Alchemy Fireworks

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Host the Perfect Summer Bonfire Party!

Close up a burning bonfire

Whilst many of us think of bonfire parties and fireworks as an essential part of autumn, there are few ways to celebrate in summer than having a laid back and relaxed summer bonfire party with your close friends and family. The long, warm evenings are perfect for enjoying the outdoors and spending quality time catching up with your loved ones, and once it gets dark you can continue the night with a fireworks display to remember.

Bonfire parties are also incredibly easy to throw together. The fireworks and bonfire mean that people will mainly be in your garden rather than your home, so you don’t have to worry about your house looking immaculate. In just one afternoon, you can quickly throw together a summer bonfire party that looks as if it’s been carefully planned for at least a week in advance.


One of the joys of bonfire parties is that because they’re held outside, you already have natural surroundings of plants, trees, shrubs and grass to act as the perfect decorations. Everyone appreciates bunting, as long as you place it where it’s not at risk at catching light from the fireworks and bonfire, and fairy lights offer a magical atmosphere in the twilight.

If you really want to make the most of your decorations, additional lanterns and candles on tables will offer warmth, as well as provide more light as the night gets darker.

For bonfire parties being hosting in your garden, creating a fire pit is the safest way to start your bonfire, and you can easily construct one by digging a shallow hole. Before you create your fire pit, make sure it’s not underneath low hanging branches and away from your house.

Once you have your fire pit sorted, you need to make sure you have enough firewood to last the night – the last thing you’ll want is to run out before your night is over. Not only will it mean that your warmth is gone, but it’ll dampen the overall atmosphere.

Food and drink

No party is complete without some sort of food and drink on offer and summer bonfires are the same. Of course, you could always ask all your guests to bring a drink or a dish with them, and it’s definitely a good way to save more money for your fireworks. If you’ve decided to serve food and drink yourself, nothing beats a good old fashioned barbecue.

Drinks like Pimm’s and sangria will definitely get you into the summer mood, and having a cocktail bar set up will ensure everyone has a drink they love. If you want to update your barbecue a bit, why not look to pulled pork and similar dishes? Burrito and taco bars are also a great idea – that way everyone can make delicious food that’s exactly to their taste and you don’t have to remember who does and doesn’t like sour cream!


As the evening wears on, it will start to get a bit cooler, even you started in the middle of a hot and sunny day. Simply make sure you have a number of warm blankets easily accessible for when the sun goes down. Besides, there are few things as magical  as sitting by a bonfire, wrapped up in a warm blanket as you watch fireworks. They also allow you to keep the party going on for longer.


These American imports are too much fun to lump them in with food and drink, so we’ve given them a section to themselves! This magical combination of sweet crackers, toasted marshmallows and chocolate is a classic at every American bonfire and it’s really not difficult to see (or taste) why. If you want to shake things up a bit, you can always try using different types of crackers or biscuits, flavoured marshmallows and different chocolate.

Why not have a range of s’mores experimentation and encourage your guests to try out different combinations. No matter what people choose, you can be sure these will be a hit with guests old and young.

Choosing the perfect fireworks

Choosing your fireworks should be the one part of your night that you spend a lot of time preparing. Whilst you’ll be hosting a private display, you need to ensure that you’re not endangering your guests, your property or the property around you.

Fireworks are designed to have a safety distance, which can be as small as 5 metres, so the good news is that you can set them off with not that much room needed. You also need to remember that you pay for quality for fireworks, so it’s always best to avoid buying the cheapest. One great way to bring the people at your party together is to ask for people to contribute towards the fireworks – that way, you can easily afford high quality fireworks and everyone can have a really special night.

You also need to remember that not many people will be expecting fireworks in the summer. If you have neighbours, it’s a good idea to let them know your plans ahead of time so they can look after their children or pets if they have any. By buying fewer, high quality fireworks, there won’t be as much noise – allowing your party to have a great time whilst minimising any noise problems for your neighbours.

