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Sail Royal Greenwich

We have fired a number of stunning displays for Sail Royal Greenwich and the Royal Borough of Greenwich since 2012 and 2017 was no exception. Four displays were booked on the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights as a fitting finale to an evening Sail along the River Thames. Firing on the river presents it’s own set of challenges. Booking a barge or firing platform large enough to fit a fireworks display onto, arranging for a tug to tow it and hold it in the correct position when the display is fired, a safety boat (just in case!) and also liaising with the Port of London Authority who police the river and provide information to other river users that the display is going ahead.

We were booked for three shows in Greenwich moored close to the Old Royal Naval College and one night in Woolwich just outside the Woolwich Arsenal. The three Greenwich shows were not to music but the final display in Woolwich was closely choreographed to a mixture of classical music and film scores suitable for the large family audience which had assembled along the riverbank to watch. The Tall Ships began arriving back with more spectators on board and eager to see the show and they created a beautiful backdrop to the fireworks with the shell bursts visible through the lines of the sails. David Tyrrell from the Woodford and Wanstead photographic Society managed to capture the featured photograph which we feel is one of the best fireworks photo’s we’ve had taken – well done David!

Everyone was treated to a magnificent aerial display of fireworks lasting 8 minutes with a befitting red, white and blue finale!

 

 

 

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Festival of Fireworks

The Festival of Fireworks held in the grounds of the stunning Catton Hall in Derbyshire is an annual event. Four teams are invited to take part to provide a display, choreographed to music and with a duration of 10 minutes. The event is a little different to other fireworks festivals because this one isn’t a competition as such – although everyone goes there with the full intent of putting on the best display they can on the night! There’s a great atmosphere and lots of camaraderie between the teams and it’s always very interesting (for us at least) to see how other pro companies approach a big display like this.

We had last taken part at the Festival in 2011 and were chomping at the bit to go back again! The Alchemy Team was pretty large with everyone wanting to be a part of what promised to be a special display. We arrived at around midday on the Friday with the displays all due to take place on the Saturday evening. With poor weather forecast for the Saturday daytime we were keen to get as much done as possible on the Friday whilst the weather was fine and dry. And with full credit to the team, apart from a few electrics and bits that we didn’t want to be left out overnight, we were done and dusted by around 8pm that evening! It was a good job really because, as forecast, the rain came early on the Saturday morning and stayed around for the majority of the day! Thankfully, by the time the audience began to arrive it stopped raining and the skies began to clear.

At around 7pm whilst it was still daylight the audience were treated to a daylight fireworks display consisting of beautiful coloured smoke trails and a myriad of noise effects. The majority of the public probably aren’t aware that fireworks can be just as impressive in the day but our previous shows at Leeds Castle and for Middlesbrough Mela show that they really are!

As darkness fell, the first company fired their display and then it was our turn. We had been testing all afternoon so were confident of a flawless performance and boy did we deliver! Nearly 1300 cues in 10 minutes lit up the skies over Catton Hall as the audience were treated to a pyrotechnics masterclass. Using a full array of material from China, the UK and Spain we used some brand new effects called ‘Ultra Fast Comets’ which were just ideal for hitting some of the faster sections of the music. Our show was extremely well received by both the public and pro companies alike. Some of the feedback on one of the forums can be seen here:

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We had two videos produced on the night to showcase the level of choreography accuracy that we work towards. You can view those here:

 

 

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RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

This was our 7th successive year of firing the RHS Hampton Court Gala Preview evening fireworks. Working closely alongside the RHS team to produce the soundtrack we were then tasked with designing a fitting display not just for the music but also for the venue. Firing close to an historic building such as Hampton Court requires careful consideration in material choice and positioning. 5 back positions for larger calibre material combined with 5 front positions spread over a frontage of 60 metres allowed us to create some stunning chase sequences whilst aerial shells were pumped over the top for extra impact. The result was a magnificent, very closely choreographed show which showcased a huge range of material.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Isle Of Bute

One of the best things about this job is that you go to some amazing places that otherwise you probably would never go to – and the Isle of Bute is one of the places. Absolutely stunning scenery all around and this display was fired at Mount Stuart – an astounding Victorian Gothic mansion.

There were the obligatory hoops that we needed to go through to get the fireworks onto the island. But with an amount of preparatory work done at HQ before we arrived, the ferry company knew to expect us and we had all the paperwork in hand ready for the crossing. Of course, fireworks couldn’t go on the normal passenger ferry. Instead, a further two hour drive from the passenger ferry terminal around the beautiful Scottish coastline took us to the terminal that could accept dangerous goods. A short 5 minute crossing and we were safe and sound on the Isle of Bute.

We had allowed a day for the crossing and a day for rigging the display. The day of the crossing was warm and bright but the forecast for the day of the display was, you guessed it, heavy rain. To be fair, the rain did hold off until much later in the day once we had the show rigged and fully waterproofed. And it did only rain for an hour (Met Office got it wrong again!). The skies cleared for the display and the wedding guests were treated to an awesome spectacle, beautifully choreographed to a Scottish themed mix of music – well, what else?!

Here’s the video featuring DRONE FOOTAGE, what do you think?

And here’s the rest:

 

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Haverhill Town Council

I kind of feel like I’ve grown up with this client! I’ve known Nick Keeble from Haverhill Town council now since 1995 which was the first year I designed and fired their fireworks display. Things have moved on a bit since then. Back in 1995 I was 22, the display was fired with push buttons and had approx 60 cues and, in the days before Health and Safety, we were firing 5” and 6” shells from the recreation ground!

