Clevedon on the Bristol Channel coast provided a majestic venue
for this display, with Firemagic choosing nothing less than
the pier itself as their pyro-stage. "The aim of the display
was to offer our clients an insight into the type of shows that
we stage and the quality of the stock that we are currently
using," said Andrew Collins, senior partner of Firemagic.
"Firemagic wasn't paid to stage the display, but offered
it as a present to the people of Clevedon as a late Millennium
The pier itself partially collapsed in 1970 and although rebuilt
must have provided quite a challenge to the firing team. "Due
to the length of the pier, and the age, there were many things
that had to be taken into account," said Andrew. "The
whole of the structure is made up from steel and cast iron arches
with a wooden decking to walk down. When we test fired on the
structure some time ago we were very aware that the pier vibrates
even when a small 75mm shell was fired. This not only caused
the racks to bounce down the pier but we had to be careful that
we didn't set up a resonance effect that could cause the structure
to collapse. While it was possible to drive a van down the pier
when dry, with the rain the boards start to swell and an increase
in weight can cause them to split and the van drop into the
||The pier as the sun sets. Note the anvil shaped thundercloud
in the background, I'm afraid it started to pour down during
||The Clevedon sea front.
||The crowd gathers expectantly, swelling later to an estimated
You'd think an ageing pier would curtail a display of this
size, but Firemagic employed some ingenious planning to utilise
the whole length, firing from multiple points. "The whole
show was fired using our Radio Frequency system and around 400
Bickford Ignitors," said Andrew. "This system allowed
us to pulse between seven points on the pier, building a show
over the 800yd distance. While we had some 4000 firing cues
available on the system, we fired the whole show using less
||The view down the pier showing the multiple firing points.
||A closer view.
||And even closer!
||The crew make final preparations.
"The show itself involved in excess of 1200 mortar shells
ranging from 65mm through to 350mm in calibre," said Andrew.
"The finale alone incorporated around 600 brocade shells
from 65mm to 350mm along the full length. In addition we had
a range of comet and bombette candles from 30mm to 60mm and
mines from 75mm through to 200mm, as well as numerous barrages
and cakes." And it shows as these pictures prove. The mine
sections in particular were a brilliant use of the pier's length.
UKFR reporter Tony Webster was on hand to see the display from
the seafront, a suitably safe distance away in case the 1200
mortar shells reduced the pier to flotsam and jetsam. "It
was dry all night until half an hour before the display then
for the entire duration it threw it down," said Tony. "My
main priority was to keep both cameras dry. There was quite
a large crowd there especially considering the weather and I
wanted to avoid all the people and umbrellas and managed to
film from a boat launching ramp leading down to the sea.
"It did occur to me that where I was standing there were
not many people around me and then it hit me like a thunderbolt.
I was surrounded by seaweed! The tide might come in half way
through filming! So I had one eye on my camcorder, one eye on
my digital camera and both on the incoming tide and the four
foot drop on either side of the ramp. I also had someone hold
an umbrella over my head during the whole display to keep everything
dry including the cameras."
Thanks to Tony's brave filming in the face of possible drowning
we have some great pictures and around 20 Mb of Windows Media
clips for your enjoyment, including an 8 minute clip of the
main part of the display.
"The show itself was a success despite the bad weather,
and with media coverage we were pleased to attract an estimated
audience of over 20,000 people," said Andrew of Firemagic.
"We would like to thank Clevedon Pier and the Local
Round Table for their support in the event, as well as our display
team of eight people who set the show up in 10 hours and in
the worst rain we have seen since last Bonfire Night."
||[8 pictures] Multiple mines fire along the whole pier,
here captured in eight successive action shots leading from
mines to shell breaks. If you thought the pier's shape (long
and narrow) would hinder the visual impact, think again.
||[3 pictures] A spectacular shell break captured in three
||[2 pictures] Two star-only pictures of the changing colour
breaks from purple to red.
||[3 pictures] From darkness to a sky-full of pyrotechnics,
here multiple mines fire, leading into a barrage of shell
||[3 pictures] Expanding flat ring breaks are quite common
now in major displays but here we see a double-ring effect
in three sequential shots. Yummy!
||[3 pictures] Aside from colours and special effects there
were some fantastic gold and silver effects. Here we see
shells breaking to multiple gold/silver comets.
||[7 pictures] Check out this amazing break of multiple
mines to various stars, comets and colours over seven rapid-fire
||[3 pictures] These were interesting shells with an outer
red star ring break, and an inner break of gold/silver comets.
||[2 pictures] Of course you cannot beat the traditional
spherical starburst effect, here shown in two pictures.
||[6 pictures] Multiple shells are launched together along
the length of the pier, each exploding with a dual ring
and comet effect as shown in these six amazing fast action
||Night turns to day over the pier in this larger, longer
||More shell breaks.
||The static shots of the finale just do not do it justice.
The whole space above the pier was saturated in persistent
gold glitter that burned through the cool coastal air...
what an amazing end to a wonderful display, created with
around 600 brocade shells. And to think this was all staged
through pouring rain - well done Firemagic!
ABOUT FIREMAGIC FIREWORKS
"Firemagic specialises in firing large displays from any
location, including awkward sites such as cranes, buildings,
and pontoons etc." said Andrew and he's not joking, if
you can fire from an ageing pier in torrential rain you could
probably cope with just about any kind of venue. "Using
our firing system we are able to choreograph large-scale displays
over a massive distance (20 separate firing locations over 2
Miles). We cater for all sizes of shows from small weddings
through to private parties, corporate events, as well as festivals
and traditional bonfire night shows."
You can contact Firemagic by calling (01934) 750955, or writing
to Firemagic Fireworks, 4 The Homestead, Clevedon, North Somerset,
Pictures and video courtesy
Tony Webster. All pictures and content including logos and background
©1999-2001 UK Firework Review. Duplication of any content
by any means for any reason prohibited. All rights reserved.
All trademarks acknowledged.