This is a question we get asked a lot. And it’s tempting to reply, “As much as you want to spend.”
It’s just that there are so many things that can count as “a fireworks display”. Do you want a few rockets and a Catherine wheel in your back garden? Do you want to celebrate a wedding with a beautiful display for a hundred guests? Or do you want to light up Sydney Harbour Bridge at New Year’s Eve?
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
- Garden Displays
A small garden display can cost you anything from a few pounds upwards. Most fireworks companies will sell you what you need – either by letting you pick individual products or putting together a prepared package. These are often excellent value, and at Peak Fireworks we make sure that the products are right for the size of your garden. Our complete small garden display is less than £50 for example, and is designed for a garden 8 or more metres long. This is so that you and your family can be far enough away from the fireworks when they are lit.
Or we have a medium-sized display for less than £100 (which needs up to 25m safety distance to keep you safe). Any reputable firework supplier will talk you through the products in your display to make sure they are suitable for your garden. They will also help you to choose quieter fireworks if that is important for you and your neighbours.
A wedding display, or any big celebration, will probably need something special. Our large display might do the trick. It is £250 and needs at least 25m. We can customise it to match your colour choices.
You will need someone confident, reliable, safe (and sober) to light your fireworks for you. We can talk them through the process. They will need to clear everything up afterwards too (a dirty job, which they might not appreciate if they have got dressed up for the occasion). And your party venue may require you to have insurance in case you damage anything (or anybody) on the night.
2. Professional displays
Professional pyrotechnicians are brilliant. And they are the right choice if you want something spectacular for your special event. They will do everything for you. And I mean everything. They will liaise with the venue, choose the safest firing site, do a full risk assessment, arrange the insurance, and advise you who needs to know about the display. They will design it, prepare it for firing, set everything up safely, tell the audience where to stand, fire it at the right time, and clear up the whole site. They can use professional grade fireworks (not available to the general public) which will be timed to perfection, choreographed to music if you want, and with added extras like lights and lasers.
How much will the professionals charge? You should expect to pay a minimum of £100 a minute for your display, and allow at least 7 minutes to make it look spectacular. If you want your display timed to go with music, allow an extra £400 – £1000. This is because of the huge amount of work that goes into designing and fusing such a show, the computers and sound equipment that will be used, and the extra crew that will be needed on the night. So a 7 minute pyromusical display will be about £1200, a 10 minute display will be about £2000, and a full-scale, no-holds-barred extravaganza will be about £2700.
These are based on the services of our friends and partners at Electrify – one of the best and friendliest display companies in the UK. You may find a company who will beat these prices. But, if we’re honest, they will only do this by cutting corners. They may use cheaper, less-spectacular fireworks. They may not be insured. They may not pay their crew. They may use inferior technology or low-powered music systems. But there will be a reason – and they will not tell you what it is. In fireworks, like everything else, you get what you pay for. And if it’s a special occasion, do you really want to risk people being disappointed?
3. The massive displays
And finally, what about the great big events that you go to on Bonfire Night or New Year’s Eve, attended by tens or hundreds of thousands of people?
Well the prices for these can be eye-watering. Several thousand pounds is a typical bill for a civic display in a local park. It can be up to 5 figures for the bigger events in cities. And it will definitely be more – much more – for the national celebrations at New Year, the Olympics, or the great political moments.
These events have massive extra costs for publicity, security, additional entertainment, long set-up times, road closures, helicopter TV coverage, clearing up, insurance and so on and so on. The full cost of the London New Year’s Eve displays has been over £1million each year since 2003, and has risen to over £2million recently. The one in Sydney costs almost twice as much. These are not even the biggest in the world. The display in Dubai on New Year’s Eve 2014 is reported to have cost $6million and the one in Abu Dhabi in 2009 lasted for nearly an hour and cost $20million
So until you have that amount of money, it’s probably best to organise your own display in the back garden, or call in the professionals to do it for you at your next celebration.
We’d be happy to help you plan anything. But probably not the Sydney Harbour Bridge just yet.