Tag Archives: Fireworks

COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018 FIREWORKS

WHAT: COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018
WHY: INTERNATIONAL SPORTING COMPETITION FEATURING FIREWORKS
WHERE: VARIOUS VENUES – AUSTRALIA’S BEAUTIFUL GOLD COAST
WHEN: 4TH TO 15TH APRIL 2018

International sporting events are always of massive interest both to the media and of course the viewing public. The event brings together athletes from nations all under the Commonwealth of Nations.

First held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930, where it included just 6 different sports with 59 disciplines within each sport. Today’s Commonwealth Games has 18 core sports with 275 medals up for grabs. The Commonwealth Games includes both able-bodied and those with disabilities, making it a truly integrated Games.

The Games began in 1930 in Canada and featured representatives from 11 countries at that time. Today, they include 53 members of the Commonwealth of nations, most of which are former territories of the British Empire, established in the 16-18th centuries and it was at the time the largest empire in history.

Today, the members are from the World’s largest and richest to the smallest and poorest countries on the planet.

Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics are a professional firework company display team from Australia. The company produces some of the best firework shows in the World and previous displays for MASSIVE events including Sydney Olympics as well as the Commonwealth Games as well as the massive celebrations for Australia Day. They not only display but actually make the vast majority of their own pyrotechnics as well.

Howard & Sons are 4th generation pyro-technicians and follow in the footsteps of Sydney Howard, great-grandfather to the current owners, who set up the business in 1922 and it has never looked back. In fact, in the early days the team were fortunate enough to fire the displays for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, for the bi-centenary celebrations of Captain Cook landing in Australia and the opening of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Today, the team put on around 600 World Class shows annually but things did not always go to plan as Australia banned the sale of all fireworks at the end of the 70’s and the company, which had been wholly dependent on the retail and wholesale sale of fireworks changed into a display only team and that as they say is history.

As well as the Pyrotechnics and Special Effects in the Opening & Closing Ceremonies, the display team is providing Flames & Co2 Jets for the sports presentations events at Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics, Netball, Rugby 7’s and Athletics.

At the time of writing this piece, England, NI, Scotland, and Wales have picked up a staggering 116 medals across all sports and the Australian team has 109. However, there is still some way to go yet before the finale and closing ceremonies so COME ON ENGLAND!

Whilst the fireworks at the opening ceremony were nothing short of breath-taking, the build-up and other entertainment fell short of expectations. Jack Morton Worldwide, event marketers who are also responsible for the organisation of the London NYE display have advised that there are plans to ‘up their game’ for the closing ceremony adding that there will be more acts involved which will alleviate against being tagged as boring again by the media.

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PGI RETURNS TO MASON CITY, IOWA

WHAT: PGI RETURNS TO MASON CITY, IOWA
WHY: PYROTECHNIC GUILD INTERNATIONAL DISPLAY EVENT – THUNDER AND FIRE
WHERE: NORTH IOWA EVENTS CENTRE, MASON CITY, IOWA
WHEN: SUNDAY 5TH, TUESDAY 7TH AND FRIDAY 1ST AUGUST 2018
COST: VARIES – SEE PGI WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS

This year the Pyrotechnic Guild International will be taking place back in Mason City, North Iowa after a 4-year hiatus.

The event, titled ‘Thunder and Fire’ is there to showcase new products, better and more stringent safety measures and the choreography, science and sheer creativity of the international pyrotechnicians. Around 3000 members of the PGI will be gathered together to share current best practice and catch up with old and new friends in the warmth of the Iowan sunshine as temperatures reach around 80 degrees at this time of the year. The event is family friendly and brings in the region of $2 million into the local economy.

Pyrotechnics Guild International Certificate - Epic Fireworks China Trip 2012

The PGI was established in 1969 and this independent worldwide organization was to create a channel for sharing knowledge and experience and to witness first hand the advances in the industry. They currently have around 3500 members who range from the dedicated pyro enthusiast to those with a passing interest but may have a love of old firework ephemera or indeed, the technical side of firing systems etc.

The guild offers safety and training alongside display operative training days. They also have a charming ‘Help a Pyro’ to assist those who have fallen on hard times, either through financial hardship or indeed a health issue to support them in their time of need. It is odd that in such an incredibly competitive industry that their numbers would offer support so readily.

Pyrotechnics Guild International

Tickets range from around $18-$20 for standard admission but reserved seating is only available for the Friday night show which is around $25-$30. The gates to the event arena are open from around 6pm and there are onsite food and beverage concessions available as well as onsite camping.

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WHAT IS A COMPOUND CAKE OR BARRAGE?

There is little more irritating in life than being the only person who does not know what on earth is being talked about and the pyro industry are past masters at keeping their secrets to themselves. Here at Epic are more in favour of everyone being in the know and as the compound cake is the new ‘thing’ here is a myth-buster about them to address any of those burning questions.

Avalon Compound Cake by Black Cat Fireworks

Essentially, all firework barrages or cakes are created by glueing together roman candle tubes with either same or varying effects into one piece which has been carefully fused to fire the right tube at the right time. Now, although it would be easier to have a hundred little tubes together, since the changes in the legislation on fireworks in Europe, we are now limited to how much net explosive content (the loud bit) we are able to have in any single barrage.

Magic Show Box Compound Firework

Under normal circumstances, this would have left the fireworks in the UK a bit of a damp squib until the compound cake was created to avoid this. The advantage of a compound cake is that you can have varying sized tubes with different bore sizes and stay within the safety regulations. Imagine putting three or four smaller cakes into one which has been pre-fused together, it is a bit like have a cheese sandwich, a slice of ham, a couple of slice of tomato and some onion – all separately they are a decent enough but together, a cheese, ham, tommy and onion toastie; now we are talking!!

The following compound cake contains 188 shots, lasts 2 minutes and 5 seconds and is an absolute beauty:

Global Thunder 188 Shot Compound Cake #EpicFireworks

The compound cake takes all the trouble out of creating a lengthy firing order too when you consider that they generally last anything up to around 2 minutes – if you bear in mind that a 20 minute display would usually have involved lighting in the region of 20 – 30 cakes (and that is only if you go for the big boys) this concept reduces that by a half.

They are, as mentioned, created by glueing and fusing several smaller cakes onto a board. These are all done using delay fuse and for the most part, you will only have to light the one to set the whole kit and caboodle underway. However, as a safety feature, the majority will have a secondary fuse but this should only be lit in the case of a failure to fire – not to be lit at the same time as the main fuse which one customer did and managed to get the whole 2 minute cake airborne in under 30 seconds – he did say however that he thought it was marvellous and laughed when we highlighted that he had essentially pressed ‘fire all’.

Personally, I believe that these are the way forward as the less you are involved in lighting, the better it will be from a safety point of view and with a couple of minutes display from each box, even the firer can watch for a change!

We are bringing in a number of new compound cakes this year so we will keep you updated.

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