Simon Page, Director of Titanium Fireworks, offers his how to guide for booking the best fireworks for an event.
Titanium Fireworks is best known for delivering displays for London and Edinburgh’s New Year’s Eve, plus the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. With these high profile events in its portfolio, you are in safe hands with the Titanium Fireworks team for lighting up your private parties, corporate events and weddings. To make sure you have a sky full of stars rather than a damp squib, Simon Page, Director of Titanium Fireworks, offers these top tips:
Most venues do allow fireworks, but there may be some restrictions. The most common are: you must use a company from the preferred supplier list; there might be a facilitation fee of up to 10% of the value of the show; you might have to finish the show by 10.30pm (can be challenging in the height of summer); or you might have to have a ‘quiet’ display. Very few venues will allow you to fire your own fireworks because of the insurance liability – quite rightly so in our opinion.
SHOP AROUND BUT DON’T BE FOOLED
Like food, wine and flowers, our product is used up during your event. If you think about the costs of a professional company designing, preparing and delivering fireworks you wouldn’t imagine that they could do this for some of the prices you see advertised on the internet.
The normal corner to cut is the most expensive item after labour, which is, of course, the fireworks themselves. If it looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. However, you don’t have to believe in the other end of the market that suggests you need to spend £1,000 per minute. Most companies could spend that money for you but it is possible to fire a great display for between £1,250 and £3,500, depending on duration and whether music is involved.
WHAT ABOUT MUSIC?
It can often be more expensive to have your display designed to music because of the need to follow the undulations of the music and we find this always requires more fireworks than just firing them in an order. We actually design all our displays with special software to ensure there are no unintentional pauses, so setting to music does not add to our work.
The challenge for us is physics. Light and sound travel at different speeds, and we strongly recommend a linear PA system right in front of your guests (costs from about £500) so you can see the fireworks are actually synchronised to the music. If you rely on the DJ using speakers through a window or at the back of a marquee, you have fireworks drowning out some music in the background– not ideal.
There are well over 100 firework companies in the UK and a reasonable number of them will do a good job for you. Please make sure you know who you are dealing with and research them properly. If a venue has a preferred list you will be okay, but if you are free to choose your own company make sure you have a name and they are responsive to your communications.
A lot of companies are run by hobbyists who will use your money to further their hobby. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to someone who they have worked for recently and be very careful of ‘packages’. Every venue is different and every event is different so we would not dream of rolling out a standard pack for someone’s event. It is a lot of money to go up in smoke, noise and light – and you don’t get a rehearsal!
BEWARE EXCESSIVE DEPOSITS
While it is not unreasonable to pay a deposit, I wouldn’t part with more than 25% of an agreed amount until I had seen the end result. I would also check the cancellation terms as sometimes the wind just does blow in the wrong direction at such a speed that it simply isn’t safe to fire a display. That said, a proper firework company should be able to design a display for most locations. We don’t actually charge any deposit, but ask for payment after the event when you have confirmed you are entirely happy that what we provided is at least what you were expecting.