Fast forward 20 years and I have a few more grey hairs, the display is digitally fired with approx 500 cues and there isn’t a shell in sight! BUT, and it is a big but, this fireworks show really goes to prove that you don’t always need shells to create that WOW factor. With great music choices and innovative and clever use of material we can create the most stunning of professional fireworks displays. As an additional element of surprise we bring some close proximity effects within 8 metres of the audience to make it up close and personal.

 

A video of this display can be viewed here:

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Great North Run 2014

The Great North Run Millionth Runner celebrations in September 2014. A moment that Alchemy Fireworks can be proud of. It was a mammoth task – both physically and logistically. The brief: to fire from 8 separate locations PLUS a moving vessel on the River Tyne AND an 18 metre tall figure of a running woman ablaze as she runs along the river! Errrmmm, OK!

Our runner had fully functioning legs of fire to carry her through the finish line under the bridge!

10 guys and 4 days later we had the show rigged. Tyne Bridge (including both turrets), Millennium Bridge (both sides), the car park behind the Sage, the swing bridge and it’s platform, a 400m wide frontage along the road that runs in front of the Sage as well as the running woman and a river going vessel were laden with fireworks and ready to fire. The entire performance lasted an hour and Alchemy Fireworks would produce fireworks and special effects at key moments throughout that hour all choreographed to composer Dan Jones’ stunning music especially written for the ceremony. The finale was the 18m tall flaming runner heading towards the Tyne Bridge with sweeps of single shot comets beckoning her towards the finish line. It really was an amazing sight and one that we will never forget.

The River, The River, The River’s on Fire!

I have been asked many times since how we did it. The answer? Great product, perfect spacing and positioning of the material, clever technology and some blood, sweat and tears! Was it worth it?

Take a look at the video and see for yourself…

 

 

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Neasden Temple Diwali 2015

Neasden Temple Diwali 2015

The organisers originally approached us after seeing our work at another show and were mightily impressed with the sympathetic use of material to the music and also the detail of design and impeccable choreography. The trouble was that when we first produced this show for them in 2013 the bulk of the crowd watched from the Temple some 200 metres away and obscured by buildings and trees!

Evidently a closely choreographed show using single shots would be lost and would have little impact so the show mainly consisted of aerial shells. Over the years the organisers have worked hard to encourage the crowd to come down to the park to watch and this year saw a record turn-out. They were treated to some beautifully choreographed moments combined with a stunning aerial show for those that still wished to watch from the Temple, all expertly choreographed to their special soundtrack. We also used some rarely seen Spanish material in pastel shades. The photographer, Manish, has a unique take on fireworks photography and produced these most gorgeous photos of our display using some very creative techniques.

 

 

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RHS Gala Preview Fireworks 2015

We love working with the events team at RHS. We’ve known them for many years and always produce a great show for them. But for their 25th year at Hampton Court they wanted something different – something special. What could we do that hadn’t been done before – something that people would remember? Just under a year before the display we met to discuss potential ideas and it was at this meeting that I came up with the idea of producing a big ‘25’ in the sky using single shot roman candles. Of course, they fell in love with the idea. All I needed to do was make it happen! As luck would have it I knew of someone that had produced a 5,4,3,2,1 countdown. A few calls later and we had ourselves a ‘25’!

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On the day we were blessed with warm sunshine and calm conditions. The display fired beautifully and there was an audible gasp from the audience when the first ‘25’ went up. In hindsight, I am so pleased that we did it twice so that those who missed it the first time got to witness it on its second firing.

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Red, Orange and White reflected

I have been asked many times since how we did it. The answer? Great product, perfect spacing and positioning of the material, clever technology and some blood, sweat and tears! Was it worth it?

Take a look at the video and see for yourself…

 

 

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

11th Ipswich Scout Group 2015

This display is one of the largest in the South East of England and this was the 2nd year that Alchemy had been awarded the contract to fire the show. It’s a display with heritage – over 40 years it’s been running and, before Alchemy came on the scene, the previous company had fired the display for over 30 years! It was our hard work and unrivalled reputation on other Ipswich displays that won us the contract and boy do we love this show!

 

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A huge crowd are treated to a 20 minute spectacular array of fireworks, lighting and special effects all choreographed to a spooky soundtrack. Tension builds leading up to the display with blood curdling screams and ghoulish sounds emanating from within the trees around the park. The display itself has a ‘drive-in-movie’ feel with a very wide frontage of effects and steep angles with huge aerial shells bursting over the top. The weather conditions in 2015 weren’t ideal with it being mild, damp and literally not a breath of wind. Unfortunately this led to smoke build up during the show. But, quick thinking and using the potential of our firing system which locks the music and fireworks together and controls both, we were able to pause the show, wait for the smoke to clear and then re-start in absolutely perfect synchronicity! The photographer, Kevin Handley, actually had the perfect spot behind the display and was far less affected by the smoky conditions as you can see by his exquisite photographs.

 

 

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Middlesborough Mela Festival

Alchemy Fireworks produced this colourful professional daylight fireworks display as the finale to Middlesbrough Mela. Working from the top level of a shopping centre car park with very little room for error meant that we had to choose the right material for the job whilst still having an impact in the daylight. The display was the finale for the celebrations on a Sunday afternoon so was fired at around 6pm. We worked closely with the organisers to produce a suitable soundtrack for the display and from that produced a very closely choreographed display which was digitally fired using a timecode track. This was the result!

 

 

 

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