Special Effects for Livewire Festival
Livewire Festival is a three day event held at the Tower Arena in Blackpool, located right on the famous beachfront. This years line up included a much anticipated comeback for Will Smith performing as The Fresh Prince alongside Jazzy Jeff, featuring old school classics and debuting a new release as well. The duo had just flown in from Croatia as part of a European Tour with Blackpool the final stop before retuning home the US. Will Smith is a huge fan of pyrotechnics so he and his team had specified a large scale production and that’s what we delivered.
There were several challenges to overcome on this job, most notably that the show was not designed by us, we were recruited to supply the special effects, program the firing system, and rig the products on and around the stage then supervise the event. The actual show design was the work or Eddie Romack from Strictly FX in the U.S, he’s Will Smiths pyro lead.
So we had to work closely with Eddie to deliver his vision, which was made difficult by the 8 hour time difference and the very short time we had to deliver the product, only 3 weeks. The scope of the show meant this was one of the larger productions we had produced, requiring a wide range and quantity of special effects products , including Roof pyro, stage pyro, CO2 jets and Flames.
The first issue we needed to overcome was the supply of the itemised pyrotechnics Eddie had requested. Not all the effects, which are available in the U.S., are stocked in the U.K. or could not be produced in time. We therefore had to access the requirements compile a list of suitable alternatives from our own stock and all the UK suppliers for Eddie to choose from.
The second issue was the complex programming requirements which Eddie had specified. The start of the show was dramatic with Will Smith rising up through a hole in the stage, through a cloud of smoke to a huge and rapid chase sequence of pyrotechnic gerbs across the whole width of the stage. This required us to fire 60 products in only 3 seconds. We had to contact our firing systems manufacturer to check that the system had the capacity to complete this ambitious task. After much conversation and testing, we decided to add in extra hardware to ensure every item would fire at the 1 tenth of a second timing.
Will Smith’s love for pyrotechnics was not shared by his great friend Jazzy Jeff, who was not a fan of the loud bangs and flashes. SO prior to the performance it was suggested by Eddie that we let him fire a little pyro of his own to get him on board. At the end of the rehearsal we surprised him in the DJ booth and let him fire the ‘boom box’ as he called it. He recorded the whole thing on Social Media and has taken his first step to becoming a qualified pyrotec.
The results were spectacular, the show was a huge hit and the crowd went crazy. Will rose up through the stage, “tic tic tic BOOM” the opening pyrotechnic sequence fired perfectly. Eddie was really happy with what we delivered and here is what he had to say.
To find out about the individual products used as part of our pyrotechnics services, please click the image below.