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Ready for Bonfire Night 2019? Our last-minute tips for a spectacular (and safe) evening

Fireworks – check. Wood for the bonfire – check. Hot chocolate – check.

If you’re in charge of festivities for fireworks night 2019, you’re very nearly ready for an epic evening. But to make sure everything goes smoothly, safely and spectacularly, there are a final few things to add to your list.

Here’s our guide to those essential last-minute preparations…

Are your fireworks safely stored?

You don’t want anything to go wrong at the last minute, so it’s worth doing an extra check on your fireworks before the big night. They should be somewhere dry, away from sources of heat. It’s also crucial to keep them behind lock and key, and away from children.

Get a great pair of gloves

Unless we get an unseasonal heat wave, it’s definitely going to be cold on November 5th. Anyone involved in lighting fireworks and managing the display will need a great pair of gloves. They’ll need to keep you warm and provide protection from the pyrotechnics, but still offer full dexterity and range of movement.

Check the bonfire

If it’s been dry and your bonfire is already built, remember to check in case hedgehogs or other animals have nestled inside. Make sure the bonfire away from fences and trees, as these could accidentally be set alight.

You’ll need plenty of water for putting the fire out, and remember to tie hair up and avoid loose-fitting clothing as these can be a hazard. Bonfires should be supervised at all times.

Sparkler preparation

To make sure sparklers are used and put out safely, have some buckets of cold water available. You may also want to designate someone to supervise children using sparklers, making sure they wear gloves and don’t wave them too close to other people. Sparklers should never be put in pockets, and they aren’t recommended for the under-5s.

Check the weather

Rain doesn’t have to spoil your fun, but you will need to make some extra preparations to avoid a washout. Think about how you’ll keep fireworks dry and fire them in wet conditions – get in touch with the 1st Galaxy team if you need advice on this. And make sure spectators have somewhere to shelter to watch the show.

It’s also worth looking at the forecast for wind. The strength and direction of the wind will affect the fallout zone of your fireworks, which is where they will land. Your site should be planned with a safe fallout zone, one away from spectators, buildings and roads, and you wouldn’t want this to change if the wind picks up.

Read through the instructions one more time

Even if you’ve used fireworks many times before, it’s always a smart idea to give the safety and firing instructions a final read-through. If you’re unsure about anything, always seek advice well in advance so that you can be confident, competent and safe on the night.

For last-minute fireworks for Bonfire Night 2019, plus expert advice on running your own display, get in touch with 1st Galaxy Fireworks.

1st Galaxy Fireworks wins the British Firework Championships 2019!

Big news! We’re delighted to reveal that our dedicated pyrotechnics team have taken home the top prize at the British Firework Championships 2019, which was held in Plymouth on 14th and 15th August.

We battled it out against three other incredible teams, among them some of the best in the country. With such tough competition, we couldn’t have been prouder when the result was announced. A huge thanks to all of our supporters!

Thank you, Plymouth Hoe!

The British Firework Championships is always a major event in the calendar for Plymouth, where the event is held annually. It always attracts a huge crowd, and it’s a thrilling event for both fireworks professionals and enthusiasts alike. Every year, it promises the biggest and best displays from industry-leading experts, so it really is a spectacle worth seeing.

2019’s event was the 23rd annual British Firework Championships. Hosted by Plymouth City Council and The Event Services Association (TESA), it was held at Plymouth Hoe, a huge public space on the limestone cliffs next to the seafront.

With its waterside position, the Hoe proved to be the perfect location for fireworks – with the sparkling lights, colours and breathtaking effects looking simply incredible reflected in the water of Plymouth Sound. Our team absolutely loved the experience – what a fantastic location for the greatest show in the country! It’s easy to see why the Championships comes back to Plymouth each year… This isn’t our first time at the event.. We have previously taken both 3rd and 2nd place.. so perhaps this was our year to Win !!

All the displays were fired from the Mount Batten breakwater, giving spectators on the Hoe itself or the Citadel the very best views. Tens of thousands of spectators across the city enjoyed the show, which started at dusk (around 9.30pm). However, there was a fantastic free entertainment offer available throughout the day, with families enjoying fairground rides, music and food from 2pm on the Hoe. We were lucky enough to avoid the rain, getting great conditions for fireworks by the time the first Aerial Shell was fired.