Things to remember for your garden fireworks

These tips and advice will come in handy for anyone planning to set off garden fireworks, especially if you’re hosting a summer bonfire party

  • Category 2 fireworks shouldn’t be underestimated because they’re smaller – they still have the power to injure and badly burn people. Keep safe and ensure they can’t fall over before you light them.
  • Never let children near the fireworks, whether they’re still unlit or have already been used
  • Always read the instructions on all the fireworks you plan to light before setting them off. It’s quite common for people to place smaller fireworks upside down, especially fireworks that have come from selection boxes.
  • Never leave any unused fireworks in or near the display area. Keep them far away and safely covered up.
  • Make sure that no one at your party tries to hold a firework. Even small fireworks can cause a lot of damage.
  • Despite this, it’s common for people to become complacent with small fireworks so make sure you have a first aid kit and a bucket of water to hand, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Safely and carefully dispose of your used fireworks.
  • Unless you have the space and can set up the appropriate safety measures, you shouldn’t risk including a few display fireworks – the risks are just too big.


There’s something uniquely special about summer bonfire parties – the great company , food, drinks and fireworks will give everyone long-lasting fond memories to look back on, as well as helping you to look forward to autumn and Bonfire Night, with its impressive fireworks, large bonfires, crunchy gold leaves and toffee apples.

For more information about the services at Alchemy Fireworks and how we can help you to organise a professional fireworks display, simply get in touch or call +44 (0)8000 66 58 37 today.

Wedding vows and wedding WOWS!

Alchemy Fireworks provide many wedding fireworks displays throughout the summer. More and more often we get asked for quiet wedding fireworks displays at noise sensitive venues – usually because of nearby neighbours or livestock. When cleverly choreographed to music a quiet fireworks display can be equally as impressive as it’s noisier counterpart! We have a dedicated wedding fireworks website at . It contains lots of useful information that you need to consider when planning to have a fireworks display at your wedding as well as information on the packages and prices that we offer.

Wedding displays are usually much more personal than large public events. We’ll meet the bride and groom fairly early on and guide them through the process from putting the music together for their display, taking on board any ideas they have for the show or effects that they want to see, right through to firing their display on their big day and seeing their reactions. Here is just some feedback that we’ve recently received;

Feedback 5



Below are just three of the wedding fireworks displays that we have recently provided. The first one for Emily and Fazz used quiet and noisy fireworks but the last two videos were quiet fireworks displays choreographed to music. I’m sure you’ll find that they are equally as impressive as a full on display!

  • Amazing red and silver Fireworks at Leeds Castle classical concert
  • Big Fireworks display exploding over the stage at Leeds Castle concert
  • Pink and gold fireworks exploding in the sky for a classical concert
  • Fireworks being fired to the 1812 Overture at Leeds Castle classical concert
  • The stage, video screens and fireworks for a classical concert
  • View across a large firework shell set-up at Leeds Castle classical concert

Concert at the Castle

Saturday saw Alchemy Fireworks produce 3 magnificent displays to 3 separate pieces of music at the Leeds Castle Classical Concert. This iconic event was held in the most spectacular location and natural amphitheater in front of the beautiful Leeds Castle. The concert not only featured so many popular classics, that audiences have come to associate with the event, but the audience also enjoyed the addition of some of John Williams’ most iconic film themes.

We also had a new host, Aled Jones MBE, who presented this magnificent and memorable concert, the highlight of the Kent event calendar.

The concert celebrated its 38th year with a wonderful programme of music and entertainment from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Rigby. Also performing were, The Definitive Rat Pack; the world’s finest interpreters of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.  Soloists Frances McCafferty and Anthony Flaum and the P&O Ferries Choir also be returned to the stage.  This fantastic night of patriotic flag-waving finished with a spectacular firework finale by Alchemy Fireworks. Firing to live music has its challenges – nothing can be pre-programmed because an orchestra can play the pieces at slightly different speeds to recorded versions. So it’s a case of knowing the music, and the performance of the fireworks, off by heart. Needless to say, we bought a little Alchemy magic to the event and the fireworks were met with rapturous applause and cheers!

