News Archive

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 !

Over 400,000 fireworks launched at Edinburgh Festival closing party

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If you love your fireworks, you’ll be distraught not to have been in the crowd for the closing party of the incredible Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) – where a whopping 400,000 fireworks were launched into the night sky as part of the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert.

You did read that correctly, organisers fired off no fewer 400,000 pyrotechnic products during the staggeringly impressive display. Even more remarkable, the display was launched from the top of Edinburgh Castle, in a mind-boggling technical feat that absolutely wowed the 250,000 spectators gathered on Princes Street Gardens. People gathered in the local area and indeed, throughout the rest of the city, will have enjoyed a memorable display against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s most famous and historic landmark.

Classical choreography

One of the most staggering parts of the display was the impeccable timing of the choreography. The fireworks were perfectly timed to synchronise with a classical music concert performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra is internationally celebrated, performing all over the world and known for the exceptional talent of its many musicians.

The concert was divided into two parts, the first starting at 9pm and the second reaching a climax with the start of the fireworks display. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Clark Rundell, performed a special selection of songs by Leonard Bernstein in the first half – including music from West Side Story.

The mood changed when the fireworks began at approximately 9.30pm, as the orchestra performed dramatic pieces from Gustav Holt’s The Planets, including famous works such as ‘Mars’, ‘Jupiter’ and ‘Venus’.

The finale – and ‘that’ waterfall

It’s a tough ask to find a fitting end for such a spectacular show, but organisers managed it perfectly with an enormous explosion of white glitter and gold around 200 metres off the grounds. Spectators were also in raptures about the ‘waterfall’ of fireworks that flowed down the castle rock, an extremely clever effect that can be tricky to pull off.

About the Edinburgh International Festival

It’s fitting that the fireworks display for the close of the Edinburgh International Festival was so spectacular, as it was a hugely successful year for the annual event. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Scotland, the UK and the world descended on the Scottish capital for the arts festival. There were 85 productions across the three-week festival, putting on 180 performances across a variety of venues city wide. A total of 2,800 artists and performers from 60 countries took part in all.

Commenting on the event, the director of the EIF Fergus Linehan told the Aberdeen Evening Express:

“This year’s Virgin Money Fireworks Concert was absolutely amongst the best displays of its kind anywhere in the world.”

“As the 2018 International Festival draws to a close, we thank the many artists, staff members and audiences whose enthusiasm and tireless generosity make the festival possible.”

Looking to plan your own fireworks extravaganza?

If you’re holding an event and are looking for a fittingly fantastic finale, get in touch with the team at 1st Galaxy on 0115 8559000 to start planning your fireworks display.

Love NYE? Get ready for Chinese New Year 2017

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If you’re excited about New Year’s Eve and it’s incredible fireworks displays, there’s good news. You get to do it all over again at the end of January, as it’ll be time for Chinese New Year.

The start of the new lunar and solar calendar is often a bigger celebration than New Year’s Eve at the end of December, as fireworks and festivities take place all over the country. It’s a huge festival celebrated amongst Chinese communities in major cities such as London and Manchester, and in towns and cities across the world.

This year, Chinese New Year takes place on Saturday 28th January 2017. This means that there’s just enough time to start planning where to go and watch the fireworks. The celebration also includes parades, performances and opportunities to share food with friends and family – but fireworks are very much at the heart of the occasion. China has a rich history when it comes to fireworks and is widely believed to have invented them. The very earliest documentation of fireworks as we know them today dates back to the 7th century, during China’s Tang Dynasty. Fireworks were used to accompany festivities and have become engrained in China’s culture ever since.

The Year of the Rooster

Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals in the zodiac. 2016 was the Year of the Monkey, while 2017 will usher in the Year of the Rooster. The 10th sign and only bird in the zodiac, the rooster will this coming year be a Fire Rooster. Each year has its own heavenly branch of zodiac animal and when the Year of the Rooster comes again in 2029, it will be an Earth Rooster.

If you’re organising your own display for Chinese New Year, this could be a useful hint for what colours to go for. Reds, yellows, whites and golds could all be excellent choices as part of a ‘rooster’ themed display. Look out for these colours if you’re heading to a local display.

Where to enjoy Chinese NY fireworks

Many cities in the UK celebrate Chinese New Year, particularly those with large Chinese communities. These events have become highlights of the cultural calendar, with colourful, exciting celebrations going on for days. In London, for example, free events take place in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and the West End. A parade with astonishing floats and exhibitions will snake its way through the West End, while stage performances of dance troupes, acrobats, martial arts and even flying dragon dances will wow crowds in Trafalgar Square. The grand finale is of course a spectacular fireworks show.

If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year with friends or family, you can of course throw your own private fireworks party to see in the new year. With some well-chosen fireworks and a few safety lessons, you can celebrate with your loved ones in style – just make sure you warn the neighbours first!


Could silent fireworks be the future of NYE?

1st Galaxy 33.pngSome people absolutely love the booms, bangs and crackles of a fireworks display, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Others have concerns over how anxious the noise can make their pets, while residents in major tourist cities are worried about noise pollution.

A council in Scotland is now set to review whether silent or near silent fireworks could be the way to keep everyone happy. Edinburgh councillors are to commission a report on the impact of noise from fireworks displays which go on in this tourist-friendly, culturally rich capital city all year round. The council agreed that while fireworks in the city add colour, excitement and gaiety to special events in Edinburgh, it’s important to consider the needs of local residents.

