We were delighted when Mark Harrison and The Full Effect invited Alchemy Fireworks to work with him for the return of the Bedford Proms to its spiritual home in Bedford Park. Not only is the event right on our doorstep in Bedfordshire, but it also gives us the opportunity to work with various other event industry friends with whom we have built relationships over the years, such as Jason Price of JAP Sound and Steve Bell and Wilf Goddard who are Conductor and Manager respectively of the London Gala Orchestra. It also introduced us to singer and radio presenter Aled Jones, who we would also see the following week at Leeds Opera in the Park.
Like most outdoor classical firework concerts, the Bedford Proms takes place on a Saturday night. No problem for us. We gave up having a summer social life years ago. But if you’re Aled Jones and you have to get up before the crack of dawn to present your early Sunday morning radio show then you could be forgiven for wanting to get away from your Saturday night engagements as quickly as possible. The difficulty with Bedford Park is that the only vehicle exit from the backstage area runs through the firework display firing site, all of which meant that Aled had approximately 30 seconds to take his bow, skip off-stage, put on his helmet, jump onto the back of the motorbike waiting to take him home (we presume) and get safely through the firing area before we started our firework display. Conductor and Compere Steve Bell helped him out a little by talking to the audience between tracks, but I could still see the bike slipping through the gate and away from the rows of shells as the first of three big hits of mines went up to mark the start of O Fortuna. After that moto-excitement had got the adrenaline pumping we fired three spectacular sequences to tracks by Orff, Paul McCartney and Goodwin, all of which finished bang in time with the orchestra. The result? A thrilled audience and client. A safe Radio 2 DJ. A relieved senior firer.