Each year the UK's top firework companies exhibit at the Spring
Fair in Birmingham's NEC. UKFR reporter Julian Hartley went along
to this trade-only event to find out their latest news and product
launches. Whether you're a seasonal shop or an all-year stockist,
and whether you're looking for a profitable brand to partner with
or new ideas to attract customers, the companies featured here
Boom Time Fireworks is a new brand. It launched
in 2005 and was being exhibited at the Spring Fair for the first
time in 2006. It has a young and enthusiastic team running the
company bringing prior experience in the firework industry to
bear in this new venture. The team has deliberately limited the
number of items in Boom Time's range. That, they say, is because
feedback suggested that big ranges were felt to be too much to
take in, work with and choose from.
The team members are looking to concentrate on and develop what
they've seen and know to be good. Feedback is judged to be important
and looking at UKFR reviews has been informative! When putting
the range together an emphasis was placed on colour rather than
noise. Even more low noise cakes are being planned for next year's
The range starts with two selection boxes of garden fireworks
with £5.99 and £9.99 RRPs then goes up through a series
of display firework selection boxes and barrage packs. The Battle
Of Stalingrad pack in the photograph below is the biggest of these,
with 14 cakes (including a fan cake) for a £99.99 RRP. The
Dawn Of The Droids pack of 5 x 18 shot cakes has a £9.99
RRP and comes supplied to the trade in outers of twelve packs.
- Click on any smaller picture to enlarge
Individual cakes start at £5.99 for a 100 shot cake of
the "pen lid firing" variety and goes up through the
brand's namesake - the 32 shot £29.99 Boom Time - to Hercules
with 60 shots and The Beast with 200 shots and both at £74.99.
There are no individual rockets - all the rockets are in packs.
These run from the five for £5 Category 2 (garden firework)
Sonic Bursts on up to four larger sized rockets for £24.99
(these are Offensive by name, hopefully not offensive by nature!)
And a mixed size rocket pack with nine rockets for £39.99.
To give an idea of size, the Twirling Thunder Wheel in one of
the photographs is 400mm in diameter. It's driven by 20 motors
and has a £19.99 RRP.
CONTACT: 01842 890 627 Web: www.boomtimefireworks.co.uk
Bulldog Fireworks is based in Lancashire and over the years has
become well established. The company is a member of the Explosives
Industry Group and also of the CBI.
The most distinctive feature of Bulldog's range is Barney's Big
Crate with its black wrappered fireworks in a wooden crate. This
style of package is said to be a Bulldog innovation and one that
has proven to be successful. The Big Crate has a £499.99 RRP price
tag. There is also Barney's Pup Crate at £124.99. In the light
of the new regulations, the crate contents have had to be adjusted
There is a range of five selection boxes running from the £5.99
Monsoon box of garden fireworks with no bangs through to the £99.99
Volcano box of display fireworks. Bulldog also offers a special
range suitable for sale and use in Northern Ireland.
All the rockets in the range are supplied in packs. These start
at £9.99 for a tube of six Apollo rockets and go up to £39.99
for a pack of four of the large Super Apollo Power rockets.
In addition to the cakes in the crates, there's a range of individual
cakes. There are eight different 16 and 25 shot cakes at the £4.99
RRP price point. Among them Sonic Woof picks up the dog element
from the brand name. Its 16 shots include green and silver stars
accompanied by bangs and crackles. Then there are six cakes at
£14.99, including the aptly named Short Circuit which gives
a volley of white spirals which fizz upwards before exploding
into a shower of white sparks. After that the range jumps up to
the £74.99 200 shot Grand Finale and £89.99 300 shot
Showstopper - which is described as "a dramatic 300 shot
firework... red, gold, purple and blue heads develop within a
host of white swirls and turn into golden crackles which sound
and look like a tropical rain storm". In the middle there
is the intriguingly named Mutts Nutts at £24.99. It's 27"
high and is described as "a finale firework where multicoloured
clusters of balls shoot upwards and burst, scattering exploding
coloured stars in every direction".
The range of retail fireworks is rounded off a pack of three
roman candles, three individual different sized cone fountains,
a wheel and the Megamine.
But there's more to Bulldog than their range of retail fireworks.
Bulldog is also a display company. The company also supplies stage
effects like conventionally fired stage fountains, mines and confetti
cannons. There's also an interesting compressed air powered confetti
cannon available. There are two sizes with different powers to
suit venues with higher or lower ceiling heights. Their firing
control box is shown above. Alongside that are some professional
level display firing systems that Bulldog's Tony Mason is working
on. Once fully tried and tested these could be made for sale to
professional display companies.
