15 Aug, 2023
12 minutes

A Guide to Firework Competitions in the UK

We’re no strangers to the spectacle of firework competitions across the UK. These events, where the night sky becomes a canvas for dazzling displays of light and colour, are a testament to the artistry and precision of the country's top pyrotechnic companies. From the rhythmic explosions of the British Musical Fireworks Championship to the grandeur of the UK Festival of Fireworks, each competition offers a unique experience that leaves spectators in awe. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of UK firework competitions, exploring their history, the participating companies, and what makes each event unique.

Watching firework display from afar

British Firework Championships

History of the Championships

The British Firework Championships, also known as the National Firework Championships, is an annual event that began in 1997. The Plymouth-based championships were initiated by The Event Services Association (TESA), a trade body representing the outdoor events industry. Over the years, the event has grown in popularity and is now recognized as the premier annual firework display in the UK, attracting tens of thousands of spectators each August.

The Event Location

The championships take place in Plymouth, Devon, England, every August. The location is significant as it provides a stunning backdrop for the event, with the fireworks being launched over the Plymouth Sound. The event also features live music and a fun fair, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Participating Companies

Several notable companies participate in the British Firework Championships. Some of these include Sonic Fireworks, Europla Displays UK, and Phoenix Fireworks. Each company brings its unique style and creativity to the competition, contributing to the variety and excitement of the event.

What to Expect

Attendees of the British Firework Championships can expect a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. Each company puts on a ten-minute-long display, with three displays each night. In addition to the fireworks, there is usually a funfair to enjoy from 2pm, entertainment on stage from 6pm, and the fireworks begin at 9:30pm but you may need to check the official website for exact times.

Judging Criteria

The competition is judged by a panel of six judges, three from the professional community and three lay people. The competitors are judged on a list of attributes, including overall design, symmetry, and other factors that contribute to a memorable and impressive firework display.

Other Famous UK Firework Competitions

The Firework Championship at Belvoir Castle

Overview of the Event

The Firework Championship at Belvoir Castle is an annual event where the UK's top firework companies compete for the title of Firework Champion. This event is held at the historic Belvoir Castle, providing a stunning backdrop for the firework displays. Attendees can expect to see four thrilling firework displays, each lasting 10 minutes and perfectly choreographed to music.

Participating Companies

The competition sees participation from some of the best firework companies in the UK. These companies compete against each other, each showcasing their unique style and creativity through a 10-minute firework display. The companies are known for their technical prowess and ability to create breathtaking displays.

Unique Aspects

What sets the Firework Championship at Belvoir Castle apart is its unique setting. The historic Belvoir Castle adds a great atmosphere to the event, making the fireworks look even more spectacular. Additionally, the competition is unique in that it allows the audience to vote for their favourite display, adding an interactive element to the event.

Judging Criteria

The competition is judged based on a number of factors. Each company's display is evaluated on its design, choreography, and overall impact. The audience also plays a role in the judging process, with their votes contributing to the final decision. This combination of professional judgment and audience participation ensures a fair and exciting competition.

British Musical Fireworks Championship

Event Description

The British Musical Fireworks Championship is a pyro-musical competition that takes place annually in Southport. This event is unique as it combines the beauty of fireworks with the rhythm of music. Over the course of three nights, competitors battle it out to be crowned the ultimate winner, creating a spectacle that leaves the audience in awe.

Music and Fireworks

In this competition, the fireworks are not just fired randomly but are choreographed to music, creating a mesmerizing blend of light and sound. This synchronization of music and fireworks is what sets this event apart from others. The displays are not only visually stunning but also provide an auditory treat, making it a truly multisensory experience.

Event Location

The British Musical Fireworks Championship takes place in Victoria Park, Southport. The park provides an ideal setting for the event, with ample space for spectators and a clear view of the sky for the firework displays.

Judging Criteria

The competition is judged on several criteria. Each display is evaluated on its artistic merit, variety of effects and music, technical merit, and overall performance. The panel of judges includes individuals with extensive pyrotechnic experience, ensuring a fair and thorough evaluation of each display.

The UK Festival of Fireworks

Festival Details

The UK Festival of Fireworks is an annual event that celebrates the artistry of pyrotechnics. This prestigious festival, organized by Jubilee Fireworks, is held at Catton Hall in Derbyshire. It features four leading firework companies that showcase their skills by creating spectacular displays choreographed to music. This event is considered one of the greatest firework spectacles in the UK, offering an unforgettable experience for all attendees.

