Staff Reporter 

Fireworks concert is a Spokane area staple

Write to the Point


This past Sunday, sounds of the baroque period filled Riverfront Park for the last time, marking the end of an era.

The Royal Fireworks Concert has been a staple of my Julys for a number of years now, and it’s an event I thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, unless some major funding comes through, this year was the concert’s last, marking the end of a 35-year tradition in Spokane.

Every year, I look forward to the fireworks, of course. But the music is surprisingly good, and given the history of the ensemble, it’s a great night showcasing the importance of fine arts in Spokane. The fireworks concert is the only event of its kind in the region, if not the world.

The concert is really out of place in today’s world, but that’s what makes it endearing. Sure, the music may be slow at times, and Handel’s 200-year-old sheet music sure isn’t the latest hit single from Justin Timberlake or Miley Cyrus. As the evening ebbed on, a few people seated on the Lilac Bowl started clamoring for fireworks, completely ignoring the great collection of talented musicians on the floating stage.

It’s just another sign of the times, I guess.

I’m big on new technology, but every once in a while it’s important to take a step back and enjoy something with a bit of class. The fireworks concert, in the five or six years I’ve been attending, has perfectly fit the bill. The venue is perfect and the time of year for the show is impeccable. According to event organizers, it has never rained in the 35 years of the concert.

While the future of the Royal Fireworks Concert may be in doubt, its impact on Spokane for the last 35 years is profound. I don’t doubt that there will be an effort to save the concert, because that’s just reflective of the character in this area. A few years ago, the Spokane Symphony came very close to cutting its summer concerts at Liberty Lake and Comstock Park due to budget difficulties. The community responded swiftly and the concerts were reinstated with only weeks to spare.

I have no doubt that Spokane will step up to the plate once again to keep this event going, but it will take a good bit of effort. After 35 years, any event can grow a bit stale, and an update is a great way to keep things fresh. When mixing a modern audience and classical composers, there are bound to be some people who nod off during the performance. Classical music isn’t for everyone, sadly.

But with the right guidance (and funding), the concert can continue to entertain the populace of Spokane for many years to come. It’s clear that there’s an audience for the event, even if a good portion of them are merely there for some fireworks.

James Eik can be reached at


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