Flower Power!

Monday took us to Hampton Court for the RHS Flower Show Gala Preview evening. Our 7th year of firing the display and it was a return to a purely classical mix of music combined with a very closely choreographed show and lighting and projections from STL Production Group. You can read more about this display here.

Funk Soul Brother!

We were delighted to be a part of the Summer Soulstice festival’s 10th anniversary this year. Choreographed to a bespoke mix of music provided by the client the 4500 strong crowd were treated to a closely choreographed display featuring tracks from The Jacksons and Prince.

History repeating……

Big burst of multi coloured fireworks

In Britain, we associate fireworks with Bonfire Night, in France they’re used to celebrate Bastille Day and we all know how much Americans love fireworks to celebrate every occasion, but have you ever wondered how the first firework was created? We all enjoy a good fireworks display; it’s one of the few things in today’s modern world that still has the power to bring us together as a community. Despite most of us thinking that fireworks were invented to celebrate Bonfire Night, their history goes back thousands of years and is far more exciting than you can imagine!

A happy accident

The first mention of a firework comes from China, about 2000 years ago. There’s a legend that a Chinese chef accidentally knocked some saltpetre into a cooking fire, which caused an interesting flame not seen anywhere else, and in an act of pure serendipity, invented the firework. Saltpetre was used as a flavouring salt and is still an ingredient in gun powder. Along with saltpetre, other gunpowder ingredients, such as sulphur and charcoal were commonly found around ancient cooking fires. This mixture of ingredients produced an extremely beautiful flame in a fire and would explode if placed into a bamboo tube.

Between 960 and 1279, in the Song Dynasty in China, exploding firecrackers were produced by Li Tian, a Chinese monk, near the city of Liu Yang in the Hunan Province. They were designed to be detonated at the beginning of the New Year in order to scare away evil spirits, and were made by filling bamboo shoots with gunpowder.

Nowadays we focus on the shapes and colours of being the most important part of a firework, but in medieval China, they focused on the loud noise for early religious fireworks (known as ‘bian pow’ or ‘gung pow’), as this was essential for scaring away the evil spirits.

By the time of the 15th century, fireworks are recorded being used in a wide range of celebrations, including weddings and military victories. Whilst we see the birth of the firework in China, the modern firework that’s we recognise was most likely invented in India or the Middle East.


Gunpowder, also known as black powder, is one of the most important discoveries in human history, changing everything from war to infrastructure. Whilst it can be used as an explosive, it’s far more commonly used as a propellant. Since the 9th Century it was made by mixing saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal; the charcoal often came from the willow tree, but a number of other woods have been used, including:

  • Pine cones
  • Elder
  • Grapevine
  • Laurel
  • Hazel

More recently, sugar has been used as an alternative to charcoal to act as the fuel component in fireworks and other pyrotechnics.

When these ingredients are carefully ground together, a powder called ‘serpentine’ is created. Due to these ingredients needing to be mixed before they’re used, gunpowder was extremely dangerous to make without modern safety measures.

Chinese arrows

As well as using gunpowder as an explosive in their firecrackers, the Chinese utilised gunpowder combustion as a propellant. In 1279, the Chinese used hand-carved wooden rockets, in the shape of dragons, to shoot rocket powered arrows at the Mongol invaders.

Explorers of the time took their knowledge of gunpowder and rocket powered arrows back home with them, with records in the Middle East talking of Chinese arrows as far back as the 7th century.

Along with the crusaders, Marco Polo is widely credited with bringing gunpowder (and fireworks) to Europe in the 13th century.

Newspaper cutting of an historical royal fireworks display on the River Thames in London

Fireworks in Europe

By 1377, fireworks we being used in the bishop’s palace at Vicenza to accompany a religious mystery play. Soon, fireworks were regularly used in the representation of angels or the Holy Spirit, as a way to demonstrate them ascending to Heaven or descending to earth.

