Rhythm And Booms Will Be Relocated In 2014


Madison is moving its signature Fourth of July fireworks event Rhythm and Booms to a central city location along Lake Monona in 2014.

City officials say the location will be easier to get to and will have lower police costs. Last year’s Rhythm and Booms lost money at its longtime location on Madison’s north side.

“It was an event we are no longer able to sustain financially due to lack of donations, sponsorship dollars, and the extremely high cost of personnel to keep the event safe,” says Rita Kelliher. She is with the group Madison Festivals, which took over the event this spring.

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The group — which also runs Taste of Madison and the Madison Marathon – decided to relocate the event. Fireworks will be launched from barges on Lake Monona, and Mayor Paul Soglin estimates 150,000 people will watch along the shoreline of John Nolen Drive.

“We think it’s going to provide far more accessibility for far more people.”

The city of Madison plans to hold a public hearing on the new fireworks location. The previous location, Warner Park, had wetlands, and there were many environmental concerns about possible damage from the chemicals used in the explosives. Kelliher says shooting them off over Lake Monona should not be a problem.

“In fact, the leading experts on fireworks will tell you that it’s advantageous to shoot fireworks on water,” says Kelliher. “It’s called phytoremediation. Basically it reduces the perchlorates to a negligible level.”

If the group Madison Festivals cannot raise enough money, the city may chip in. In the past, that amount has been around $100,000 for police, fire and other costs.