This was the scene as Kassel ushered in 2014.
Down on street level, the experience was exhilarating, as all around people let off fireworks haphazardly, lighting rockets balanced in wine bottles, stepping back just a foot or so from a fizzing wick. Down by the river, the cold air was thick with sulphur as I stood with our small group of theatre folk, eyes wide like small children. Our number included one pyrotechnics expert armed with a large box of fireworks and an even larger grin.
A few hours previous, I had been onstage singing my last show of the year: our debauched Die Fledermaus was a super send off to what has been an amazing 12 months.