A tough competition – huge congratulations to our fellow teams

1st Galaxy Fireworks competed against the very best pyrotechnics experts in the country, each putting on their own unique 10-minute display. We were blown away by Phoenix Fireworks and Nemesis Fireworks on Wednesday 14th August, but our heartfelt commiserations to Aurora Fireworks who had to bow out due to technical problems.

Joining us to showcase our very best work on Thursday 15th August was Illusion Fireworks and Selstar Fireworks, the latter of whom went onto win the Champion of Champions prize, a separate competition running alongside the main event – congratulations to all the team at Selstar!

After every team had put on their very best performance, 1st Galaxy was crowned the British Firework Champion 2019 and we very proudly accepted the prize on stage.

Commenting on the event, deputy council leader Pete Smith told the Plymouth Herald:

“All the firework companies worked incredibly hard to put on a truly spectacular show that was enjoyed by thousands of people in Plymouth.”

We can’t wait for our next major competition event up in Southport at the British Pyromusical Championships ….. we hope to see you there !

Can fireworks ever look good in the daytime?

Fireworks look incredible against the backdrop of a dark night sky. The colours and lights stand out beautifully, and you can see every star, sparkle and detail. But what about in the daytime – is it possible for fireworks to look great in daylight, or is it a waste of money?

Reasons to have daytime fireworks displays

There are lots of reasons why you may want or need to have a fireworks display in the day. In fact, there is a surprising demand for daytime displays.

Daytime fireworks are often used for corporate events, parties and product launches, as well as part of sporting celebrations – set off as the winners cross the finish line or take to the podium. You’ll also find them at fetes, fairs and community events, as well as weddings.

You may find that you have no choice but to set off your fireworks before it goes properly dark. A prime example of this is at the height of summer, where sunset isn’t until after 9pm or even later. If you’re planning a wedding or party at this time of year, you’ll need to be very mindful of both sunset times and local authority rules about setting off fireworks.

Family-friendly events may need to have their fireworks display earlier, before the kids go to bed. Meanwhile, other kinds of celebrations may need to start earlier due to concerns over upsetting neighbouring properties.

Special types of daytime fireworks

If you’re planning a daylight display, there’s good news. There’s a small but growing category of fireworks that are specially designed to be used in the daylight. These products focus on creating striking colour and a range of brilliant effects that don’t require the dark of the evening to really shine.

These fireworks can even be combined with other effects such as confetti projectors or mines and smoke fountains – all to create a surprisingly exciting daytime show.

Daytime displays can also be said to have one advantage over night-time shows, and this is the element of surprise. No one will be expecting pyrotechnics before it gets dark, so you can really pull off a spectacular surprise!

For an effective day display, call in the experts

While specialist daylight fireworks do exist, it can be difficult to pull off an amazing display without the contrast of the dark sky to play off. This is why it could be a good idea to call in the professionals, especially if you’re planning a corporate event that needs to impress.

Display experts such as the 1st Galaxy Fireworks team have ample experience in all kinds of displays, from large to small, day to night. They can help you to choose the right products, combine effects and produce a jaw-dropping daytime display that really is worth the money. Even better, they’ll clean everything up for you once it’s all over. You never know, daytime fireworks could really start to catch on!

To find out more about fireworks display planning with 1st Galaxy, get in touch.

5 of the best quiet fireworks

If you’re having a little celebration, or you just want to avoid annoying the neighbours, quiet fireworks are a good bet. Some types can also be used for special effects, to make a splash at corporate events like product launches, awards ceremonies and presentations.

But how do you know which are the quiet fireworks? For starters, all fireworks should have a decibel rating. When you shop with a specialist like 1st Galaxy Fireworks, you’ll also find another noise rating from 1 (Low Noise) all the way through to 5 (Mega Loud). This makes it easier to identify the low noise pyrotechnics.

