Southport BMFC

Discussion in 'Firework Events And Displays' started by Illusion Fireworks, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Pyro Pete

    Pyro Pete Forum Editor

    I'm not a pro firer or have taken part in any pro-level competition but this has been a fantastic thread to read with some amazing input from various people directly involved, one of my favourite threads for ages, so thanks to everyone who has had their say.
  2. Delly67

    Delly67 Supports UKFR

    Very interesting stuff. There must be a balance to be had somewhere. Speaking as a "spectator" I would obviously hope that every competitor were putting on the best show they could. Such events are about entertainment after all. Joe public doesn't care about budget or how much time and effort goes into these events. They don't care who is making a profit or loss. They pay their money to be entertained. Obviously members of this forum are far more aware of these issues. So the average spectator is going to say all competitors number one priority should be to "entertain".

    Organisers, and lets be honest here, are doing it for profit. Events like these bring in tourists to the area as well as the crews. That puts £££££s into the local economy. So from their point of view they also want the competitors to entertain. I strongly suspect that any company that fails to do that won't be getting invited back.

    So what do the competitors get out of it? Why do you enter? To win so you can put "Champions" on your website and perhaps get a few more paying jobs out of it? Pride and a bit of back slapping from your peers? Spreading your name? Fun? Any and all of the above and similar reasons would surely mean that you are going to put on the best show you can and to hell with cost.

    If however you are doing it for money, treating it like a paying job then lets be honest your show will be poorer than those who are doing it for the above reasons.

    Joe Public "assumes" you are there to Win so again a poor show only really reflects badly on the company. Not great for business I suspect.

    I have never been lucky enough to attend one of these events in person but I very much enjoy watching the videos, sometimes many times over. I think they are great for the industry and for the hobby I love. I think that on the whole the companies involved are to be commended and I very much appreciate the time, money and effort that goes in to them and and thank them all for that, winners and runners up alike. BUT, and this is only my personal opinion, I think that if there is to be a TRUE DEFINITIVE competition it has to be open to all and has to have a clear SET budget and very clear guidelines and rules. Only on a completely level and open playing field can you ever have a definitive champion. Like motor racing where annual budgets are now set for ALL teams or boxing were do do not see a flyweight fighting a heavyweight. Saying that I take NOTHING away from current, past and future winners who continue to do British Pyrotechniques proud. WELL DONE ALL OF YOU
    Dodgey likes this.
  3. Pauld201

    Pauld201 Pro Firer/Crew

    No but whatever the budget is for this comp (£10k was it?) had this show been a standard paid event, wedding etc would it have been coincided disappointing or taking the piss?

    I’ve not had a chance to watch the show yet, sure if the design was really bad and it wasn’t down to some kind of failed equipment etc. Then that’s bad but if it was simply light on content compared to the others because they spent within the budget?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  4. smudger69

    smudger69 Pro Firer/Crew

    Kimbolton put on a 'showpiece' display rather than compete due to standing in at the last minute. I assume that they were given a budget the same as the other teams. So I have to assume that they would have made something out of it. They wouldn't have made a loss when there was no chance of winning. And whilst it wasn't on the scale of Illlusion or Blitz it left Firework Effects display in its wake.
    So if im correct in my assumptions then to me (just opinion) you can put a quality display on within budget. Even if you know you won't win, we enter these competitions to entertain. Firework Effects didn't do this. It wasn't even a nice cheap display. If I'd have paid for it id be wanting my money back.
  5. Dynamite Fireworks

    Dynamite Fireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    If you’d have paid 10k for a wedding display and received what was sent up you’d have been quite rightly furious. It was just simply not good enough whether it a competition display or not.
  6. We are a small company in fact less than 6 months old. Would we compete given the opportunity for something like Plymouth or Southport probably not mainly due to hardware but for a smaller competition like firework champs I would be like a chimp in a banana factory. Would I take a loss I would say yes as it would be a gamble but win lose or draw its then about marketing your showcase to the max. In this modern world the easiest way to sell or promote is social media so Facebook would be sick of me for weeks after it but in my opinion that's how you get the extra work.
    Duncan likes this.
  7. Dodgey

    Dodgey Pro Firer/Crew

    That's not really a relevant comparison. We attend (and pay to) wedding fairs for a very specific reason. For my company, it is to sell shows at just one hotel where we do all the fireworks. I pay £75 (its a small faire) and most of the time, I end up speaking to people that have already booked us. It is more of a PR exercise with the hotel and their clients. Other fairs are specifically for selling wedding displays. As a side note - we stopped doing them as 99.9% of the "brides" are tyre kickers. I can get a whole A4 sheet of leads of "definites", being the only firework company there, and get not one reply from the follow up emails. Seems a lot of chunky ladies are there for the cake :)

    For my company, I would not see a comp as a marketing opportunity. I really don't want £800 weddings in Wolverhampton off the back of a comp in Southport, and I am , unlike Karl anda few others, not aiming for stadium displays and London NYE. I have much smaller ambitions. I love what I do and I make sure it pays, but I have other means of income (another business) and have no intention of being run ragged and super busy fast approaching 50 :)

    Music support acts are there to get exposure and build a fan base. A fan base is sod all use to me. I want customers, not fans :) The odds of someone organising a wedding, then deciding they will have fireworks, and then thinking, "oh, lets use that company from the fireworks competition, you know, what was their name?" - are slim. Almost all of them are looking for the cheapest deal sadly. Though, there are still plenty that value quality.

