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new adventures in

alchemy alchemyfireworks


new adventures in alchemy What an adventure it’s been. The last year has been full of excitement in the Alchemy lab. New effects arrived. New ideas evolved. New friends made. In May we made a Big Splash in Brighton. In July we stopped the traffic in Stockholm whilst simultaneously dazzling the National Trust at Stourhead. We took everything that November could throw at us for Leeds Castle and Thorpe Park. And we helped bring in the New Year by producing the major public displays in Leeds, Birmingham and Gibraltar. The following pages recount these adventures in pictures and words. There’s plenty bubbling away for the next 12 months: more creative collaborations and cunning chemical compositions. So, if you want to make lots of people happy, book an Alchemy display for your next event.

Leeds Castle Mythical Fireworks

Join the adventure.

Bedford Borough Council – River Festival & Festival of Fire & Light

…as usual your company was extremely easy to work with and set-up went without a hitch. I have had a number of fantastic comments about the show from both colleagues and members of the public, and for myself have to say that was the best, well-balanced show I have seen for the Festival of Fire & Light.

Andy Pidgen, Events & Marketing Manager, Bedford Borough Council

case study: Some friends and family feel sorry that we work every new year, but walking through the deserted streets of Birmingham at 8am on 1st January 2009, there is some smug pleasure in not starting the New Year with a hangover. That said, for much of the previous 2 days I would have happily exchanged below-zero temperatures and freezing fog for a comfortable armchair by the fire, and maybe a small beer… Sadly the murky weather – which had lifted during the afternoon of the 31st – didn’t stay gone for long, and by the time midnight

Birmingham City Council – New Year’s Eve Celebrations

arrived (don’t forget the extra second tinkerbell) the roof of the Hyatt was once again like being in a cloud – a cold white oasis of calm 25 stories above the crowds in Centenary Square and along Broad Street., The shells firing site on the top deck of the old Holliday Street Car Park was like a skating rink, and in between the fog meant that you couldn’t see what was happening on the other rooftop, even though there is only 100 metres between them.

sequences were still effective and the crowd cheered! Our decision to create a continuous show off the roof of the Hyatt (just in case strong wind meant we had to pull shells from the car park) proved to be sound judgement, if not for exactly the right reasons. Bring on New Year’s Eve 2009 – but with clear skies and perfect visibility please!

Still, the fog glowed, some moments were more visible than others, the noisy

Thanks for the show on Wednesday, I thought it was very good… it was a shame about the fog but we can’t control the weather and we still had 7,000 people out to watch. Joan Durose, Head of Events, Birmingham City Council

X-Leisure Brighton Marina Big Splash


Thank you SO much!


Kirsty Harris, Marketing & Events Manager, X-Leisure Brighton Marina

case study: So there we were, just chatting with an event company and they dropped the bomb: “we’re organising an event in Stockholm in July. The client really wants fireworks but we’ve spoken to a company in Sweden and we’ve been told it can’t be done.” “Can’t be done? I’ll look into it…” Fast forward five months and there we are, on the balcony of the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, the usual red boiler replaced by the penguin suit. Sure, the intervening period had seen a lot of effort and energy expended on getting to this point, but

Quintessentially Events – The Grand Hotel, Stockholm

then you gain so much more from doing something new. Deep breath. Visual checks. Barge is in the right position. Barge has the right orientation. Patrol boats are in position. Firing and fallout areas are secure. Guests are assembled. Quick glance to Pippa – are we ready? The thumbs up. Right then. Standby on fireworks in 5,4,3,2,1, go! Ba-boom! There goes the first lift of shells. And by the time the second lift of Yung Feng polyp shells have burst people are stopping their cars in the middle of the street, pouring out of cafes and restaurants. Oops. We’ve accidentally brought central Stockholm

…you did an exceptional job.

to a standstill! Most of the guests don’t notice all of this until the end – their eyes are fixed firmly on the sky as sequences of Cyca Shells, Zink Blinks (a personal favourite) have them transfixed. When the beautiful brocade finale fades, the cheer is enormous, and the blasting of dozens of boat horns around the harbour brings them back to the here and now. Happy guests, a happy birthday girl, a happy event organiser, and thousands of delighted “collateral spectators”, who just happened to be in the right part of Stockholm at the right time one July night in 2008.

