Tag Archives: Fireworks

SOUTHPORT BRITISH MUSICAL FIREWORK CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018

WHAT: 2018 BRITISH MUSICAL FIREWORKS CHAMPIONSHIPS
WHERE: SOUTHPORT
VENUE: VICTORIA PARK
WHEN: 28th – 30th SEPTEMBER 2018 (THREE NIGHT EVENT)

I know that it is some time to go until we start thinking about Bonfire Night just yet but there is always time to check in what is to come for the following year, especially for those who live with pyro running through your veins.

The event brings together teams of professional display specialists in a battle to see who will be awarded the trophy for the best of the bunch.

Three nights of beautiful sky thrilling pyrotechnics over which they will fire an average of 10 tonnes of fireworks with a net explosive content of around 2 tonnes and the wiring of around 5 kilometres set up by 15 pyrotechnicians and associate assistants. The displays will have a wide range of effects including lasers, lancework and of course some ground and aerial effects set to thrill. Each team is tasked with creating a display lasting around 16-18 minutes perfectly choreographed to music.

The judging is carried out by professionals who have all served their time in the industry in both the display and planning and implementation stages so they know a thing or two about display
fireworks. In their ranks there have created displays for Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart and Queen so not too shabby.

The 2017 event was a ‘Champion of Champions’ event which was out of this world. The eventual winner, by just one point, was Sirotechnics, under the watchful eye of creator of the company, Simon Harding. The team were second to fire on the Saturday 29 th September 2017 and it was BANGING DOWN!! Yet, despite the dreadful weather conditions, the crowd got behind all the competitors. Sirotechnics display was awesome with absolute crisp and clear colours and the strobing titanium salutes were jaw-dropping. Every effect and a huge range of colour was packed into this display of pyrotechnic art and the pyro used was class itself with perfectly spherical shell breaks – a very well deserved if close win. The second place team, Allstar Fireworks really did start the evening off with a bang and really set the bar high but the winner was indeed cleaner, crisper and the choreography and musical interpretation was clean from both competitors but Simon always brings something that bit unusual to the table.

The seaside town of Southport is quite lovely with an ‘Olde Worlde’ charm about it that feels like some of it is a throwback to Victorian times. With the canopied boulevard on Lord Street which offers a certain gentile elegance lacking in some coastal resorts today, there is lots to do and see and of course eat and having tucked into more than one or two meals in some of the most beautiful dinky restaurants and café’s on offer personally you can be assured the food is superb.

You can take a stroll along Crosby Beach and see the world renowned 100 life sized statues created by artist Antony Gormley titled ‘Another Place’ which look out to see in silent anticipation.
Although, some have been ‘decorated’ with colourful clothes by and unknown artist (for want of a better word – lazy vandal would be more my choice of description) it is still worth a look.

Fix these dates in your calendar and get your tickets arranged but remember, the weather at the end of September can be lovely and conversely can be a horrid wet mess so be prepared.

DASHUHUA – FIREWORKS WITH MOLTEN IRON

In the ancient town of NuanQuan just west of Beijing the Dashuhua tree flower festival is held to mark the final day of the Chinese lunar new year festivities. The locals pride themselves on celebrating this differently to the traditional fireworks in a unique display including molten iron.

History into the performance goes back over 500 years ago when blacksmiths stores were all around the village in the farming town of NuanQuan. The town was poor and only the wealthy could afford put on a big firework display at the end of the lantern festival to mark not only the end of the celebration but also make sure that any of the demons that may be on the way to village were scared off by the fireworks, so no harm would come to the towns and locals that year.

The blacksmiths were inspired by the sparks that were created in their iron working so much that they decided to try something different to create the fireworks. They soon figured out that by splashing molten metal onto the walls of the city gates, this created bright flower shapes like the firework effect and from then the poor man’s firework was born. As the years went by the molten iron fireworks known as the Dashuhua performances in NuanQuan have grown and grown more popular and have overtaken the original fireworks display themselves, locals donate any scrap metal that they have gathered and saved over the year to the blacksmiths, so they can have the yearly performance in the town.

With different metals, the performers can now produce different colours other than the red that was given off by the burning of the iron that was first used many years ago. Aluminium and copper now give off green and white coloured flowers capture the audience’s attention and give off a bolder and brighter display.

A small team of farmers take part in the performance with no more than sheepskin coats, goggles, fireproof shoes and straw hats take to the stage set at the city gates to give the locals and tourists a performance of a lifetime. The wooden ladles that are used for throwing the molten metals are soaked in water for 3 days before to prevent combusting on impact. the temperature of the molten can reach up to 1,600 degrees Celsius (2,912 degrees Fahrenheit).

One of the four artists to do this dangerous performance is a local man named Wang De he first witnessed a performance during the spring festival, he now farms by daytime and then performs at night. He has become a bit of a celebrity amongst the visitors as they ask for photographs and even had a documentary made about what he does. He found out not long after taking the role as a performer that it had been in three generations of his family been passed down from father to son. Putting his life on the line with every performance he bears the scars from the molten iron all over his body. This is not only this been a game for the brave, but you need professional skills and physical strength and courage. with the danger included, not many want to learn the skill but now the government has focused more on protecting the cultural heritage the Dashuhua will not die out.

See below some of the fantastic displays that have been captured over the years of this fantastic but dangerous performance.

HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL 2018

WHAT: HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL 2018
WHY: ICE/SNOW SCULPTURE FESTIVAL
WHERE: HARBIN, CHINA
WHEN: OPEN NOW BUT OFFICIAL DATE IS 5TH JANUARY 2018

2018 marks the 34th annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China’s Heilongjiang Province and it continues to get bigger and better year on year as the best in the world in the fascinating art of Ice and Snow sculpture, get to display their wares.

5th January sees the official opening event and you can expect to see the beautiful fireworks breaking over the illuminated Ice City which is a stunning sight to see. Being in China of course, the pyro is absolutely outstanding and again continues to thrill young and old alike.

The ‘theme’ this year is ‘Ice Snow Blooming Garden, Fantastic World’ which will feature live theatrical performances, ice and snow amusement world and of course FIREWORKS.

Fireworks in Harbin (哈尔滨)

The sculptures represent everything from architectural wonders both from China and the rest of the World to whimsical snow fairies and snow maidens, dragons and all manner of other animals.

The people of Harbin are a hardy lot but given that they are only 200km from the Arctic Circle, it is no surprise that the temperatures in the winter here drop to -30 degrees centigrade but at the moment, it is a clement -21 degrees (lol).

The original Snow and Ice Festival began in 1963 and has continued to grow in both size and popularity ever since. The ice blocks are cut in chunks from the Songhua River and around 180,00 cubic meters of it are used to create ice castles and even the Kremlin to exacting detail.

The event which pulls in 1 million visitors annually is not for the feint hearted nor indeed for anyone with an aversion to the colder temperatures but this enchanting event is firmly on my bucket list.

Opening tomorrow evening with a huge parade followed by fireworks here is a look at last year’s event.