Rhythm & Booms is one of the few major festivals in Madison I don't mind missing. A long list of block parties and other gatherings take precedence in my particular list of must- (or at least should-) attend events every summer. So it was without any real disappointment that I missed this year's edition, held last Saturday.
What did I miss?
A big show, and bigger crowds, a taste of which can be found in a growing series of video clips of the display, posted online by its many fans. Though these compressed views of the fireworks are sans open skies, soundtrack and live audience, they provide a rough feel for Madison's largest annual event, in terms of sheer attendance.
These video views of the 2007 Rhythm & Booms follow.
To begin, one brief clip features the somewhat visible but quite audible flyover by four F-16s in the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard preceding the fireworks.
The display started shortly thereafter as dusk deepened into night. The same videographer who captured the flyover also shot an extended clip of the first portion of the show, the choreographed soundtrack usually overwhelmed by the bursts and whistles of the fireworks and the oohs and aahs of the crowd.
A more distant view of the show was captured on video by Emy Nosti from a sailboat near the southern shores of Lake Mendota. The first clip features exploding peace signs.
Many of the videos focus upon the grand finale to the display. One of the longer clips of the bunch includes the soundtrack (Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture). "It was pretty spectacular," declares the videographer.
This brief and blurry video clip shows the grand finale of the display as seen from the UW Memorial Union.
Another version shot by Daniella Echeverria provides a close-up look at the finale.
Interested in one last look at the finale? Here you go.
Finally, there is a one-minute video of the brush fire on Willow Island in Warner Park that was started by burning fireworks debris falling back to earth.
This fire burned through Saturday night and well into Sunday before being extinguished by the Madison Fire Department. "Though we have had rain this summer, the island grass is apparently tinder dry," noted one person attending the celebration at Warner Park. "They usually hose it down prior to the fireworks, but as we've seen this year, there are no guarantees it will help."
Though the annual fireworks display is typically held on the Saturday night before Independence Day, the actual holiday falls on a Friday in 2008. Is it possible that the stars could align and Rhythm & Booms be held on the actual Fourth of July next year?