CONTACT: 01772 629929
The Cosmic Group is amongst the band of the UK's well established
fireworks companies. At 115 pages it presented the biggest 2006
fireworks catalogue available at the Spring Fair. Even that didn't
feature everything that the group have to offer, for the Cosmic
Group has a huge range of fireworks to draw on, spread across
several brands. Some of those brands are reserved for particular
market sectors, like Dynasty which appears in our Supermarkets.
The catalogue available at the Spring Fair covered Astra, Cosmic,
Golden Lion and Next Generation - brands which should therefore
be on sale in the general retail market. It offers 99p RRP packs
of single shot roman candles up to the £95 Extravaganza
cake with fireworks available in a wide range of categories.
Funny Faces is my choice of new product to look out for in 2006.
These are small ball head rockets, in packs of five with a £4.99
RRP. What marks them out is the expected effect. The catalogue
says "See a face light up in the sky" and the rocket
label shows a smiley face. This is an effect that I've only seen
with shells used in professional displays. Such a small rocket
isn't going to produce an effect as big or long lasting as a shell,
but if they do manage a smiley face then I'm certainly going to
be happy and smiling and so will a lot of children that I know!
Curiously these rockets have been included not in the main rocket
section of the catalogue, but in the Cosmic Party range. They're
there alongside the existing range of Coloured Flares, Party Smoke,
Parachute Smoke, Party Poppers, Table Bombs and Confetti Canons
(both in several sizes) and the spinning Sputnik fountain. The
other new item in this category is a £9.99 Haunted House.
It's said to be "not for the faint hearted", but we
haven't yet been told what it'll do...
Back in the main rocket section there's been little change. Golden
Lion's Mystical Thunder Hawk has been dropped and an old favourite,
Golden Pheasant, has returned to the line up. Thunder Bats, the
little black ball head rockets, have been given little black bat
wings for 2006! These changes apart, all the small medium and
even the large rockets from the 2005 range are carried through
into 2006. Intriguingly three of the individual rockets are marked
"Buy 2 get 1 free" in the catalogue - Super Sonic (Cosmic,
RRP £6.99), Sky Blazer (Astra, RRP £6.99) and Sky
Bombard (Astra, RRP £11.99). The 2005 RRPs were £5.99,
£5.99 and £9.99 respectively, so there's a fair offer
to be looked out for. As for the prices of the rest of the range,
many have stayed the same as 2005, some have gone up (as we might
have expected) whilst some have actually gone down. It's the same
picture throughout the whole catalogue. But remember, these are
all RRPs and actual prices and offers will no doubt vary from
place to place as they always have.
In the selection box arena there's more or less the same range
as in 2005 covering both garden and display fireworks. The Astra
range stays the same. The Cosmic range has had a few adjustments
- the Saturn box drops from 30 to 27 fireworks but the Jupiter
box goes up from 24 to 30 fireworks and the Neptune box from 30
to 33, with all three boxes keeping their 2005 RRPs. The Golden
Lion range has had a packaging facelift and now wears a fresh
and distinctive big cat livery - Cougar, Leopard, Panther, Tiger
and Lion. The Cougar and Leopard boxes appear to have the same
contents and prices as the old boxes they replace. The Tiger keeps
the same price as the box it replaces but loses a couple of fireworks.
It's the Lion box that's an all new product, coming in it at the
top of range with a £90 RRP.
The Golden Lion brand has a reputation for giving fireworks
amusing names - a feature that regularly delights UKFR members.
This year we look forward to the return of Frightened Ducks With
Abundant Wind which had migrated away for a couple of years. This
year's new addition to the zoo is Happy Panda Shoots Himself!
The photo that accompanies this report suggests this to be a fan
cake with two different tube lengths. Its got a £35 RRP
and is described as having "strong yet gentle effects".
The other new animal to look out for is the £35 Rampaging
Boar that is tagged "Loud". Sadly it looks as though
Silver Fish In Blue Lake has swum away - an old favourite that
will be missed - and the Golden Serpents have slithered away,
too. However the Sky Monkey With Exploding Coconuts that inspired
a UKFR competition team is still there in the same form and price
as last year.
In the Astra division, Midnight Mayhem comes in and Midnight
Thunder goes out. Jamboree looks like being a replacement for
the 2005 Tropical Storm - both carrying the same description,
"a 37 shot cake ejecting bursts of red, green, blue and crackling
stars". Under the Cosmic label Martian Attack seems to have
taken the place of Spiders From Mars whilst Moon Missile is now
clearly presented as a red tipped "pen lid" type of
cake. The Next Generation range looks like being available in
the same range of individual fireworks and packs as last year.
