Firing on a postage stamp in London’s Green Park
As one of the UK’s most experienced fireworks display organisers, we are proud to be official suppliers to Spencer House, a Grade 1 listed mansion in St James’s. London. It’s owned by Earl Spencer (brother of Diana). He doesn’t live there though: it’s run as an event venue and opens to the public on Sundays.
Inevitably there are some flies in this luxurious ointment: the garden at Spencer House measures only 30m wide by 28m deep, backs directly on to Green Park, and the prevailing wind blows directly at the audience. Chris Stallworthy, the manager, runs a tight ship, and after a bad experience with a previous company gave us a final chance to show that fireworks could be staged safely and successfully.
Our brief was to provide a 5-minute pyromusical display to two tracks chosen by the client: “I Believe” by Nikki Yanofsky and “Zadok the Priest” by Handel. Firing time was 21:00, but we had to complete the setup (including flames and PA) before 19:00 so we were not seen by the guests.
To meet the brief our display director Rino Sampieri designed a very nice display with 10 positions: 5 of single shots and 5 of cakes, flares and fountains. Because of the closeness of the audience and lack of fallout space we used only Cat 2 cakes, with stage pyro for the single shots and fountains. However, that left us with the challenge of rigging 10 positions in a tiny space as efficiently as possible.
The crew gathered at FF in the morning to pre-build and wire the single shot boards. We used Rino’s own boards to pre-build and wire the other positions, and pre-mounted the flares and fountains on hedgehogs. We did continuity tests on everything before loading it into the van. This meant that when we arrived on site we simply had to position the boards, wire in the hedgehogs and link everything with 2-core.
Just over an hour after we arrived on-site we had the fireworks in place and fully tested, leaving us plenty of time to set up and test the PA system and G-Flame boxes. Everything was ready well ahead of our 19:00 curfew.
Being so close meant that despite the small calibre of the fireworks the show had plenty of impact, but the choice of material also meant we had no problems with debris getting close to the audience or falling into the park.
Most importantly, the client was delighted with the display, and Chris described the whole operation as “brilliant”. We already have more shows booked for Spencer House: let’s hope they’re the first of many more.