Here’s our pick of 5 of the best quiet fireworks for all kinds of occasions:

  1. Topaz Fanned Falling Leaves Battery

This is one of the prettiest low noise fireworks, perfect for displays in larger back gardens in residential or built-up areas. This pack gives you 49 shots of coloured stars which drift gently down to earth. These Category 3 fireworks are rated 1 – Low Noise, giving you a sky full of green and red fan-shape stars to complement the rest of your display.

  1. Mixed Smoke Fountains

If you’re looking for a really different effect for your wedding photographs, why not try a smoke fountain? This pack of five colours – red, orange, blue, green and orange – is low noise and lasts around 40 seconds. It can be used for all kinds of occasions, from parties and music videos to big events.

  1. Strobe Bengal Fountain

This fascinating firework creates a super bright silver strobing effect as it burns, which illuminates the surroundings in a ‘spooky’ light. Needless to say, this is a perfect choice for Halloween. Each of this pack of 3 low-noise special effects lasts a full minute, so it’s a good value product. You’ll need to leave a safety distance of 8 metres between the firework and your spectator.

  1. Ice Fountains

Ice fountains are the perfect way to add some theatre and sparkle to that exciting moment the birthday cake is brought into the room at a party. The lights go down, everyone starts singing, but instead of candles – the cake is alight with fireworks!  These Category 1 fireworks are safe to use indoors, you just need to leave a safety distance of 1 metre. They are often used for birthdays, anniversaries and in restaurants and bars too.

  1. Roman Candles

This type of firework has been popular for centuries, and it’s great for all kinds of occasions. Choose this multi-shot pack of candles (4 x 10 shot) and get ready for colourful shells popping out of the tube one after another, with a delightfully suspenseful pause in between each one. These are Category 2 fireworks which only need a safety distance of around 8 metres, which makes them perfect for back garden displays. They offer a good height, great effects and hardly any noise – so your neighbours and their pets will be happy!

If you need any help choosing quiet fireworks, feel free to get in touch with the 1st Galaxy team for friendly, expert advice.

DIY vs. professional wedding fireworks – how to make the best choice for your big day

Weddings can be expensive, no matter how hard you try to keep costs down. One of the most popular ways to save money is to handle some parts of the planning yourselves.

But does this DIY approach work for your wedding fireworks?  Let’s take a look at a few of the key things to consider ahead of your big day.

The venue

The first roadblock to your plans of throwing your own fireworks display could be the venue. Many venues will insist that you use a professional display organiser. DIY fireworks may not meet the requirements of their insurance policies, and venue owners may also be concerned about safety and potential damage to property – as well as the clean-up afterwards.

The benefit of using a professional company such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks is that we can liaise directly with the venue on your behalf. This means handling all of the communication about site plans, firing zones, setup and logistics. So you can get on with the other million or so items on your list!

On-the-day management

If you are getting hitched in a venue that permits DIY fireworks, consider carefully who will manage the display for you on the day. You’ll be relaxing and enjoying your big day, and your friends and family will want to do the same. The person (or ideally, the team) running the display will need to be responsible, safety-conscious and above all, sober. They won’t be able to have a drink until the display is over, which could be quite late on as your fireworks will be set off when it gets dark.

The quality of the display

When you work with professionals, they can use their expertise to plan a custom, pro quality show just for you. It’ll be well-paced, personalised and use the very best quality fireworks.

Will you get the same effect when you let the best man and groomsmen loose on a bunch of fireworks you’ve bought online? They may be good quality pyrotechnics, but will the display actually be any good? The last thing you want after spending money on fireworks are huge, excitement-dampening pauses, before a confusing cluster of firings, or even a smoky scene as fireworks are inexpertly lit.

This won’t be a great way to top off the best day of your life, and it’ll look terrible in your wedding photos.


The last but just as crucial thing to consider is safety. It would be catastrophic if something were to go wrong, or if someone was to get hurt. It could be worth spending just a little more on your wedding fireworks for the peace of mind that your display is being taken care of by trained, experienced professionals.

