Southport musical firework competition crowns ‘champion of champions’

British Musical Fireworks Championship, Southport
Written by Lauren Wise

The British Musical Fireworks Championship (BMFC) 2017 ended in true style this weekend as it announced its 'champion of champions'.

Southport’s annual musical firework competition, which takes place in Victoria Park, crowned Sirotechnics as 2017’s British Musical Firework Champions on Sunday.

The pyrotechnics company, who also won the competition in 2013, said in a Facebook post: “Thanks so much everyone, we are really proud to have been in such good company. Massive thanks to the whole crew.”

In second place, and missing out on the top spot by just one point, were 2016 winners Bright Sparks Fireworks, who rounded off the weekend on Sunday evening with a final display set to ‘If I Can Dream’ by Elvis.

The championship, which is in its 19th year, sees a number of pyrotechnic displays from different companies judged on their performance set to music.

Each display is marked on four different categories; artistic merit, variety of effects and music, technical merit and overall performance.

We spoke to Joanne Dwyer, marketing officer at Sefton Council and organiser of the event, who said over the phone: “We’ve got a panel of five judges and three are from within the industry.

“Some of our judges have fired for Rod Stewart and the Queen so they are really experts in the industry, they’ve been around a long time.

 “You think you’ve seen fireworks and then you come to this competition and you’ve seen nothing like it.”

But it’s not just the panel that need impressing, as Steve Martin, show designer and general manager of Smart Pyrotechnics, explained: “For us, our favourite part of the event is the end of the show when you get the audience reaction.

“Ultimately it’s the many thousands of people that are in the audience who are the main people you’re trying to impress.

“I think the audience appreciation is worth just as much as the judges’ votes at the end of the day.”

Mr. Martin added: “We won in 2014 here and that was our first win in Britain.

“We have a lot to thank Southport for at the end of the day.” 

While keen spectators lined the roads outside Victoria Park on the weekend, it was only through the ticketed gates that the displays could be fully appreciated in all their musical glory.

As one savvy spectator commented: “Watching from outside the gates is like going to see Michael Flatley and sitting at the back where you can only see his head.”