Southwest city’s residents treated to unique wake-up call

Some residents in Bristol awoke recently to the sound of a slightly different morning chorus than birdsong.

Instead, locals in the south of the city were treated to an orchestra floating above them in hot air balloons.

The balloon flight was the idea of Charles Hazelwood, a composer, and hot air balloon pilot Rob Bayly. Farmland near Chew Valley Lake became the starting point for a total of fifteen hot air balloons, which rose in the sky, taking with them singers, musicians and the composer.

The collaboration came about following a chat between the pair, who were discussing Hazelwood’s recent performance at the Glastonbury music festival, as well as future shows. Before long, Bayly had offered his help to assist in creating the cloud-based, floating performance. He commented:

“A mass balloon launch is always impressive but with live musicians and singers in every basket, conducted by Charles in the central balloon, it was worth getting up for.”

Putting on the display for the locals was almost a practice run for the group, with the orchestra set to conduct a much larger, festival-style exhibition on Saturday the 19th July at the Bath and West Showground, consisting of Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde.

It is set to be a daylong event to celebrate music and promote community spirit, with food and drink available, as well as activities for all age groups. The day’s production has been compiled in partnership by Hazelwood and Kneehigh, a theatre production company.

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