    The problem with , "If you don't want to / can't risk a loss, both financially and competitively, don't take part, it's really that simple" , is that there are a shortage of companies willing to enter the comps, so it really isn't "that simple". As I've said, I'd enter, and lay on a good show, but not at a loss. I'd not be doing it for prestige or business, I'd be doing it for personal gratification, the challenge, and to hear everyone enjoy the show. I'd certainly not be paying for people to enjoy it.

    I suspect you don't own a display company?
    RocketRev and blackbat like this.
  8. eyeoftime

    eyeoftime Pro Firer/Crew

    A 'fan base' is exactly what you want! or to be more precise... 'Likes'. These competitions (if you win, or at least place) are an amazing marketing opportunity, you will almost certainly gain a further following on social media (maybe a competitor could jump in here and back em up on that) which then promotes word of mouth and therefore potential future business. Increasing your outreach like this can only be a good thing. Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages, social media is a major method that modern day business uses to market to the general public, facebook is especially good at targeted advertising.

    You suspect right, but does that matter? I have a good background in business, and I am close enough to a display company to know the ins and outs of the industry.
  9. AtomFireworks

    AtomFireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    Just to share my experience, after winning two mle comps and coming second this year we have had one, yes one customer directly from a win.

    So really the " doing it for future custom" ideology is flawed, I think it was shockwave I spoke to a number of years ago and they had a similar experience. Yes with good marketing after a win you could drum up new custom, however you could probably do the same without a win.....

    The reason I compete is for the opportunity to design and fire shows of that caliber. It isnt often we get that opportunity.

  10. pyroplayer

    pyroplayer Pro Firer/Crew

    Lots of people throwing around fictional budgets...I think you'd be surprised at how low the budget actually is for Southport...

    Great discussion by the way, lots of view points and everyone is 100% entitled to them :)

    I think to support the industry going forward the budgets do need to increase however, the show complexity is getting higher across the industry in general, so it should be kept inline to encourage a variety of entries each year.
    scoops likes this.
  11. How much do companies receive to enter Southport & Plymouth
  12. Plymouth £10,000 plus Vat
    Southport £7,000 plus Vat

    Prize money is circa £5k
    The big bang theory and luke like this.
  13. Chesterfield Fireworks

    Chesterfield Fireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    Ok, let's just say it was no where near a 10k commercial show.
  14. Firework Champions

    In recent years we introduced a budget cap on product to ensure companies can compete without losing money this despite some very vociferous opposition. A proposed lower NEC limit at the time was not implemented because of pressure by some teams, this was intended to cap the displays in both budget and powder weight, which would have reduced the overheads of providing a showcase for the smaller companies without taking anything away from those who have more resources.

    Firework Champions has provided a stage for up and coming fireworks companies to stretch themselves and delve into the competition scene, in an environment where they know rules are not there to be ridden over due to lax adjudication and stretchy interpretation, also where the judging process is as fair and open as is humanly possible where the audience vote and therefore takes away the ‘if your face fits’ element from the competition.

    We have on a few occasions discussed an igniter value to be introduced into the mix in an attempt to reduce the overall burden of material cost and rigging times, that was met with similar dislike but might well appear at Firework Champions at some point.

    Great efforts (and expense) go into improving Firework Champions each year and that won't be stopping any time soon with state of the art sound systems, live video production and lasers added recently to improve the overall experience for those that come to our events in their thousands to witness the talent our industry provides.

    We are welcoming new teams to the 2019 events and if you are interested in taking part drop me an email.

    pyroplayer, elmo, Exbombhead and 3 others like this.
  15. Matthew Tosh

    Matthew Tosh Pro Firer/Crew

    I am another person who has thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

    The concept of a fair and square, accessible playing field for all who want to compete is a rosy image, but (for many of the reasons already stated) it would be extremely complex to achieve, not least because of directly conflicting issues.

    I know, for a fact, that spending by several local councils is under close scrutiny. Central government funding has taken a nose dive; Sefton's tourism budget has been totally hammered (which is where the budget for BMFC is taken), so the tourism department is under immense pressure to run hugely successful events and draw decent profits, just to stay afloat and be able to run the events in the following year. I am aware of at least one council tourism department in England which has to become fully self-sufficient as its funding allocation is being stopped completely. It is total madness and extremely short-sighted. So whilst I agree that a budget increase is more than overdue for these shows, I think it would be an extremely tough one to get through.

    And yes, I am fully aware that costs are rising for all of us in the industry too. This is my point - conflicting issues.
  16. Dodgey

    Dodgey Pro Firer/Crew

    It matters because saying, "If you don't want to / can't risk a loss, both financially and competitively, don't take part, it's really that simple" is easy when it's not your money :)
    AtomFireworks and Sean Smythe like this.
  17. Blitz Fireworks

    Blitz Fireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    This was our entry in to the competition and this is the official video, cheers
    Mupps, scoops and Illusion Fireworks like this.
  18. Blitz Fireworks

    Blitz Fireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    This was our entry in to Firework Champions at Newby Hall.

  19. I received a package this morning and opening it up to find what was inside is probably one of the most memorable moments of my career in fireworks to date, absolutely overwhelmed, this to me has meant so much more than a trophy or prize :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2018
  20. Pyro Pete

    Pyro Pete Forum Editor

    Wow, what a wonderful gesture and kind comments.
    Illusion Fireworks likes this.