The Scottish League Cup sponsored by BETFRED provides the first opportunity for teams to compete for the first piece of silverware each season. The showpiece final is always held at Hampden Park in Glasgow, usually in December of each year.
The biggest obstacle during these events is its scale – it’s one of our larger productions ans this presents positive challenges for us. Often we have at least ten crew members in the stadium when it’s time for kick-off, we manage multiple flame units and positions of pyrotechnics covering the whole perimeter of the stadium, and we rig the entire roof with fireworks for the trophy presentation.
By having so many product locations spread across a wide area, it’s not possible for the lead firer to have a clear visual line of sight on all the products at once to ensure that the safety zones are clear of people and that it’s safe to commence the firing.
Through our years of experience and work with an external health and safety consultant, we have developed a very systematic and robust approach to managing multiple firing positions within a stadium environment. It involves splitting the areas into a number of clearly defined zones, each one having an experienced Team Leader monitoring the area and supervising the other crew. Barriers are used in some locations to prevent people entering our safety zones. We can also utilise different firing systems and have a separate manager to control an area such as the roof, effectively dividing the responsibility between our team of managers.
The teams finishing their warm up and returning to the dressing room is our cue to get ready for the show. The products are moved to their final pre-designated positions and everyone in the near vicinity is briefed about what’s going to happen. Pre-show product checks are completed to ensure the wireless controller is communicating with all of the devices.
A specific radio communication procedure is then completed, lead by the event manager who will be firing the display. The Team Leaders respond in turn and then it’s radio silence, with only emergency communication permitted, for example if someone has breached the safety area or if there is a problem with a piece of the equipment.
The players are in the tunnel, the fans are cheering, the music is playing and we’re just waiting for our cue to press the flashing red button on our controller… then we’re off. We have to remain vigilant throughout the display as we can still encounter a safety breach or an issue, so we keep focused until the display is complete.
Finally, the system is disarmed and the call is given to de-rig ready for the match to commence. We then wait for the final whistle to commence ready for the trophy presentation.