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Studio City Fireworks a Dud

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.  

KANDY DEPROSSE July 05, 2014 at 04:41 PM
We spent an additional $20 for rooftop seating for the second year in a row and had a spectacular time! We were not in the VIP area, just on the rooftop. The fireworks were better than Macy's New York Spectacular, in my estimation, and definitely worth the $40. per seat that we paid. There were fireworks shows all across the valley (which we also could see) that were mostly free - I say good riddance to complainers. <3
Zachary Will July 07, 2014 at 04:10 AM
The 8pm entry cutoff was absolutely posted online. I saw it in several different places before entering and was aware of it even before I bought tickets, because I saw it online. The lines for food were long but there was absolutely no line -- at all -- for beer. Are you kidding me? No line for BEER?!! And, I went twice! Unfortunately, the beer cutoff was 8pm. I think it used to be 9pm, years ago. I did not pay for rooftop, or VIP, and still had better seats for the fireworks than I've ever had for any other fireworks show in my life (except for last time I was here). I brought a newbie with me, whom I had to persuade against the Burbank show. She was blown away, so to speak. Overall, both of us were more than happy with the entire event, especially the fireworks! I will return, for sure.
Joan Harvey July 07, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Zachary, I stand corrected. After reading your post I went back and do see that the flyer did state no admittance after 8:00 p.m., but I also checked both the Brown Paper Ticket info. and the info. accompanying the flyer and could not find mention of that. I am also happy that you were part of the 50% of the General Admission who had a great view of the fireworks, but since I was part of the 50% who saw only the fireworks that were high enough to be seen over the trees, I still feel that after paying $120 for admittance for our group that everyone who paid to be there should have a view of the fireworks.
Kay Scuttlemaker July 07, 2014 at 04:35 PM
Generally speaking I think this event was very poorly communicated. We had never been and decided to go this year so we bought General Admission tickets plus rooftop access. We had to call several times to determine what we needed to bring (were there chairs on the roof? what was the setup?) and what to expect (what type of food? how many different vendors?) and still we weren't aware that food sales stopped at 8pm (lucky they let us buy dinner for the kids at 8:15pm or we may have had to leave before the fireworks....and if that happened, we wouldn't be admitted back in b/c it was after 8pm!). Also, we were very disappointed that wine/beer stopped at 8pm as well. There was nothing on the brochure/map they handed out to indicate what time things closed....that would've been nice to know. I'm not sure why they don't post a schedule online before you buy tickets, and let you know more of what to expect before the event so you want to come again the next year. The rooftop gave us a great view of spectacular fireworks, but we had to stand as the only seats available for our party of 8 were 1-offs here and there. And we couldn't understand a word of the looonnnggg speech someone (Charlie Brown's teacher?) gave before the star spangled banner was sung (that was lovely). Lastly, I get that they choreographed the fireworks to the songs (rainbow fireworks to "somewhere over the rainbow" and smiley faces to "happy"), but much of the time the music was drowned out by the popping explosions of the fireworks. Why not just have some quiet and oooos and aaaahhhs instead? Bottom line: maybe most of the needed information is available somewhere online, but it needs to be better organized and better communicated. Set expectations appropriately so everyone has a good time!
Beth Meurer July 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Friends, Two years ago I took my family to see the Studio City Fireworks and our experience was okay. However, for the last two years we have simply walked to the intersection of Laurel Canyon and the LA River and stood on the sidewalk. The view from the street is really good and it is FREE! We usually see people we know. This year we brought friends from the Santa Monica area who loved the display. Of course, we can't hear the music, but we played some John Phillip Sousa marches on our iPhones to add to the fun and voila! instant Fourth of July atmosphere. Join us next year and save $120! No food or Beer lines, no cut off times, bring your own or go to Von's, which is within walking distance. Hope to see you all there!

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