Participating Companies

The festival features four leading firework companies that compete to create the most spectacular display. These companies are renowned for their expertise in pyrotechnics and their ability to create breathtaking displays that light up the night sky. Each company brings a unique flair to their display, making each performance a unique spectacle.

Spectator Experience

As a spectator at the UK Festival of Fireworks, you can expect an evening filled with awe-inspiring displays of pyrotechnics. The festival is held in the attractive grounds of Catton Hall, providing a beautiful backdrop for the firework displays. The event is not just about the fireworks; it's about the entire experience. From the moment the gates open, attendees are immersed in an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.

Judging Criteria

While the UK Festival of Fireworks is a spectacle for the audience, it's also a competition for the participating companies. Each company's display is evaluated based on a set of criteria. However, the specific judging criteria for the UK Festival of Fireworks are not publicly disclosed, adding an element of suspense to the event. The competition aspect adds an extra layer of excitement to the festival, as spectators can speculate on which company will take home the top prize.

World Firework Championships Blackpool

Event Overview

The World Firework Championships Blackpool is a prestigious event that gathers the crème de la crème of the world's firework elite. It promises a series of shows with jaw-dropping entertainment. The stunning displays, set to music, take place over the beach in front of The Blackpool Tower, making it a unique spectacle for all attendees.

Event Schedule

The World Firework Championships Blackpool takes place over three nights in the autumn. The dates for the 2023 event are Saturday 16 September, Saturday 30 September, and Friday 20 October. Each event starts from around 7:30 pm, with the first fireworks firing from approximately 8:30 pm.

Unique Aspects

What sets the World Firework Championships Blackpool apart is the international firework competition aspect. Competitors from across the globe pit against each other, making it a truly global event. Moreover, the stunning displays are set to music and take place over the beach in front of The Blackpool Tower, adding to the unique charm of the event. The fact that all these displays are free to access makes it even more appealing to spectators.

Judging Criteria

The World Firework Championships Blackpool is judged by a panel of local judges. The winners are chosen based on the quality of their synchronised display. In the past, judges have noted that it was almost impossible to separate the entrants, indicating the high level of competition and quality of the displays. The judging panel praises the outstanding quality of the synchronised displays, particularly those that incorporate music from their respective nations effectively.

How to Get Involved

Local Firework Events

From the north to the south, the UK is home to a plethora of local firework events that captivate audiences with their dazzling displays. These smaller firework events, often organized by local communities or councils, provide a platform for local pyrotechnic companies to showcase their skills or even support a charity event with fireworks. This makes them a perfect place to start if you need guidance on firework event planning. They also serve as a great way for locals and tourists alike to come together and enjoy a night of spectacular visuals and community spirit. Some of these events include the annual Bonfire Night celebrations, local festivals, and charity events.

Kenilworth Castle Fireworks Gala

The Kenilworth Castle Fireworks Gala is a notable local firework event that takes place annually at the historic Kenilworth Castle. Organized by the Kenilworth Round Table, this event is a highlight of the local calendar and attracts spectators from far and wide. The gala features a stunning firework display set against the backdrop of the castle, creating a truly magical atmosphere. The event is scheduled for the 5th of November each year, coinciding with Bonfire Night celebrations across the UK.

Bonfire Night Events

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is a significant event celebrated on the 5th of November. It commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, where Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Today, it is marked with bonfires and firework displays across the country. These events range from small community gatherings to large-scale public displays. Some of the best Bonfire Night firework displays can be found at Alexandra Palace in London, Lewes in Sussex, and Legoland Windsor. There are also private and corporate firework events that you might be invited to.

The UK is a hub for firework competitions and events, each offering a unique blend of spectacle, history, and community spirit. From the prestigious British Firework Championships in Plymouth to the musical extravaganza in Southport, these events showcase the best of pyrotechnic artistry. The Firework Championship at Belvoir Castle and the UK Festival of Fireworks at Catton Hall add to the diversity of these events. The international competition at the World Firework Championships Blackpool further elevates the UK's status in the global firework scene. Lastly, local events like the Kenilworth Castle Fireworks Gala and Bonfire Night celebrations bring communities together, creating unforgettable experiences. Whether you're a firework enthusiast or a casual spectator, these events promise a visual feast that lights up the UK's skies.

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