A couple of centuries later, the popularity of fireworks had increased exponentially and they were commonly used for both military purposes and in peacetime. Spain and Italy in particular started using firework displays as part of numerous outdoor celebrations. Vannoccio Biringuccio, an Italian metallurgist described the festivities in Florence and Siena for feast days as including whirling, decorated wheels that had been packed with fireworks suspended from ropes as entertainment.

A cause for celebration

Historical black and white picture of a fireworks display

Over time, fireworks were used more often to celebrate great events. From the late part of the 15th century (and even to this day), fireworks at Italy’s Castel Sant’Angelo have been used to celebrate the election of a new pope. Descriptions of the fireworks in the late 15th century stated that the finale of rocket fireworks “Constructed so that after they have moved upwards with a long tail and seem to be finished they burst and each one sends forth anew six or eight rockets”. It was definitely a world changing experience for those who saw it, with the fireworks being compared to the fires of hell or the heavens coming down to earth.

Moving into the 16th century, fireworks were being used for festivals throughout northern Europe with a large variety in the styles of firework display. They were mainly spectacles designed for the nobility and royalty, celebrating their actions and adventure, using elaborate scenery with monsters, castles and a wide range of pyrotechnics.

The coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533 was celebrated with a “great red dragon continually moving and casting forth fire” and a host of “wild men” on barges in the Thames, wielding fire-clubs. Her daughter, Elizabeth I greatly enjoyed firework displays throughout her reign.

In Germany, fireworks were used to create pyrotechnic pantomimes, with giant dragons and fire-spouting whales engaged in mock battles. In France, however, they enjoyed fireworks that resembled stars and the sun, lions to represent the constellation Leo and many other astrological inspired displays.

These magnificent firework displays could cost a fortune to create and were a source of both marvel and terror- for many people firework displays remained a novel experience.

Modern firework displays

The 1800s saw an end to the kind of courtly politics and extravagant displays due to more of a focus on economising pyrotechnic displays, leading to simple displays of coloured light in the 20th century. Today, however, we see fireworks fairly regularly often, so it takes a lot to impress us. Fireworks set to music, designed to create letters, numbers and shapes, as well as lancework and firerope.

At Alchemy Fireworks, our experienced team of pyrotechnic technicians will work with you to ensure you have everything you need for an exceptional firework display. To find out how Alchemy Fireworks can take your display into the next age, call us today on +44 (0)8000 66 58 37 or contact us online.

The Chemistry of How Fireworks Get Their Colour

Fireworks bursting over Christchurch Park in Ipswich as part of a professional display

A traditional part of celebrations around the world, very few things beat an innovative and magnificent fireworks display. Creating fireworks with distinct and bright colours needed for an impressive display relies on precise chemistry and a great application of scientific principles. The points of light projected from fireworks, often known as stars; usually require fuel, a binder to keep everything in the correct place and an oxygen-producer, along with the colour producer to determine the look of the firework.

There are two main ways to produce colour in fireworks, luminescence and incandescence.

Luminescence is light produced through energy sources other than heat, and is sometimes known as ‘cold light’. This is due to luminescence’s ability to occur at room temperature or even cooler temperatures.

Luminescence is produced through energy being absorbed by an electron of a molecule or atom, causing it to be unstable and excited. This energy is released when the electron returns to a lower energy state, releasing in the form of a photon, or light. It’s this photon that determines the colour or wavelength of a firework.

The salts used in the production of luminescent fireworks can be unstable. For example, barium chloride, used in the production of green fireworks, is unstable at room temperature and must be combined with more stable compounds such as chlorinated rubber.

Copper chloride, responsible for blue fireworks, is unstable at higher temperatures, meaning that a blue firework cannot get too hot, despite needing to be bright enough to be seen.

Incandescence refers to light produced from heat. It works by causing a substance to become hot and eventually glow. Initially emitting infra-red light, incandescence soon emits red, orange, yellow and ultimately white light as the temperature increases.

By controlling the temperature of a firework, it’s possible to manipulate the glow of the components to produce the desired colour at the right time. Various metals are useful for creating brightly burning fireworks as they increase the temperature of the firework, such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium.

