Glenmorangie Burns Night Dinner 2010, Whatley Manor
I’ve never been much of a whisky drinker, and I think I’ve only ever had haggis once, so it was good to experience a proper Burns Night, albeit this one was in Wiltshire (at the amazing Whatley Manor) rather than Scotland. The event was organised by Glenmorangie and Alchemy were commissioned to come up with a 5 minute quiet firework display choreographed to music by Scottish performers.
It was a beautiful crisp and clear day – one of those days when it’s a joy to be out in the fresh air doing something you love – and the team of Glenn, Rob and Simon soon had the show rigged and tested, before moving on to set up the PA system (also supplied by Alchemy) and hook up the FireOne digital firing system which was controlling both the music and the fireworks. We take it for granted now but it is an amazing piece of kit, locking the firework cues to the music via timecode and giving the choreography a punchiness of accuracy and rhythm that really does put it in a different league to an old-fashioned manually-fired push-button display… not to mention the real old-school of hand-firing… (i can scarcely believe it but some professional firework companies still hand-fire big shows, although i think that’s due to over-stretching themselves over the Bonfire Night season and not having enough firers and kit to rig everything electrically… rather you than me!)
Nowadays the expectation of firework audiences is heightened by seeing digitally-fired major international displays like London New Year’s Eve (by Groupe F, from France) or the opening of Atlantis in Dubai (by Grucci, from the USA) – remember the big aerial shots of fireworks covering the man-mad “Palm”? So even smaller shows, such as weddings, private parties or smaller corporate events, expect more than they used to – and rightly so. The technology is there, so we use it as much as we can. Digital shows require more time and effort, and digital firing systems reward talented show designers, but we’re also confident that our show design abilities make these endeavours worthwhile… well, let’s put it this way, people seem to say nice things after our shows…
“The display you performed last night was absolutely wonderful and during the course of the evening many of our guests were giving a wonderful feedback…We found the balance of sound and visual attraction of the fireworks extremely well coordinated.” Peter Egli, General Manager, Whatley Manor