Setting Music to Fireworks

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Euph Kidd, May 11, 2006.

  1. Euph Kidd

    Euph Kidd Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm organising a gig just now for my old band and I was wandering if you have any advice. The gig is part of a festival and and the people involved are looking for a big finale extravaganza with "Brass Bands and Fireworks".

    The jist of this thread is just to see if anyone has experience of trying to organise/run/co-ordinate such an event, and if they have any suggestions on how best to go about it.

    I'm presuming the music will be 1812, probs a slightly cut-down park audience friendly version, but this hasn't been confirmed so I'm open to other pieces.

    Hope this isn't too random a request!

    Richard Kidd
  2. stotty74

    stotty74 Member

    I have done a couple of things where bands and fireworks were included. A few years ago, one band was asked to play 'Mack and Mabel' during the display, which seemed to work pretty well.
    Northop did a big festival last year which included a whole outdoors concert accompanied by fireworks (3 bands, male voice choir, harpist, school choir). The guys doing the fireworks were really professional and everything was timed to the second. Will try and find a programme of what we did and let you know what we used, although the theme for the concerts was 'Glory of Wales', so don't know if that will be suitable for you!!
    Good luck anyway.
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The typical way to do this is to choose the music and have the fireworks professionals match the fireworks to the music. Most fireworks displays these days are very carefully timed (often set off by computer) and a good professional can make a very effective dispay with music.

    Are you doing live music or recorded? Doing live music with a fireworks display can be a bit disconcerting - there is a little bit of a delay between when the flash occurs (which is generally where the timing is done) and the sound of the burst.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    When we did our concert at Hadleigh Castle with GUS a few years back we used 1812 and it was very effective, if extremely loud with the fireworks exploding directly overhead. Other possibilities for the music could include the Great Gate of Kiev or Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, but you have to accept that to some extent the band will be on a hiding to nothing once the pyrotechnics start!

    I don't know to what extent you wil be responsible for the organiation of the wider aspects of the event, but things can get extremely complicated, with various licences and safety requirements having to be met - including clearance from someone (British Airports Authority?) to ensure there will be no confusion caused to over-flying planes :eek:

    We had more people involved in the stewarding and safety aspects than were performing on stage, and that involved two bands!

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I hope you don't mind me sharing this story with you, which is kind of topic related. I find it rather amusing - apologies to those who know it already.

    The first performance of "Royal Fireworks" by Handel never really got started. Handel was commisioned to write the music for a Royal occasion at St James's Park. The band, (oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns and drums :eek: ), were sat in the upper tier of a specially built wooden construction, a bit like a fort. As soon as the first note was played, the fireworks began, the 'fort' caught fire, and the band quickly stopped playing and got out as quick as they could. :biggrin:
    Last edited: May 11, 2006
  6. ekimmort

    ekimmort Member

    Tega of 58 Sockholm Road, Hull, have organised the fireworks and band at a number of events. Contact David White. If you have a problem finding the telephone number PM me and I will send you it.
  7. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    There's actually a competition for this sort of thing in Southport every year, although they use pre-recorded classical music. They have 6 companies every year competing and it is very popular indeed (one set to Firebird Suite was amazing!).
    Only thing is, if you want a professional job it'll cost you professional money. I've done a couple of "1812+fireworks" jobs and they did pretty much consist of : 1. Wait till loud bit just before cannons would start (about 1/3 down last page of solo cornet part iirc!) 2. set off as many fireworks as possible!
    Not particularly synchronised, but effective all the same!
    Oh, and the last one I did (for another band) we played in a truck trailer with the side open, and the fireworks were set off from behind the trailer, which induced a slight panic when the smoke from the fireworks started curling over the top of the trailer - we did wonder if we were on fire.................
  8. David Pegram

    David Pegram Member

    We have done firework and laser concerts for a few years.We record the piece or pieces on a tape and send it to the firework company and they set in timings on comp.Great fund raiser,good luck.
  9. Euph Kidd

    Euph Kidd Member

    Thanks Everyone,

    I knew I'd get some decent advice on here! I'm going to get in touch with the organisers and see how much detail they've looked into-particularly the licencing etc!

  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The other one I forgot was that we also needed to notify the coastguard, but that was because the venue was within 4 miles of the coast - we had to ring them beforehand to get the go-ahead, and then had a set period in which to complete all the pyrotechnics, to make sure no-one reported it and thought it was an emergency flare etc ;)
  11. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    How about starting a thread on 'setting fire to music works'? I can think of a few candidates....


    Indeed, Tim Paton beat me to it in relating the story of Handel's Fireworks 'pyrotechnics'.

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