Thousands unite for Stadium of Fire


While the Stadium of Fire is a celebration of our country’s independence, this year it was a celebration and reminder of more.

Bob Evans and Hope Woodside from Fox 13 kicked off the 32nd Annual Stadium of Fire. They said there were more than 1,500 workers who put in more than 100,000 hours to create the show. Evans assured us that this year’s fireworks would be better than ever before, and they didn’t disappoint.

The two main attractions for the night were the performances of The Beach Boys and the fireworks show.

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Thousands of Utahns look foward to the Stadium of Fire every year. This year, the event featured the Beach Boys and Scottie McCreery.
For Neil Nelson, BYU alum of 1965, it was hard to choose which of the two was his favorite of the night.

“The fireworks and Beach Boys, can’t separate for enjoyment,” Nelson said.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys. This performance was the first made in more than 20 years with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and David Marks. This reuniting brought thousands from all generations. Timbrel Essma, from Twin Falls, Idaho, said she loved the bond that was felt by those in attendance through The Beach Boys’ performance.

“(My) favorite part of the night was that everyone in the stadium knew the songs,” Essma said. “All the older generations, college-aged and even little kids.”

Roberta Nelson, BYU alum of 1965, also saw the the effect the bond had on the audience.

“Saw a guy, about Beach Boys age, with tears just running down his face,” Nelson said.

Like the man with tears streaming down his face, many were touched by the performance and taken down memory lane. A lot of youth who didn’t grow up with The Beach Boys on the radio but knew the lyrics, which can be attributed to being raised on The Beach Boys, as was Essma and Martha Davidson, studying advertising at BYU.

“As a child we owned a six disc CD changer, and The Beach Boys would always be in it,” Davidson said. “While the music was playing, my sister and I would get giant body pillows and stack them, so they would wobble like surf boards.”

For Essma it was a band that brought the family together.

“We would always listen to them on Saturday mornings when we would make brunch and we would dance around the kitchen,” Essma said. “And every time our family would go on a road trip we would listen to The Beach Boys.”

Joey Nicholson, from Seattle and Founder of  Color 1 Associates, didn’t have a problem choosing a favorite Beach Boy since she knows one of them personally.

“Mike Love … used to stay at my house in D.C.,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson’s husband and Mike Love were working on the president’s staff, who was then Gerald Ford, and one day Nicholson brought Mike Love home. Joey Nicholson was hired to create individual color charts for the band, so they would all look good against the different backgrounds. Since then she has been able to keep in contact with Mike, which is how she got her tickets.

The Beach Boys helped bring thousands together this year with their catchy summer tunes, reminding many of their past and creating new memories to share.

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