On Saturday night I worked on the pryotechnics for the 'Burntwater' show by Tangled Feet, for Transported in Spalding. I've done fire shows before, and have had a go with some big fireworks, but I'd never done stage pyrotechnics before so this was going to be a big learning experience for me. I was very excited!
It involved two very long days and very late nights. The Friday before the show we arrived on site in Spalding at about 2pm, where there were loads of people buzzing about setting up the stage area which was on the banks of the river, and rehearsing. The audience would be sat on the opposite bank. Over the next few hours we unloaded and positioned most of the fire equipment which included two tall brazier stacks, and a gas powered sculpture. There was a rehearsal towards the end of the evening as it was starting to go dark, and this was where I had to learn when to fire all the pyro from my little control tent hidden amongst the reeds. I had a cue sheet, but we had to make a lot of notes because, as usually happens with this sort of thing, there were a lot of last minute changes. We had started laying the wiring for the pyro during the course of the afternoon, but didn't get much done before it went dark and it became impractical. It left us a lot of work to do the next day.
Saturday morning we arrived on site at about 10:30 and this time there was nobody else there. It was also absolutely chucking it down. Luckily although it was torrential, it was only a shower, and then the sun came out so we dried off pretty fast. Laying out the wiring for the pyro took most of the rest of the day, and the task was made more difficult by the fact that we had to waterproof everything because of the continuting downpours. By the time the rest of the crew started arriving on site at around 4 the riverbank where we were working had become very slippery and muddy, as had I. But without too much rushing we got everything ready to go in good time. My position for the show was right next to the water below the stage, hiding in a black tent with the firing board and my radio attached to my ear.
The show went pretty much to plan, there was only one set of pyro that didn't fire because it turned out that despite our best efforts it had got a bit damp, which considering how much rain there had been through the day was quite good going. Still, disappointing not to get a full run.
The worst part of any show is the clear up afterwards - the show was at 9 and lasted about 20 minutes, and we didn't leave the site until about 1am. Two long days and nights left us all pretty tired, but now I know how to wire up fireworks I will definitely be looking for an opportunity to use this skill again!
Here's a few photos I took during set up, when I had chance! More (and better) photos can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16521384@NO7/sets/72157646170152465/page2/ and a video about the wider project can be found here: http://tangledfeet.com/burntwater/