The report will look at the impact of noise on the wellbeing of people and animals, and whether lots of large fireworks displays could be causing damage to the city’s many historical buildings through vibration. It will also consider alternatives, such as silent fireworks.

Pros and cons

There are clearly two sides to this debate, and not just in Edinburgh. Councillor Joanna Mowat, who is very much behind the report, said:

“This is an opportunity to look carefully at this issue and investigate whether new technology can reduce the noise but keep the spectacle which could make life a little quieter for residents of the city protecting the high level of amenity for residents of Edinburgh.”

There are those that believe that a key part of the enjoyment of fireworks is the noise, which makes a display exciting and dynamic. Organiser of the annual Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, Penny Dougherty, told BBC News:

“The Edinburgh’s Hogmanay fireworks are the signature element of an event that brings in 150,000 visitors from around the world and generates an economic impact of over £42m to the city of Edinburgh.

“Firework displays are a key part of every major New Year celebration around the world, and Edinburgh holds its own with cities such as London, Sydney, Dubai and Rio de Janiero at midnight on 31 December.”

Being a responsible display organiser

Fireworks may be noisy, but they don’t have to be disruptive, annoying or distressing to local residents or their pets. Responsible display organisers do the following to keep everyone happy:

  • Hold displays in large open venues as far away from residential areas as possible
  • Visit immediate neighbours to the site to warn them of the display and advise them to keep pets inside
  • Widely publicise the event through marketing and social media so that everyone knows what’s happening when
  • Obey all local authority rules and not hold fireworks displays at anti-social times

You can also choose quieter fireworks that emphasis spectacular visual effects over loud noises. Specialists such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks have a whole category of quiet fireworks to choose from, and are happy to offer advice on the right products to choose if noise is a concern.


Riverside Festival set to light up Nottingham this August


This August, Nottingham’s biggest and best free family festival returns for another year, with a very special fireworks display planned for 2015’s festivities!

Every year, the Nottingham Riverside Festival offers locals and visitors three whole days of completely free entertainment, all taking place along the banks of the River Trent.

Underwater Fireworks

It isn’t often we stumble across a firework we’ve no intention of trying to get our hands on. But this particular show-stopper is something of a unique specimen.

The Firework Anemone, or the Pachycerianthus multiplicatus as it’s otherwise known, is part of a family of marine creatures which are part-animal, part-plant, and like to live in the muddy waters at the bottom of rivers and sea lochs along the Western coasts of Scotland and Ireland. It’s an unusual sight in British waters according to the photographer, Kirsty Andrews.

Greek Churches unleash Easter Firework Battle

This story has always been a great symbol of just how extensively used fireworks are around the world. There are an infinite number of celebrations and memorable dates the world over which Fireworks are used for. Of course we’re all used to seeing the New Years Day round up, where major cities the world over competes for our TV sets.

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Picture From The Daily mail

Every large sporting occasion, and in fact smaller more intimate sporting occasions also use Fireworks and Pyrotechnics to add drama and entertainment to the matches. However this is one of the more unusual uses of Fireworks

Chios Rocket War

Easter time is one of the holiest on the Orthodox Calendar, but as you can see from the video footage below in the link (from YouTube) its not necessarily a time for quiet thoughts and reflection, or at least not for the locals of Vrondados on the Greek Isle of Chios. In a mock war the two parish of Agios Markos and the Panagia Erthiani fire hundreds, if not thousands of rockets at each other. The main aim is to hit the side of the Bell Tower, The first Team to do this wins.

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Winning the ‘Rouketopolemos, also know as the ‘Rocket War’ is also contentious and it seems that the real winner is never really agreed upon. Of course the real winner is the act itself, because no victor is decided it has to be repeated the following year.

Greek Orthodox Easter

The tradition is very old indeed and dates back to the Ottoman days, but the real origins of the ritual are not fully understood. Its now a worldwide attraction, and people flock from far and wide to the small, quiet village to pay witness to the awesome sight.

We would add though, this is definitely not the way to use rockets, and although it looks very entertaining its not without its list of injuries each year. We decided not to show these pictures though

See The Video from YouTube here –

The Secret Life of a Pyrotechnician


How does a Firework Display Designer design a show?

If you’ve ever wondered just how one of the professionals goes about designing a firework show, then you’re probably not surprised to hear that the answer is as big as the question.

But there are some aspects which can be explained. Of course there is a great deal of ‘art’ and this is one of the areas that’s difficult to explain and only those ‘who know’ really ‘know’.

There are a number of skills that a Pyrotechnician will often require and these cover a broad base and include the knowledge. In fact, it is often said that a Pyrotechnician or Fireworker has the knowledge of a chemist, the skills of an engineer, the heart of an artist and the courage of a warrior.

A Pyro Musical Firework Display is the Pinnacle


It’s fair to observe that firework displays are now as big as they’ve ever been, and we’re not just talking about the size. Although, in the last few years they just got bigger and bigger, with the wealth of The Middle East presenting World Record Breaking Displays.

What we mean is that Fireworks are more popular with audiences across the globe than ever before, just switch on the TV on New Years Day and browse the news to see which country or capital city around the world brought the New Year in with an epic display. But there is one common factor with virtually all of these displays…..