Astra, Cosmic, Golden Lion, Next Generation... but no Weco. In
the past the Weco range of rockets have been given their own place
in the catalogue, not with the main rocket section rather with
Next Generation's section. However in 2006 there are no longer
any Weco rockets in the catalogue. So the big Weco's, costing
up to £20 each have left the line up, but at least there's
the little £1 Funny Faces to look forward to.
CONTACT: 01283 520771 Web: www.cosmicfireworks.com
With almost twenty years in the UK firework business, Devco is
now one of our well established firework companies. It's not a
household name everywhere, though. It's based in London and that
seems to be its main market area, although the Devco range is
available in some specialist firework shops around the country.
Above: Mr Chawla and Mr Shah from Devco Fireworks
Mr Chawla, one of Devco's directors, is the current vice-chairman
of the British Fireworks Association. He and his fellow director,
Mr Shah, take a close personal interest in the development of
fireworks for their range.
Back in 2005 they expressed a determination to work on some of
their smaller fireworks so that they could be classified as category
2 garden fireworks. The good news is that following the publication
of the anticipated new regulations and having had time to study
them carefully, Mr Shah and Mr Chawla think they'll be able to
achieve this aim this year. So, for example, we can expect to
see the little 19 shot Pingolai cake range in garden firework
guise this year. This looks as if it's bucking the trend, but
it is welcome news. Most firework companies are not developing
garden firework ranges beyond the traditional small selection
boxes. Yet the majority of gardens these days are too small for
the proper use of the category 3 display fireworks which make
up the bulk of the fireworks available to the general public.
There are some notable examples of good garden fireworks around
and it's to be hoped that Devco can add to them.
From the point of view of reporting on new products, the Spring
Fair comes too early in the year for Devco. Like many other companies,
visits to China to formulate, test and accept new products for
2006 take place after the Spring Fair has finished.
The intriguing heart shaped Ace Of My Heart was on display at
the Spring Fair in dummy form and this looks like being a new
item for 2006. The Quantum Accelerator in the photographs also
looks like being a new addition to Devco's range - in the fan
cake section. The definitive list of new fireworks will be announced
with the publication on Devco's 2006 catalogue which is due in
CONTACT: 020 8994 0714 Web: www.devcofireworks.co.uk
Festival Fireworks, based near Lewes in Sussex, is a well established
firework display company and supplier of category 4 fireworks.
Over the last few years it has been branching out into the general
retail firework market and can now provide fireworks in all categories.
At one end of its range are the category 4 fireworks for professional
use, whilst at the other end there are category 1 indoor fireworks
suitable for use on the domestic dining table.
The fireworks available to the general public are sold under
the Sovereign Brand. For 2006 a neat CD-based catalogue has been
produced in place of last year's traditional paper based one.
Comparison of the two shows that the 2006 range is more or less
the same as in 2005, although a number of items don't seem to
have made it across into the 2006 range. However, it's likely
that more items are still to be added to the range. The CD doesn't
reveal any new products, but some are certainly in the pipeline.
The Festival Fireworks people were talking about a visit to China
to check that new products were actually being made as specified.
All being well we can expect developments in the line of fan
cakes, for example. One such is said to be a gold mine / kamuro
The indoor fireworks are very similar to those traditional ones
that some of us are old enough to remember from 30 or 40 years
ago and which seemed to have disappeared from sale. Now they are
back. Various UKFR members have tried them and mentioned them
on the UKFR's members discussion forum. It seems that they evoke
smiles of nostalgia from older members whilst delighting their
children too .
The category 2 (garden), fireworks come in the traditional selection
By far the majority of fireworks in the range are in the display
category. There's a full range on offer, from small barrages through
medium, large and giant barrages on to a pro-series of barrages.
Many of these have deliberately been produced as category 3 versions
of category 4 products - they feature effects from the company's
category 4 range, fitted into the category 3 bore and cake size
limits. The range also includes a good selection of candles, fountains,
and rockets, but curiously the mines in the 2005 range do not
feature on the 2006 CD catalogue. It remains to be seen if the
mines do make the final retail range line-up. If they don't then
there's a set of six very good value, well performing pre-loaded
mortar mines that will be missed. More understandable, in the
light of new noise regulations, is the absence of the Thunderbolt
Screech rocket pack and Thunder Blitz individual rockets. At the
quiet end of the range there's an unusual fountain of a type not
seen in the catalogues of any of the other exhibitors at the Spring
Fair. Clearly intended to be mounted on a post, the £19.99
RRP Sovereign Sun has 8 silver fountains arranged in a circle
to create a big eight-pointed star.