Annabel Fielding, Director, Quintessentially Events

National Trust Stourhead Fête Champêtre

Thank you... It has been a real pleasure working with you. We particularly appreciate how you overcame the challenges we presented you and your understanding of the sensitivity of what is arguably the greatest 18th century landscape garden in the world. The care and thoroughness of your planning, your skill and imagination and the selection of material resulted in a simply breathtaking display ... the wow factor with much more wow and customer service parexcellence!

Graham Puxley, Event Organiser The National Trust, Stourhead.

case study: Lost Vagueness are masters of the decadent party, (as hundreds of thousands of Glastonbury revellers over the years will tell you), so we were delighted when LV founder Roy Gurvitz asked us to create a show for a corporate event to mark the UK launch of Beefeater’s new 24 gin brand. The venue was Syon Park, a lovely place but one that for several reasons doesn’t normally allow firework displays. And it would take more than a nice smile after the last “exception to the rule” display at the venue was described as “armageddon”

Lost Vagueness – Beefeater 24 Launch

by staff who witnessed it. However, our personal attention to the job, and the quality of our paperwork convinced them that we weren’t going to play fast and loose with their reputation. The next challenge was the firing site itself. Tight is the word. After 2 site visits and many emails and reassurances that we could create a safe and spectacular display in that location, Syon’s management and the Duke’s agent agreed that the display could go ahead, but the spotlight was well and truly on us to do a perfect job in

challenging conditions. Here’s what Syon’s Facilities Manager Brian McMillan said: “I thought I would drop you a line to formally place on record my thanks for the excellent job your team did on Thursday night with regard to firing of the display at the Lost Vagueness event… your firing and fallout projections were extremely accurate. We all agreed from the outset that this was a very tight site with many potential problems associated with it. I do not think any of us could have wished for a better result with regards to the actual display.” And the client?

What a great firework display!! Everyone looked on in awe, it really was the icing on the cake!!. Roy Gurvitz, Founder, Lost Vagueness

Leeds City Council New Year’s Eve

Public celebrations - Corporate events - Concerts - Festivals - Regattas - Weddings - Parties - In the country - In the city - On the streets - On rooftops - On rivers - On the sea - UK - International

case study: After a break in 2007, Salisbury’s Christmas Light’s Event was back with a bang in 2008. Home-town boy Christopher Biggins - fresh from jungle victory - was back in his old stomping ground to perform the switch-on and promote the local panto. In previous years the display has been fired from the Guildhall roof, which is very limited in terms of the range of material that can safely be fired there, so Glenn worked with City Centre Management to find an additional firing site on Debenhams’ rooftop. “The idea was to create a display

Salisbury District Council – Christmas Lights Switch-On

on two sides of the audience, so that they seemed more involved and central to the show”, says Glenn, “and it also allowed us to fire bigger material than we can fire from the Guldhall and create a more impressive show.” Access issues meant an early start to crane the kit up onto both rooftops before rush hour, but the show came together very quickly and the crew had some well-earned Christmas shopping time in the afternoon. Meanwhile, photographer David scouted out locations where he would be able to get both rooftops in the same field of vision,

and after a chat with the helpful verger of St Thomas’s church he made his way up the church tower before the display took place, although he hadn’t banked on bell-ringing practice in the tower below: well done for keeping your tripod steady David! The display was choreographed to a soundtrack mixed by Midas ProSound, featuring Andrea Bocelli, and was hailed as the best ever by both the client and the public.

A huge thank you to Glenn and team for bringing the city’s skies to life with colour, formation and style. Lindsey Brown, City Centre Manager, Salisbury District Council

Sheffield Event Co. After Dark

Marvellous! See you again next year.

Scott Barton, Managing Director, Sheffield Event Co.

Thorpe Park Thorpe Blast


It was great working with you guys again this year. I only have positive feedback. Everyone that I spoke to enjoyed the event and many said that it was better than last year.


Laura Sinclair, Entertainments Manager, Thorpe Park



alchemyfireworks Office 08000 665837 Rob Farrow 07786 864173 Glenn Plume 07791 863662 Alchemy Fireworks Ltd. Barn 7, The Old Dairy, Beadlow, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5PL, UK

Event International & South Tyneside District Council - Mouth of The Tyne Festival


New Adventures in Alchemy  

A review of the year 2008-2009 from Alchemy Fireworks Ltd: UK professional firework display company.