If you have any questions at all about wedding fireworks or are ready to start planning the big bangs for your big day, just give the 1st Galaxy team a call on 0115 8559000 or email


Powerful fireworks and fallout zones – 6 tips for display organisers

Planning something really big for your next fireworks display? If you want to bring out the big rockets and powerful pyrotechnics, you’ll need to do a little extra planning. This is to firstly ensure you can carry out the display safely, but also so that your fireworks make maximum impact.

Here are 6 of the most important things to remember if you’re planning to use powerful fireworks:

  1. You can only use Category 1, 2 or 3 fireworks

Category 1 fireworks are for indoor use, Category 2 are for garden use and Category 3 is where you’ll find some of the largest fireworks on retail sale. These are display fireworks, and you’ll have plenty of big, loud and impressive products to choose from. There is a level above this, Category 4 fireworks, but you aren’t permitted to use these unless you’re a professional fireworks display operative.

  1. Your site needs to be large enough

The bigger and more powerful the firework, the more dangerous it could potentially be. If you’re using Category 3 fireworks, your site needs to large enough to accommodate a safety zone of at least 25 metres between the firing zone and the spectators. You’ll also need to leave room for a fallout zone.

  1. Plan a large fallout zone

Fireworks like display rockets, which come down to earth at speed and sometimes with some of the stick, casing and parts of the head still attached, can be dangerous. If you’re planning to use these, you’ll need to leave space for a large fallout zone – at least 50 metres or more. The fallout zone is where you expect fireworks to land, so should be clear space where the debris can be caught safely.

  1. Keep a close eye on the wind

Where you position your fallout zone, and the orientation of your whole site in fact, depends to a large degree on the wind. Keep a close eye on the forecast for the wind direction and speed ahead of your event, and be prepared to make last minute adjustments.

  1. Put the larger fireworks at the back

If you put the most powerful fireworks at the back, near to the fallout zone – and keep an eye on the wind direction – this gives you extra space between the big guns and the audience. You should also aim to angle the position of big fireworks like rockets slightly so that they will fly over the fallout zone, accounting again for the wind.

  1. You’ll need to keep your neighbours on side

If you’re planning something big, there’s the risk that you may annoy or upset your neighbours. Always, always inform them in advance, and perhaps invite them along or provide a small gift to apologise for any inconvenience. After all, it’s hard to be annoyed when you’re tucking into a complimentary box of chocolates!

If you need help planning a large fireworks display, consult the professionals at 1st Galaxy Fireworks – our experts will be happy to assist.   

How to spring a fireworks surprise

Want to throw a surprise fireworks display for a loved one? This can be a memorable way to pop the question, celebrate a wedding or simply give the gift of an amazing experience.

We’ve got all the tips you need to plan your surprise, keep it secret and make it truly special.

Check that the guest of honour likes surprises!

With any surprise party, there’s always the risk of it back-firing. Before you start your planning, make 100% sure that the person doesn’t mind surprises and that they won’t freak out if fireworks suddenly start going off. Surprised and a little awed is fine, mildly traumatised is absolutely not.

Get an accomplice

You won’t be able to pull off your surprise without a partner in crime. This important person will distract the guest of honour so they don’t see the surprise coming, as well as making an excuse to get them to the right place at the right time.

Keep your guests in the loop

So many surprises are spoiled because someone didn’t know it was supposed to be a secret, and accidentally let something slip. You need your guests on side, but you also need them to keep tight-lipped about your plans.

Concoct a cover story

You need a convincing reason for your guest of honour to be somewhere at a particular time. If it’s your wedding, this isn’t a problem. However, if it’s a surprise birthday party or you’re popping the question, you’ll need your accomplice to persuade the person that they’re actually going somewhere else for a different reason. They’ll need to believe it for the surprise to work.

You can even pull a little bluff. For example, tell your new bride that you know she wanted fireworks but you just couldn’t afford them – so you have just one symbolic firework to set off. Light the fuse, and watch her face as the whole sky erupts with light and colour as the real display starts. She’ll love it!

Get the venue on board

We’re afraid you’ll need even more conspirators if you want to pull off your big surprise. It’s very important to let the venue know what you’re planning, but you’ll also need their help to plan and execute it.