CONTACT: 01825 840 818 Web: www.festivalfireworks.net/
Fireworks International is a well established brand with a good
reputation. A look through the UKFR review index shows that this
company has produced a good number of "Best Buy" rated fireworks.
Apart from the Colour Blitz and Soaring Eagles cakes, they're
all in the 2006 range - including the now legendary Triple H Bomb
and Crazy Horses. A comparison of the 2005 and 2006 catalogues
reveals that for every firework dropped from the range, at least
two new ones have been added.
The £7 Floral Wizard, £8 Singing Bees, £25
Galactic Invader, £65 Pagoda Dragon and £75 Ninja
Attack haven't made it across from 2005 to the 2006 range. All
the large single rockets remain in the range, as do the After
Shock report rockets which come in packs of five for £9.99.
For 2006 the Artillery Shell gets a companion called Little Demons
- a 200 shot screaming report candle with a fountain start and
a £9.99 price tag. The fountain start in a firework of this
kind is unusual. Another unusual and new firework in the range
is the £5.99 Howling Wolves which produces triple tone whistles.
Don't confuse this effect with another new whistling firework
in the range - Triple XXX Whistle is a 64 shot £6.99 cake
with three different calibres of silver and gold whistling comets.
If you want something quiet and cheerful, then look out for Cheeky
Cherries. For £7.99 RRP this will give 25 shots of rising
tails with red chrysanthemum bursts with crackle.
Moving up the price and size range The Ogre comes in at a penny
under £25. It's a 25 shot green and silver glitter with
willow and red tails cake. This is one of a number of new fireworks
that look as if they've got names and wrapper designs that are
contemporary with current popular cartoon and film characters.
The other two are War Of The Wizards and Merlin's Cauldron. These
are both £29.99 36 shot cakes. The former fires red tails
to cherry bursts with red pistils whilst the latter provides red
and blue mines bursting into silver chrysanthemums.
At the top end of the range, in the Single Ignition Box section,
the much liked Tiger's Revenge is joined by another big cat, Panther
Attack. Tiger's Revenge offers 168 shots for £85 just as
it did last year. The new cat spits out 208 shots for its £100
as it attacks the night sky. Another heavyweight cake is the aptly
named Sumo. At £65 and 150 shots this appears to be a direct
replacement for the Pagoda Dragon. But it's not the biggest firework
cake in the range. That honour goes to the new 240 shot Oriental
Emperor, which at £120 also boasts the biggest price tag.
Fireworks International haven't neglected the other end of the
SIB range for there's now Medusa at just under £30. This
has 120 shots of silver glitter, willow, brocade crown and silver
There's one more new item to be mentioned and it's the most distinctive
of them all. There's a wooden rack with 5 x 75mm mortar mines
and a fan of 5 x 1 metre tall, 30mm bore candles attached to it.
This is Zeus. The price tag is £99. It's been put together
so that the candles fire first, followed by the mines. Two of
the mines throw out salutes. It's reckoned that this will be a
good finale piece!
CONTACT: 01332 298448 Web: www.fireworksinternational.co.uk
Kimbolton Fireworks is a multifaceted firework company. It has
a highly regarded display business, produces a range of category
4 fireworks for professional use and has created a widely available
range of fireworks for the general retail market. It is a long
established British firework company with a good reputation for
its consumer fireworks which are aimed at the premium end of the
The 2006 catalogue improves on the 2005 edition by adding much
more effects across the range. It shows that all the fireworks
except the Super Nova slat type wheel have been carried across
from 2005 into the 2006 range. This has been replaced by the Giant
Sun Wheel which is also a slat wheel. It's slightly smaller in
diameter than the Super Nova (560mm compared with 600mm) and much
smaller in RRP (£12.99 compared with £29.99).
Two new big rockets have been added to the squadron. Brimstone
is a Chinese manufactured version of the German made Jumbo Display
Rocket. Brimstone will cost £9.99 whilst the German Jumbos
are £17.99. Then there's Magellan at £12.99 which
is a Chinese alternative to the £18.99 German made Special
Jumbo Display Rockets.
The catalogue now also includes the Plotters' Keg at £17.99.
This was originally planned as a "limited edition" for
last year's 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot. But it has
proved so successful (unlike the plot) that it has been added
into the standard range. It starts with a silver fountain, goes
on to a battery of roman candles and has a large mine finale.
The main additions to the range for 2006 have been included on
a leaflet that is separate to the main catalogue. This gives details
of no less than nine new medium to large single ignition cakes.
