As resident's of Studio City, we thought we should try for the first time the CBS Radford 4th of July celebration. We purchased the General Admission ("GA") tickets for $20/person online. We thought about the VIP tickets at $100/person which included valet parking, a rooftop view and some free food. Since we have kids and were having friends over for a BBQ beforehand, we decided the $20 tickets would be fine.
We arrived at 7:45 p.m. with a little more than an hour to fireworks. We noticed a sign in the search line that said No Admittance after 8:00 p.m. Nowhere in any of the printed/online material did it mention that cut off time. We were counting our lucky stars that we made it in time. After having our belongings searched and walking through the metal detector, we were on the lot ready to have fun. We followed the crowd and put our blankets down to reserve our spot in the only area set aside for GA's to sit. The guys went to get beer so we stayed behind with the kids to hold our spot until they got back and then it would be our turn to take the kids to the Fun Zone. Twenty minutes later they returned from the long beer line (beer tent also closed at 8:00 p.m.). Thank goodness we ate beforehand as the lines for the food booths were super long (25 minutes in some cases). Off we went with the kids to find the Fun Zone. Surely for the $20 admittance the Fun Zone would be free, but alas no - tickets were $2 per bouncy house or slide. We bought one ticket for each of the kids and they were able to slide 4-5 times before it was time to go. To be fair, you could purchase a wristband for $12 for unlimited bouncy fun - but not worth it with only 25 minutes to go.
For the first time that evening I sat down on the blanket to find that due to sitting on blacktop that had baked in the sun all day, it was like sitting on a heated to high electric blanket on a warm night. Lesson learned, next time we would bring chairs.
By 9:00 p.m., we were packed in like sardines excitedly waiting for the fireworks display to begin. We could hear in the distance (meaning the VIP areas) an announcer and music playing, but there were no speakers for the GA crowd. At around 9:10 p.m., the fireworks display began, and we found (along with 50% of the GA attendees) that we could only see half of the fireworks as the low ones were blocked by the parking structure and trees. Some of the crowd shifted to the right for slightly better views, but by the time we got our sneakers on and were ready to move, there was no place to move to. A woman next to us said that last year, the fireworks burst in between the buildings for a much better view for the GA crowd. We will not return next year, and gauging from the reaction of those around us, they will not return either.
On the plus side, the volunteers were all nice, the horn and drum band was fun and from what we could see of the fireworks, they were pretty good too - but only if you were a VIP.