We received a call from Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club asking us to quote for the provision of Flames Effects at their home matches. We were very excited about this because we monitor as many of the events in the UK that we can and we were well aware of the large scale event production that Wolves put on for their fans each match day at the Molineux Stadium.
Certain information came to light in the following weeks that turned this proposal and job activation into one of the most challenging and time consuming we have ever completed.
Unfortunately, Wolves’ previous SFX supplier had an accident at a game in January 2018 which resulted in a pyrotechnic comet being fired into the crowd. It hit the roof and ricocheted back down causing some minor injuries, but thankfully nothing more serious. This was the second pyrotechnic incident to take place at the stadium (the first back in 2003), so the council banned any further special effects displays at the stadium.
For that reason, we had two major challenges – firstly to prove to Wolves that we should be their preferred supplier going forward, and then if successful, convince the local council that we can operate safely to ensure that no further incidents take place.
We prepared a strong professional proposal and were selected by Wolves due to our vast experience and safety record. The council were willing to discuss the further operation of special effects, but as they were not experts in the field of pyrotechnics, they employed an independent safety advisor to oversee our activity.
The first decision was to just focus on re-introducing Flames to Molineux as these were deemed a lower risk due to the smaller safety distances required as well as there being no projectiles.
We then undertook a total review of all of our working practices and completely rewrote our Risk Assessment and Method Statement, implementing some new procedures specifically around communication protocols and marshaling of the safety zones – good practice which we have now rolled out across all of our events.
We have successfully re-introduced high impact flame displays at the stadium, successfully firing over 25 shows in one year. The pre-match entertainment at Wolves is regarded as the best in the country and we have been commended on our working practices, which we have rolled out across all of our events.
Most of our flame shows involve 16 flame jets synchronised to a selection of music tracks. We utilise 12 crew members per game – the majority of whom we have sourced locally, all of which are now experienced and highly valued team members.