The photographs in this feature show that these come in distinctive
packaging which is quite different from the wrapper style that
Kimbolton has usually been associated with. The packaging of these
new items has more in common with the box designs for Kimbolton's
selection box range and gives the impression of a coherent brand
identity which is lacking in the mêlée of wrapper
designs elsewhere in the range.
Five of these new fireworks are traditional vertical firing cakes.
These start with Sandstorm at £44 and 100 shots in 60 seconds,
then Silver Humming Bird and Coloured Whirlwind both at £59
and 64 shots in 70 seconds, then Royal Jubilee at £69 and
200 shots in 120 seconds and finally Royal Tornado at £79
and 180 shots in 120 seconds. They have different sets of effects
but all end with a salute finale. The other four are pattern firing.
Two are £79, 45 second Z-firing cakes - National Salute
with 80 shots of red, white and blue and Rainbow Spectacular with
84 shots of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Starmine
Fiesta has a £69 price tag, a 30 second duration and is
an 80 shot V-firing cake of multicoloured two layer mine effects.
The more novel pattern firer is Curtain Raiser. It's a C-pattern,
firing from the centre to left and right and back to the centre
again, followed by a full fan then a cross-over with one row firing
from left to right at the same time as another row fires from
right to left. Curtain Raiser does this in 45 seconds with 80
shots of bombards and mines for £69.
CONTACT: 08700 762538 Web: www.kimboltonfireworks.co.uk
Finding Lilac Manhattan was a pleasant surprise. The Spring Fair
database can list exhibitors according to product category. Whilst
looking for all the traditional firework companies to visit, the
database put Lilac Manhattan on the list! It's not a traditional
firework company. But sparklers and party poppers are classed
in law as fireworks and that put the company on the list.
Lilac Manhattan's main product line-up consists of collections
of high quality cards, kids krafts (sic) and social stationery
by named designers. The company has a range of confetti mines
and party poppers and would like to find and add indoor fireworks
to its list.
But the line-up already includes a wonderful range of well packaged
and presented indoor sparklers suitable for hand holding or for
using on cakes etc. in place of candles. That's something for
people to consider when birthdays and other celebrations come
round. Lilac Manhattan's sparklers are available in a variety
of shapes - including male and female varieties, as the photographs
The Spring Fair takes over every exhibition hall at the NEC -
it's that big. It boasts some 4000 exhibitors. Lilac Manhattan's
stand was therefore just one amongst 1000's. But its banner read
"Lilac Manhattan Add A Touch of Sparkle". It was an unexpected
find and a fun stand to visit and it certainly added a sparkle
to this reporter's visit to the Spring Fair.
CONTACT: 01604 250 900 Web: www.lilacmanhattan.com
Men Shun is a well established brand in the UK and offers a range
of fireworks covering just about every type of retail garden and
display firework available and at every price point. Its brochure
lists over 150 items ranging from the £1.99 Skud to the
£99.99 Dynamite barrages and from a £7.99 selection
box of garden fireworks to a £1925 pack of display fireworks.
The company is presenting a revised and improved brochure for
2006. The metallic purple cover is carried through from 2005 but
it's now published as a solid hardback book!
It's a similar story in the firework range. Some of the pieces
have been carried through from 2005 but have been revised and
improved for 2006. In the brochure the Lethal Tank series and
Autumn Leaves have been marked as having "New Improved Effects".
But several other items are being released with new artwork for
the packaging and it's said that these items have also had their
effects revised. Comparing the 2005 and 2006 brochures, this applies
to Earthquake Shake, Pulverizer, Meteor Explosion, Hells Journey,
Devastation, and The Incredible Invasion. The word from Men Shun
is that bangs are being toned down while colours are toned up.
This aim applies to Autumn Leaves which now has a finale of silver
fish instead of the previous big bang willows. It's now featured
in a new "Low Noise Fireworks" section in the brochure
along with Stardust and Mystical Fairytales. These three fireworks
have RRPs of £14.99, £39.99 and £64.99 respectively.
Joining them are several new items. There are three varieties
of Triple Delight barrages at £4.99 each which will offer
colour stars, crackling stars and silver snakes. Starry Starry
Night will sprinkle the sky with colour stars for £9.99
and adding crackle to the mix, Colour Mania joins the group at
Elsewhere in the range the existing quartet of £10.99 19
shot barrages is joined by Midnight Melody, Golden Dawn and Evening
Sunset. The Spin Doctor has been replaced by Typhoon, although
the product code is the same, suggesting this is a renamed, repackaged
firework rather than something entirely new. Jail Break breaks
out with 25 shots fired in volleys of five at a time.