Bring in the professionals

It’s not impossible, but it is incredibly difficult, to pull off a secret fireworks display on your own. It’s recommended to consult a professional display planner like 1st Galaxy Fireworks, who can create a personalised show and plan it for you. This ensures that it looks gorgeous and crucially, professional – you don’t want your big surprise spoiled by amateur mistakes.

A team like 1st Galaxy can also sneak in and set up the display for you, starting it on your signal. Fireworks can be a difficult thing to hide, so it can be very helpful to have a professional team who’ve done this kind of thing before. We don’t mind hiding in the bushes if it means bowling your loved one over with a special surprise!

Get in touch on 0115 8559000 if you’ve got a crafty surprise plan in mind, we’ll be happy to help.

Firework waterfalls – how are they created?

A cascading waterfall of sparks and colours is one of the most mesmerising fireworks effects you’ll ever see. For some people, it’s even more impressive than a massive rocket exploding high in the sky. But how are waterfall firework effects actually created?

The first thing to note is that this effect is one best left to the experts. Products offering a cascade effect are available to buy for home displays, but a full waterfall takes experience, skill and the right equipment to get it set up right – and safely.

But for fireworks fans, here’s how a waterfall is made…

What waterfall fireworks look like

The waterfall effect is created when many shells are fired at exactly the same time and angle. They feature heavy, long-burning tailed stars that only travel a very short distance before they start to fall to the ground. This is what creates the waterfall effect, as the tails of the shell start to free-fall and arc gracefully towards the ground.

You’ll see individual fireworks – often called horsetail effect fireworks – used in displays. They create beautiful shapes as the shell arcs and starts to fall, leaving a trail of stars in the sky. However, it’s when they’re used in large numbers and close together that a waterfall effect is created.

‘Hanging’ a waterfall effect

What makes waterfall fireworks so incredibly effective is the way they are ‘hung’ from some sort of structure. Display organisers often use bridges, walls or other built structures for waterfall effects, particularly for special occasions like New Year’s Eve.

It’s also possible to construct your own hanging arrangement using specialist materials, so you can start your waterfall from anywhere. For example, you may want to hang your waterfall construction over a sports field ready for a big game, or to create a backdrop for a festival. There are lots of different create ways you can use waterfall effects, they all require quite a bit of planning but it’s always well worth it.

What kinds of fireworks are used in a waterfall?

In most waterfall displays, the organiser will choose a very slow burning fountain-type firework. This is fired upside-down from an elevated position, creating bright sparks which fall just like a waterfall.

A lot of careful planning has to be done to create just the right effect, and the composition of the firework has to be just right so that the tail of stars arcs and falls in just the right place. Many experts will create their own composition of fireworks to get the effect spot on, depending on the site and type of waterfall. Of course, this is not safe to do yourself and only suitable for the experts.

Love the idea of a waterfall at your next big event?

Contact the 1st Galaxy team to start planning – they’ve created jaw-dropping waterfalls in all kinds of colours for weddings, corporate events, birthdays and other celebrations. Call us on 0115 8559000 or contact us online to discuss your event.

10 things you absolutely need to know if you’re planning wedding fireworks

Having fireworks at your wedding? Excellent choice, as fireworks are the perfect way to top off an amazing day. If you’re in the middle of wedding planning chaos though, you’re going to need to get up to speed fast if you want to plan an epic display.

To help, here are the 10 things you absolutely must know if you’re planning wedding fireworks:

  1. You need a venue that allows fireworks

Before you do anything else, check with your wedding venue that they allow fireworks. Not all do, or some may place restrictions on their use (more on this below).

  1. Your site needs to be the right dimensions

If you’re planning on setting off fireworks, you need a display site that is large enough to keep a safe distance between spectators and the ‘firing zone’. A site that is 50m x 25m should be adequate, keeping your guests around 50-75m away from the fireworks. Don’t forget to look up, as some fireworks can reach heights of 100m – so you don’t want any overhead power cables or trees in the way!

  1. It’s against the law to set fireworks off after 11pm

You’ll need to factor this in when planning the schedule of the day. It can be tricky for summer weddings to find a time when it’s dark enough, but don’t leave it too late. You don’t want to upset the venue, the local authority and other guests.