The quality of firework colours
In order to produce pure colours, at Alchemy Fireworks, we use pure ingredients. Different colours can be overpowered or altered by trace amounts of sodium impurities, resulting in a yellow-orange colour.

We also carefully formulate our fireworks so that the colour of the firework isn’t masked by too much residue or smoke, ensuring a bright and colourful display.


Fireworks bursting over Christchurch Park in Ipswich as part of a professional display

The elements used in creating firework colours:


A common component of sparklers, aluminium is used to produce white and silver sparks and flames.


Antimony is often used to create glitter effects for fireworks.


Barium is involved in the production of green fireworks and can stabilise some other volatile elements involved in fireworks production.


Calcium is regularly used to deepen a variety of different firework colours. Calcium salts are also used to create orange fireworks.


Copper compounds are often used due to their ability to produce blue colours in fireworks.


Lithium is responsible for producing red colours in fireworks. One of the most common fireworks colourants is lithium carbonate.


Magnesium is used to improve the brilliance of a firework or to add white sparks, due to it burning a very bright white.


As well as potentially being a component in the fuel of a firework, phosphorous burns instantly in the air and is used for some glow-in-the-dark effects.


Sodium is used for giving a bright gold or yellow colour to fireworks; however the brightness of the burn can easily overshadow other colours.


Like lithium, strontium is used to produce red colours in fireworks. It’s also important in stabilising a variety of more volatile firework mixtures.


Burnt as either powder or flakes, titanium metal is used to produce silver sparks.


Fireworks display for Madonna's birthday

Why not try creating different coloured flames yourself?

If you want to experience how different chemicals react to heat and create different colours, you can easily make a small campfire and sprinkle chemicals over it.

Not only can you buy specially produced packets of chemicals for colouring flames, you can quite easily make them yourself. If you’re going to cook food on your fire, it’s advisable to do this before you add the chemicals to reduce the risk of contamination. The following chemicals aren’t very toxic, producing no dangerous smoke or harm to the surrounding area.

For white flames, use magnesium sulphate, commonly found in Epsom salt. Yellow flames can be produced from sodium chloride, also known as table salt. If you want to create green flames, use borax- a common ingredient in cockroach powder or the disinfectant, boric acid powder. You can also create green flames through using copper sulphate, or algae treatment.

Copper chloride can be used to create blue flames, and purple flames can be produced through the use of potassium chloride or a salt substitute. If you’d prefer pink flames, lithium chloride or lithium from a battery will work.

Whilst fires tend to be red and orange in colour naturally, to create red flames, you can find strontium nitrate and strontium chloride in emergency road flares. Orange flames can be made incredibly easily using iron oxide, or rust.

A lot of these chemicals can be bought at a supermarket, and the ones you can’t find there are easily available online. You may wish to avoid using sodium chloride for yellow flame. Not only do flames appear yellow, the sodium chloride can easily overpower any other colours you’re trying to make.


At Alchemy Fireworks, we regularly undertake fireworks displays to meet every budget, size, shape and brief. From corporate celebrations to large public Bonfire Night displays, the team at Alchemy Fireworks ensure that your event brings the fun and excitement you want, to your event.

If you’re not sure what you want from your fireworks display, our experienced and professional team are on hand to take you through our winning formula for designing a unique display to amaze and thrill your guests.

Call us now on +44 (0)8000 66 58 37 to discuss your firework display plan and see how we can make your dream a reality.

Rain NEVER stops play!

It may have been wet, wet, wet this weekend but thanks to our expert waterproofing which happens back at Alchemy Fireworks HQ the fireworks stay nice and dry right up until the moment they’re fired. Our displays are pre-waterproofed so the fireworks arrive on site ready for whatever the worst of the British weather can throw at them. And often that means hours, sometimes days, of rain. We invest in good quality waterproofing material ensuring that even in continuous torrential downpours you can rest assured that the show will still go on!

Stormy fireworks

Fireworks rigged and the weather looking gloomy!