Recognising that fireworks aren't just for November 5th, there's
a wedding cake on offer. Wedding Bells tops the price range in
the standard barrage section at £99.99. At the same price
and topping the range in the fan barrage section there will be
New Year Celebrations and a Diwali Dazzler.
Meanwhile at the other end of the price range, there'll be a
new £9.99 fan cake called Star Gazer offering four effects
fired in volleys of five.
A new sort of firework - for Men Shun at least - is a mine barrage.
Other brands offer them, so this isn't as much a "true piece
of innovation" as the brochure claims. However, the 36 shot
Mine Field is a welcome addition to the range. This has a £39.99
RRP. Staying with mines, the single fountain start mine range
has been completely changed. Moon Bomb, Sex Pot and Backdraught
are out. Four new mines with family friendly names are in, with
a wider price and size range: Blow Your... Pants Off, Socks Off
and Shirt Off, with Hang On To Your Hat getting in between them!
According to the brochure, Pants has a green and red fountain
and a golden palm mine, Hat blasts into green and red palms whilst
the Shirt is a blue bouquet with crackling thunder. What pattern
the Socks have is not divulged!
In the ordinary fountains range we lose the Amber and Crystal
cones as well as Gypsy and Pyramid Jewels but gain the small £1.99
Fountain Frenzy. The wheels range is more than halved with only
the Cyclone Wheels and The Eye spinning on into 2006. Elsewhere
in the brochure Thunderation and the Powder Keg are gone, along
with all the Party Poppers and Fun Snaps. However the selection
box, barrage pack, display pack and sparkler ranges are showing
It's a different story for the rocket range. Nothing new has
been added across the rocket range, although a few prices have
been reduced. But with new regulations coming in, large rockets
are being phased out. This year the Neon Nightfighter, The Bullet,
Torpedo, Golden Age and Heavy Metal have all been launched out
of the range. Fans of the renowned Orb will be relieved to know
that it's still available, but next year's report may bring different
CONTACT: 01937 849188
Night Star is a new brand that UKFR members began to see in shops
and to ask about in 2005. The Spring Fair presented an opportunity
to find out more about this brand. The photographs show that Night
Star had one of the biggest of the firework company stands at
the exhibition and it was certainly the most eye catching.
Night Star is aiming to be a brand that can help the retailer
compete with supermarkets. So although the range is quite compact
at the moment, it has been put together with scope for creating
special offers in mind. With around 30 items the range might be
compact, but it includes some seriously large fireworks with prices
that stop just short of £100.
There are five selection boxes with RRPs ranging from £14.99
to £99.99. The rockets all come in packs. The big metallic
finished Liquid Gold and Platinum rockets come in boxes of six
with £89.99 RRP per box. There's also a "Massive Assault"
pack of 30 rockets of assorted sizes with a £49.99 RRP.
There is a smaller rocket pack, although this is pictured in the
brochure with Star Burst branding. There are two roman candles
in the range - both being candle bundles. Earth Splitter gives
48 shots at a £9.99 RRP whilst the £14.99 Castle Attack
produces 72 shots.
As with most brands, the bulk of the range consists of barrages,
otherwise known as cakes. In Night Star's case these range in
RRP from £9.99 to £99.99. The photograph of the stand
above shows a three pedestal arrangement exhibiting three of the
£99.99 barrages: Asteroid Attack which is a conventionally
packaged 138 shot "straight up" barrage; Final Frontier,
a 100 shot fan firing barrage; and the Terror Tower with the tubes
for its 41 shots arranged in a more novel design. These all look
impressive. As for their performance - well no doubt UKFR members
will pass on their experiences and opinions via the lively UKFR
forum and the review section of the UKFR site as they get to buy
them and fire them.
Bright Star joined Night Star on the exhibition stand. It's understood
that these are two separate companies, although they are working
in association in that one is providing facilities to the other.
Night Star is based at Parkview Nurseries in Crews Hill, Enfield,
not far from London. Bright Star is working from its established
base near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Bright Star has well established
storage and distribution facilities and it's these that are being
made available to help to Night Star at the moment.