  1. It absolutely makes sense to use a professional display organiser

Using a professional team will mean you get the very best professional display, where you don’t have to worry about a single detail. Everyone can enjoy a drink and relax while a crew like 1st Galaxy Fireworks handles every part of the planning, firing and tidying up.

  1. You can get a professional display from as little as £600

It isn’t actually that expensive to get a professional display, and it is well worth it. Choose an off-peak time (i.e. midweek) and 1st Galaxy Fireworks can offer a fabulous wedding package for just £500 plus VAT.

  1. If the venue doesn’t allow fireworks, consider quiet fireworks

One of the benefits of using professionals is that they can liaise with the venue on your behalf. If the venue initially says no to fireworks, you may be able to compromise with special quiet category fireworks which won’t create as much disturbance.

  1. Fireworks display packages can be customised

In many cases, you can add personalised touches to wedding fireworks packages such as your choice of colours, fire writing and much more. Some extras are even free.

  1. You can even set your fireworks to your favourite song

That’s right, choreographed fireworks perfectly timed to the pacing of the song of your first dance, or the tune that was playing when you first met.

  1. Fireworks displays are best when they last 5-10 minutes

Don’t make the mistake of spending a fortune on a 20 minute plus display. The best displays are much shorter, more dynamic, better paced and crucially, don’t cost the earth.

  1. If you’re doing DIY fireworks, safety is crucial

If you’re planning on running the show yourself and the venue is happy for you to do so, make sure you only buy certified fireworks from a reputable supplier and you follow all safety instructions down to the letter.

8 tips to help you snap the perfect NYE fireworks pic on your phone

When those fireworks go off at midnight on 31st December, phones and cameras throughout the UK will be snapping away trying to capture the moment. Unfortunately, many attempts to capture this special, magical moment come out as indistinct blurs.

This is because fireworks are notoriously difficult to photograph. They travel extremely fast through the sky and it’s this motion along with the lights and colours makes it tricky to get a clear shot. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to splash out a fortune on a professional camera. Simply follow these top tips for snapping amazing Instagram-ready shots of 2018’s NYE fireworks, right from your phone.

  1. Enable HDR

This is the best way to get a great quality fireworks shot, so switch it on if you have it. This is because HDR takes many photographs at different exposures and combines them into a single image for more detail, light trails and more.

  1. Get some people in your shot

This is what sets your fireworks pic apart from all those others you see on Instagram, and what gives you a really memorable shot of a personal moment. If you’re really skilled, you’ll snap a great fireworks selfie this NYE!

  1. Take loads of photos (or cheat and enable Burst mode – on iPhones)

To boost your chances of capturing the perfect shot, it’s a smart idea to take absolutely loads of photos. So that you don’t spend the entire display snapping pictures, you can always enable what on iPhones is called Burst mode (although there are similar functions on other smartphones). This mode means that your camera will take many photos in rapid succession, which is great for moving objects like fireworks. Simply set it to Burst mode and point the camera in the right direction.

  1. Try an app

There are a number of apps out there that can help you to boost the capabilities of your smartphone’s camera. For example, Slow Shutter Cam for iPhones, which lets you take motion blur and light trail photographs.

  1. Get a better camera!

If you’re worried about blurry NYE photos and have been meaning to replace your phone anyway, why not snap up a new one with a great camera in the January sales?

  1. Get a mini tripod

Smartphones come with all sorts of accessories these days, like mini tripods so you don’t have to worry about shaky hands when snapping away. Set up the tripod, set it to record or automatically take photographs and enjoy the show!

  1. Make sure you have enough storage

Before NYE, make sure you clear out enough space for all of those HDR fireworks photos – you don’t want to leave it until the crucial moment and miss everything.

  1. Make sure you enjoy the display

Last of all, make sure you aren’t so caught up in trying to snap the perfect NYE fireworks image that you don’t actually enjoy the show! Do your best to capture the moment, then live it – give your nearest and dearest a squeeze and drink in those lights and colours.

From everyone here at 1st Galaxy Fireworks, have a wonderful, safe and firework-filled New Year’s Eve!