The Pyrotechnician - Reuben Chappell

by Phil Simpson Local Business Local Events

The Pyrotechnician - Reuben Chappell

The Fireworks at the Bruton Spiral of Light provide a stunning and inspiring finale to a festival that is all about fire and light. Localeyez caught up with Bruton based Reuben Chappell, one half of Euphoria Pyrotechnics, who will be responsible for putting on Saturday's display. We asked him about fireworks, milk bottles, the art of being a pyrotechnician and what makes a truly great fireworks show.

What do you love about the Bruton Spiral of Light? 
This time of year is always dreary, so it’s great to have a bright fiery celebration now. The Spiral of Light follows a long tradition of fire and light festivals at this time of year. Closer to home, I think the Spiral is a great event for Bruton, the setting is unique, as was the Meadow School that started it. For me it is a chance to do a firework display at a time of the year when there aren’t many to do! I’m really glad the town has taken it on so enthusiastically, and hopefully it will be a regular calendar event.

How did you get involved in firework displays?
I’ve always been keen on fire and explosions, I started as a young lad, making what we would now call I.E.D.’s (improvised explosive devices) from stuff I found lying about on Salisbury Plain. Eventually I progressed to proper firework displays when I was introduced to Steve Hawkins of Euphoria Pyrotechnics in Wincanton about 12 years ago. Since then I’ve fired displays from many fabulous locations for all sorts of people. Highlights have got to include our regular displays at Lyme Regis, Glastonbury festival, and of course when we were invited to enter the British Firework Championships and fired from the Mountbatten breakwater in Plymouth Harbour with an audience of more than 100,000 people.

I take it you’re not using milk bottles to launch your fireworks. How do you plan and execute a complex firework display?
Not many of our fireworks would even fit in a milk bottle! However, there is often a bit of improvisation needed when setting the show up, and we have a lot of hardware we can use and adapt. But first we consider the venue and the client’s budget and then we use our experience and imagination. We have a large store of fireworks to draw from, and often the client has a theme and this helps to create a show. Fortunately, Steve is a bit of a genius and makes it easy! If we have a large complicated display to design, perhaps choreographed to music, we use a design package on a computer that lets us co-ordinate timings perfectly, and synchronises our electronic firing systems. We can watch a ‘virtual display’ to confirm all is as it should be.

What makes a great firework display? 
A great venue, good weather, an enthusiastic audience, timing, they all count. So if you are letting off fireworks in your back garden on bonfire night, or watching one of our large professional displays, there is always the potential for a great show. But of course it’s the fireworks! They are visceral, awe-inspiring, ephemeral and alchemical. We also use the best quality professional pyrotechnics and that gives us the edge!

Never go back to a lit firework, is what they always told us. Ever had to break the golden rule?
A properly trained pyrotechnician knows the safety parameters, and we initiate all our displays electronically and so have very few misfires. If you are letting off fireworks for yourself, read the instructions, follow them and you will be safe.

If you would like Euphoria Pyrotechnics to organise a display for your wedding or birthday party, big or small, please contact them on info@euphoria-pyrotechnics.co.uk. They can also illuminate gardens and landscapes with coloured lights, fire writing and ‘special’ bonfires.

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