For its part, Bright Star, with over 200 items on its 2005 product
list, has one of the biggest and most comprehensive ranges of
category 2 and 3 fireworks on offer to the consumer. It includes
fireworks bearing the Star Burst label as part of its range. At
the Spring Fair it took the opportunity to show some of its big
fireworks - like the intriguingly shaped and new for 2006 Fighting
Fortress and the 49 shot fan barrage Crystal Cascade which was
new to the range in 2005. It also announced the launch of its
new premium Elite range of fireworks. These are bigger, higher
powder weight fireworks that are said to be packed with "more
power, more colour and more stunning effects". The Fighting Fortress
is understood to be part of this Elite range. We'll have to wait
and see what's in the rest of the range. Bright Star's new catalogue
is due for release in March 2006
CONTACT: 01765 640740 www.brightstaruk.com
Here's a company that has produced a catalogue with features
that other companies would do well to emulate. Each firework has
a series of icons with relevant information. These cover the safety
distance, noise level, running time, bore size, number of shots,
powder weight and height travelled. This is all helpful information
when planning displays. The height information is welcome and
rarely seen in other catalogues. Royal Party also provides a well
produced, very watchable DVD of its firework range. This all fits
in with the company's aim to position itself at the quality end
of the market.
The Royal Party brand is already a well established and mature
brand in Sweden and Norway and is on its way to acheiving that
in the UK. Here it's now going into its third season, building
on the success of its first two seasons and engaging in a gradual
evolution of its UK range.
It's a range that encompasses everything from selection packs
of small garden fireworks up to big display fireworks costing
around £80 each. Market research to define the range was
done before launching the brand in the UK and is being used to
refine the range now. So we can look out for additions to the
range of popular 49 shot 49'ers and to the range of 61 shot cakes.
Its been observed that in the individual display firework realm
the brand had a good selection of fireworks at price points from
around £40 upwards but that it had too limited a choice
of fireworks in the lower price ranges. It's understood that this
situation is being addressed for 2006. The range also includes
what has turned out to be a popular series of distinctive family
display packs presented in clear plastic sleeves and holdall type
bags instead of the more traditional cardboard box.
Like several other companies, Royal Party was still finalising
the 2006 range at the time of the Spring Fair. Thus the catalogue
available was a 2005 / 06 one. So it hasn't been possible to do
a full comparison of the old and new ranges for this report. A
full assessment of how the company has strengthened its range
will have to wait until the new 2006 catalogue is published.
CONTACT: 0870 760 9533 Web: www.royalparty.co.uk
This is one of the newer brands that we've seen appear in the
last few years. Now going into its 4th season, the company appears
to be well established and is in the process of expanding its
range of fireworks. It's a range that covers just about every
type of outdoor firework, in packs and as individual items, both
big and small, in traditional shapes and with some novel shapes
for good measure.
Sparky's catalogue is well presented. The company is to be commended
for including full effects descriptions and running times for
nearly all its fireworks. The one thing the catalogue does not
show is price. The company is continuing its policy of selling
to retailers at fixed trade prices and allowing retailers to set
their own selling price. The 2006 catalogue includes everything
that was in the 2005 range - it seems that no items, including
big rockets, have been dropped. The catalogue shows that the range
has been expanded with 18 new barrages and, in response to public
demand, a 1Kg conical fountain.
The most interesting addition is a set of more or less single
colour category 3 barrages. There are 10 of them - Red, Blue,
Gold, Purple and Green barrages each in 24 and 30 shot versions
at different price points. They do include silver as a foil to
the principle colour. Each of the barrages has a wrapper appropriate
to the colour of its effects. Crystal Falls is 24 shot blue version.
Running for about 36 seconds it produces repeating sequences of
blue and light blue peony with light blue falling leaves and silver
willow. The red, purple and green equivalents do exactly the same
thing in their own colour whilst the gold has the same range of
effects but with the addition of gold tails to each shot. There's
a bit more variation of effects amongst the 30 shot range. Coloured
lights, glittering effects, falling leaves, willows and peonies
are involved, but not all of these effects are in all five of
the colours. To give one example, Deep Blue Sea is the 30 shot
blue version. It runs for about 49 seconds and produces blue lights
and blue willow, blue lights with white glittering and blue peonies.
None of the fireworks in this set include titanium salutes - they're
designed to be colourful rather than noisy. It's a set of fireworks
that Richard Astle, who designed them, is very proud of. He's
shown photographed with a display of the new fireworks.
If you'd like something bigger in blue, the there's the new 49
shot Blue Lagoon. It gives 21 shots of blue light peony (that's
how the catalogue words it) followed by 28 shots of blue light
to blue crackling peony. (In other words it seems that light =
star, not pale). There's a bigger purple barrage too - the new
72 shot Cool Secret. The biggest of the new fireworks in the range
is the 800 shots in 162 seconds Ultimate. It's described as "fast
and furious" and produces a range of coloured stars and peonies
with crackles, whistles and bangs!
