The Liverpool Culture Company staged the largest ever firework display in Liverpool to celebrate the Centenary of the City’s famous Anglican Cathedral, described as “One of the greatest buildings In The World” by John Betjeman.

The awesome 20 minute display – designed by Ian Woodroof of Fantastic Fireworks - is the largest fired off a single building so far this year in Europe. It was completely free to anyone within sight of the Cathedral on the Sunday night. The event also broke new technological grounds with the live broadcast of the specially composed soundtrack by Liverpool City Council’s local radio media partner, 96.7 FM Radio City.

This meant the show was enjoyed not just by a traditionally placed audience close to site, but by anyone tuning in to the radio and able to see the Cathedral – with the sonic advantages of no time delays! The innovative staging idea opened the event to a potential audience of hundreds of thousands all around the city, within sightlines of the majestic 300 ft high, 600 ft long, 10,000 square metre Cathedral, sitting proudly on the hill.

Anglican Fireworks was planned and co-ordinated by The Liverpool Culture Company, and the pyro was rigged and run by a Fantastic Fireworks team of 17 experienced firers. It involved the craning of 6 tonnes of materials onto the Cathedral roof on the Friday, over 450 solid person-hours of rigging and preparation and the running of over 4 Km of cables.

The Fantastic team had to deal with the various environmental challenges of working at height on the raked roof; the maze of narrow and labyrinthine access passages throughout the building; the fact that the Church was open to the public during rigging, plus several bell ringing sessions (the highest and heaviest peal in the world) on the Sunday of the show – which marked to the date 100 years on from the laying of the foundation stone by King Edward VII.

The performance included over 35,00 different firework effects, sourced and imported by Fantastic from Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and China plus hundreds of individually timed cues. The show was called by Ian Woodroof and detonated from four synchronised Pyromate remote firing systems, resulting in the Cathedral coming alive with colour, spectacle and emotion for a brief moment in its illustrious history.

The pyro design was careful to compliment rather than overpower the building, and the show consisted of four parts – east roof, west roof, central tower and then the finale, with pyro blasting from all three locations.

Click on any image above to see a larger version

The event was a massive success. Liverpool Culture event manager Eddy Grant comments, “The display was a stunning. The immediate impact was heard from wildly cheering crowds around the Cathedral, a scene echoed right across the city and along the waterfront, as many gatherings were stopped in their tracks by the display. The ‘live’ experience and the resulting media coverage were obvious immediate benefits. Another is the continuing development of the Culture Company’s capacity to deliver large scale events in the City, working with its partners and the people of Liverpool towards the 800th birthday celebrations in 2007, and its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.”.

The Anglican Fireworks event is one of many community events staged in the City of Liverpool over the year, and the latest building in the city to feature in a pyrotechnic spectacular. Others have included the Three Graces, St John’s Beacon, the River Mersey, various parks, the Walker Arts Gallery and Wellington Column.

Above: The Fantastic Fireworks Crew

Many thanks to Louise Stickland for the above press release from the Liverpool Culture Company Events Team and for kindly allowing us to use the above pictures.

UKFR member "RocketRev" - who is indeed a reverend - was there to watch this display and reported back with some pictures.

"The firework display for the centenary of Liverpool Cathedral was very satisfying" reports RocketRev. "Crowds of people gathered down at the Albert & Kings Docks to watch it. It was set to music and I gather that must have been broadcast because some kind person set up their car sound system going full blast so we could all hear the sound track - a nice touch that.

"We had the Beatles, William Tell, the Can Can (from a Cathedral!) and more besides."


Click on any of RocketRev's images above to see a larger version


This feature ©2004 UK Firework Review. All rights reserved.
Press release photos ©2004 Louise Stickland. RocketRev photos ©2004 J Hartley