Stanford Hall in Lutterworth was the place to be over the weekend, 1st August, as the second event in MLE Pyrotechnics Firework Champions series filled the skies over this absolutely stunning setting.
The format of the competition takes three of the UK’s best pyro teams, responsible for all the massive corporate, business and private displays up and down the country, and pits them against each other to fire the in the most beautiful settings in the country. The venue this week was the absolutely stunning 17th century Stanford Hall, which has been home to the Cave family and their ancestors, was constructed on the site where the old Manor House was in 1430.
There were three teams competing in the following order:
Team 1 – 9.30pm – Blitz Fireworks
This display was excellent throughout with split second timing and it all kicked off with refreshingly different music. Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ certainly got the crowd dancing in their seats and frankly, the track was made for fireworks, especially on the chorus when the bursts were ‘on it!’
The second track was the brilliant Meghan Trainor’s ‘Lips are Moving’ with some really pretty colours and effects but a bit quieter. I have to say that the oranges ambers and reds were exceptionally bright and clean.
Track 3 was an absolute club classic Darude with ‘Sandstorm’ and the musical interpretation was absolutely spot on – favourites are the flying fish and the finale music was Protectors of the Earth’s ‘Two Steps from Hell’. A beautiful piece which was very evocative and will give the judges pause for thought but being honest, this display was going to take some beating. Great display packed with beautiful effects and colours and no issues apparent.
Team 2 – 9.45pm – Phenomenal Fireworks
The waltzing tune of ‘The Blue Danube’ by Strauss kicked off Phenomenal’s display. The slices were absolutely beautiful and the fireworks were precisely timed to the beat with an excellent array of colours and effects and some lovely musical interpretations.
Next up, Offenbach’s ‘Recuerde 2’ (aka can-can music) featuring the colours associated with the Folies Bergere with a sky full of shells and effects. The fast firing multi coloured tipped fanned pieces were wonderful. Then, like Blitz, they upped the tempo with Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. Whilst a great show, it didn’t have the same impact as the Blitz team but lovely nonetheless.
The finale was to music from Dream Chasers, Future World Music which whilst stunning was a little repetitive with a glut of the criss-cross slices with glittering tailed comets with red tips, but a great effort (I think there must be a couple of container loads of these bad boys as EVERY pro display just lately has them in).
Team 3 – 10:00pm – Spitfire Pyrotechnics
The first track was ‘Shake Senora’ by Harry Belafonte and there appeared to be an issue at the beginning with some dark sky moments but it was refreshingly different with some very high bursting shells. A little haphazard at times for my taste (but, I am a little picky when it comes to symmetry) but that said, great interpretation of the music.
The second track was Rossini’s catchy ‘Barber of Seville’ and the lancework in the centre of the display made a nice change. Being a track I would describe as a drinking song it is definitely upbeat and catchy but again the effects were disjointed and non symmetrical. The timing though was AWESOME and they included more of the tailed comets with the red tips here too (there must be a lot of these in the UK at the moment as they appeared in all three displays and the finale!) it overran a couple of seconds, probably down to the timing issues at the start but onto the finale to the sound of ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ by Grieg. Now this music is most commonly used during the ballet for Peer Gynt and in my opinion lent itself perfectly to the cadence of the fireworks filling the skies overhead. Definitely evocative of the dance and a beautiful build up to the crescendo of a finale which left the gathered crowds cheering.
Whilst the votes were cast and counted, the organisers of the event, the brilliant MLE Pyrotechnics took centre stage with their non competing display.
The first track used was Nothing Else Matters by Metallica and the timing was bang on with some MASSIVE shell bursts and really symmetrical. The ground work was absolutely awesome and the brilliance of the yellows and oranges was exceptional so they were off to a great start with the bright flashing red strobes – all perfectly timed and a huge expanse of effects filling the sky with incredible hang time.
The second track was ‘See you again’ by Wiz Khalifa which from the outset was very emotionally charged as there was a flash on each of the notes played on the introduction. A number of THE most beautiful double break shells with coloured stars and then a central glittering palm burst – OMG these are lush.
The last 30-seconds was just mayhem with super loud, super bright and highly colourful pieces filling the sky with effects – Lovely – All a very fitting tribute to Andy Lawrence (dad to Matt) who sadly passed away in May.
I caught a video filmed from some way from the venue which showed just the finale of each – the sound was simply what was carried on the wind but the Blitz fireworks display was clearly the more symmetrical but the MLE closing display was INCREDIBLY LOUD even from there.
If you want to experience this event first hand, get along to Belvoir Castle on 8th August 2015.