CONTACT: 01937 841101 Web: (Bright Spark) www.brightspark.co.uk
This TNT isn't the logistics and delivery company whose lorries
are a familiar sight on our motorways, rather it's the TNT that
claims to be "the largest firework company in the world".
This is a big firework company in the USA and it recently arrived
in the UK when it bought Millennium Pyrotechnics. TNT supplies
fireworks to the giant Walmart retail empire in the USA. So when
Walmart acquired ASDA it was no surprise to see TNT fireworks
on sale in our ASDA supermarkets.
The popular Millennium brand of fireworks will continue to be
available in 2006. Although no new items will be added to that
range, it's good to know that established favourites will still
be available. It's in the TNT range that new fireworks will be
seen this year. These will be spread across the price and type
ranges. There'll be a couple of small category 2 fountains, Pink
Diamonds and Crickets at around the £2 - £3 mark.
Fantasia, a £20 fan fountain, was popular in 2005 and now
it will be joined by a baby brother called Night Treasure at around
£5. The £125 Guy Fawkes Return selection box sold
well in 2005 and will be joined by a big brother costing around
£150 in 2006. However the biggest boxes from the 2005 range
- Trafalgar at £218 and The Big Bang at £699 - are
expected to be dropped. TNT will introduce a multi-rocket pod
in 2006 as part of its strategy to cope with the demise of big
single rockets. Then further up the price range there'll be the
£54.99 15 shot Big Honkin Star. This is said to produce
gold willows to red stars, gold willows to silver fish, gold willows
to flowers and crackling flowers. Another new piece to look out
for will be the £64.99 Minesweeper - a pumpkin keg shaped
19 shot mine barrage.
Above: Paul Ribchester from TNT Fireworks
These are just some of the 28 new items that are going to be
added to TNT's range this year. At the time of the Spring Fair,
the final development and testing stages of the 2006 season's
new fireworks were being done in China. So the full details of
all 28 weren't available at the Spring Fair. However those details,
together with an opportunity to see some of the new fireworks
in action, should be available to trade customers at a series
of demonstration evenings being planned for April.
CONTACT: 0808 131 4499 Web: www.tntfireworks.uk.com
Here's a brand new brand to look out for. Total Fireworks has
been around for four years as a retailer. Now its Director, Tim
Sallis, is developing their own brand for the company. That range
is Total FX. Launched this year, its been specially commissioned,
with design input from Tim, and will be promoted as a premium
brand. The plan is to make it available through Total Firework's
own High Wycombe shop and on-line system as well as through wholesalers
to garden centres and individual retailers.
There are two distinctive features to all the barrages in the
Total FX range. One is the eye-catching livery and the other is
that they all end with a finale salvo. This has been done deliberately
and could well be a hallmark of the range. There are 18 barrages
in the range starting with the £5.99 25 shot Dragon's Breath.
This generates a mix of multicoloured pearl bursts and crackling
followed by the volley finale. After this comes the £7.99
35 shot Samurai Warrior with peonies and other effects. Climbing
gradually through the price range, past The Abyss at £8.99
and Black Magic at £9.99 there's the 19 shot Titanium Rhapsody
with its willow finale at £14.99 and the 200 shot Dream
Weaver at £15.99. There are six more barrages between £19.99
and £34.99 before The Matrix at £49.99. This is a
110 shot roaming fan barrage with peony and comet bursts. The
quick fire 500 shot Devastation is also at £49.99 with its
colours, whistles, crackles, mines, comets, peonies and finale
salvo of five titanium salutes. The remaining four barrages include
two display-in-a-box SIB type fireworks with the 200 shot Guns
'N' Roses topping the range at £99.99 RRP.
The artwork theme is carried through the rest of the Total FX
line up. This includes candles, wheels, fountains and sparklers.
There's a twin pack of fountain start mines at £5.99. Rockets
range from a pack of five category 2 Rainbow Warriors for £5.99
through a pack of four large category 3 Scorpion Kings for £25.99
to the big single rockets called The Big Guns at £15.99 each.
The range is completed by four selection boxes. There's one category
2 box, Pluto, at £10.99 and three category 3 boxes going through
the planets in increasing size, Mars at £21.99, Saturn at £32.99
and Jupiter at £43.99.
CONTACT: 01844 343366 Web: www.hypostasis.co.uk/totalfx/
"Thank you to all the companies who took a few minutes
out of their busy schedules to talk to us. We appreciate trade
fairs are hectic at the best of times. At the time of the Spring
Fair, many companies are still testing their fireworks in China,
so it is always difficult for them to commit to final product
specs. This feature is intended to convey the general information
given to us by each company at the fair." - Pyro Pete, Editor
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