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Last weekend saw the final UK based competition of 2019 (Blackpool is a World Competition) get underway in what can only be described as poor condition.

On Friday, teams representing Phoenix Fireworks and Illusion Fireworks set up but the weather was dreadful with ever-changing wind direction, so it was deemed unsafe to fire.

This decision hit home as Illusion had planned a special shell launch in memory of firework enthusiast Wilf Scott who sadly passed away earlier this year.

The result was that they offered both teams the opportunity to fire on Saturday or Sunday, but unfortunately, Illusion Fireworks had other commitments, so Phoenix was added to the revised firing schedule for Saturday. The spectators got a true treat with 4 spectacular displays:

7.45pm - Phoenix Fireworks
8.15pm - Magic and Miracle
8.45pm - G2 Fireworks
9.15pm - Distant Thunder Fireworks

First up, Phoenix Fireworks. The opening sequence appeared to have an issue as only one side was firing, but once it got going, it was lovely. A couple of dark sky moments (totally out of character for this exceptional pro team) but there were some flashes of brilliance too – I particularly loved the multi-coloured peonies which were gorgeous. Well done team Phoenix.

Next were Magic and Miracle. Winners last year at Firework Champions at Arley Hall where they produced a spectacular show, great things were expected, and the crowds were not disappointed. There was a peony shell breaking into strobing glitter which was absolutely astonishing to see. A couple of lengthy pregnant pauses but some of the combinations really lit up the sky and the ground effects were outstanding with a very pretty finale. A lovely display well received by the crowds.

Third, to fire, G2 Fireworks who put up a strong fight with some outstanding shell work and I have to say, the strobing glitter horsetails were beautiful. The shell with the white-tipped glitter and a bright blue pistil centre were awesome. A great mix of diverse music including a bhangra mix which certainly got the crowd’s attention. The choreography to the music was nothing short of brilliant.

The final competitors on Saturday evening were Distant Thunder Fireworks. The brilliant opening sequence with a central full-width spread fanned effect bouquet that was absolutely stunning. There was a bit of random firing on the right side, in the midst of the silver and blue sequence, with a sudden burst of pink/gold. The z-firing fanned set was beautiful with lots of colour, particularly in the Mary Poppins section. More of the colour changing horsetail breaks and some of my favourite ones which look like giant jellyfish (not a scooby what they are called) which are always a winner in my book. One of the shells launched by the team was in memory of Pete Thorley, a pyrotechnician close to the hearts of many of those in attendance at Southport. Their finale was something else … just WOW.

Onto Sunday and there were three more displays to see – the first two competitive and the finale was a display from Illusion who had managed to get a team together to fire the dedication display.

First to fire; Pyro 2000. The opening sequence, including some INCREDIBLE crossettes was, in my opinion, one of the most colourful displays of the weekend. But, the finale was a little lacklustre and there didn’t appear to be much ‘form’ to it. Nice job.

Last of the competing teams: 1st Galaxy Fireworks. They started with a very emotional opening set with very rich deep colours and the perfectly spherical shell breaks were outstanding – over in Japan the crowd would have been cheering loudly as when a shell breaks so well, it is said to signify excellence and it is a true indication of the love and care taken by the creators. There were some lovely titanium flashes and excellently choreographed to a fabulous selection of music – There was a hell of a lot of pyro involved in this display.

Finally, the closing exhibition display by Illusion Fireworks. Winners last year at Southport, Karl and his team of professionals designed a very special show for much-loved judge Wilf Scott who passed away earlier this year. As mentioned earlier, it was meant to take place on Friday, but the weather conditions made it unsafe to proceed. I have to say it was a very beautiful tribute to one of the characters of the pyro world and he would have been blown away by the breaks on a beautiful specially designed shell that was choreographed to Wilf’s favourite piece of music; Handle’s Zadok the Priest. Wilf was a traditionalist and especially liked silver and gold combinations with little colour, so the team tried to adhere to that as much as possible.

The results were:

  2. PYRO 2000

Great job in some really challenging weather conditions and our congratulations to the winners and the teams who took part in this iconic competition.

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