As firework display organisers it’s a question we’re often asked. The answer depends on the event you are organising. If it’s for Bonfire Night there are different factors to take into account than say for wedding fireworks or a corporate event. Firework displays around November the 5th are typically public events put on by the local council or fund-raisers staged by charities like Round Table and Rotary. The one thing they have in common is that fireworks are usually the only entertainment. When people pay to see a fireworks display they reasonably expect to be entertained for a period of time. Determining exactly what that period of time is a matter of judgment.
Firework displays can be so big and spectacular that audiences lose all sense of time when watching them. That’s how it should be. If you catch yourself wondering how much longer it’s going to go on for, you’ve lost interest! For Bonfire Night we recommend a duration of between 15 and 20 minutes. It’s long enough to make your audience feel they’ve been given good value but not so long that they feel it’s being dragged out.
For firework displays at corporate events, weddings, festivals and other celebrations, a different set of factors come into play. Here the fireworks are not the only entertainment. There may be a band or a dinner or other entertainment leading up to the fireworks. In these situations the fireworks are more like the icing on the cake, the grand finale or the exclamation mark on a celebration. They need to make an impact, to bear a message saying thanks for coming, now here’s something to send you home happy.
This can be achieved in a matter of a few minutes. Many of our biggest displays often last no more than length of a pop song. In fact most of our professional fireworks displays are set to just one song or a fast-moving mix of three or four songs, none lasting more than a minute or so. Here we can capture the audience’s attention so totally that they have no idea how long the show lasted. If asked, in many instances they will say it lasted far longer than it actually did. Also, that it cost twice as much as it did!