I have been crewing with Illusion Fireworks for just under a year and when I was asked to crew for the British Fireworks Championship! Well, to be honest I couldn't quite believe it. Having never been to Plymouth before or experiencing the displays in person.
Over the preceding months the posts of new products we would be using really helped build the excitement levels. And that may have led to me badgering Karl with messages and questions the closer the competition became.
We arrived in Plymouth on the Wednesday afternoon and settled into our accommodation. After a few beers with the team I was able to watch the first nights displays with my family. The boys and my wife really enjoyed the displays and my eldest spent the time taking practice pictures for the following day.
Thursday morning was an early start, I was up at 5am and we were at the breakwater by 6am, with an obligatory stop at McDonald's to pick up breakfast. We were the first team on site and even beat Avril from the BPA to site too. The morning was over cast but there was an underlying anticipation to just get going. After we had the vehicles on site the machine, that is an Illusion crew, was set into motion. All the shell racks and heavy equipment were off first and we immediately got the 5 shell sites setup, with all the crew getting stuck in. Once these sites were set we split into a number of teams and I was assigned to work on the 9 front sites. The next few hours seemed to fly by unloading single shot plates, arches and shot boxes, with a welcomed break to get a bacon roll supplied by Chris from Celtic and his crew of guys. Our setup was smooth and by 8ish we were fully tested and ready to fire.
I wasn't sure if I'd be able to watch the second night displays with my family but once we were set I was able to get the ferry across the harbour and was able to join them for the displays. The second nights displays were fantastic, especially Illusions display that was huge and greatly enjoyed by all the spectators around me. When the final display had fired the race was on to make the first ferry back to be ready for the derig.
I arrived while we were still in the cool down window so the crew chat was all about just how big our display had been. Karl and few other representatives left for the yacht club to find out the result and the remaining crew cracked on with packing down. The message came through that we had won and the cheers went up and then it was back to it. We were packed and off site at about 2am.
Once back at our accommodation the celebrations began and the stories flowed. By 3am most people were flagging and we slowly drifted off to our rooms. What a fantastic way to spend a few days, my body may be tired and muscles sore but I am even more pumped for the next competition.
Southport here we come for the British Musical Firework Championships!