at 7.30pm, but we do acknowledge that some tickets had to be manually processed due to poor quality of some of the tickets. We only sell tickets that have an unrestricted view and these areas are clearly marked. We do, however, find that some customers move from their allocated seating during the performance, which can potentially result in a restricted view.”