15 November 2010
Rye bonfire night
I was out on a photo weekend with a couple of fellow photography geeks in the Kent / East Sussex area, and by chance, as we were driving from Bodiam Castle to Dungeness via Rye we noticed that a week later than everyone else they were having their bonfire and firework evening. That was our evening sorted then.
I've seen big bonfires before, and of course I've seen firework displays, but never before have I witnessed anything quite like the Rye bonfire.
Thousands of people had braved the cold wet evening, and after a flame lit torch carnival through the town, everyone assembled around the huge bonfire (pallets stacked about 3 stories high).
We half expected them to make a human sacrifice (with so many chavs in the town surely no one would miss one?). This was obviously a tradition that had been going for a great many years.
I don't think Rye have heard of health and safety because the bonfire was lit by everyone throwing their torches onto the bonfire. Accompanied by the sounds of hundreds of stupidly loud "bangers" the bonfire was lit.
A few minutes later the firework display started, and shortly after the heavens openned and down came the rain again. The heat coming from the bonfire was amazing, even some 30 metres away it was too much to take.
It was an amazing spectacle, one that I think I'm going to have to return to next year. We left about 30 minutes later after the chavs started throwing bangers just a little too close to the crowd for comfort.
Update: My photos are now featured on the official Rye Bonfire website!