Interview with Team Jubilee Fireworks Ltd.

I met with Andy Wiggins, chief designer, and Chris Pearce, managing director, of Jubilee Fireworks, competing in Montreal for their first time. Jubilee Fireworks was founded in 1987 by ex-teacher, Chris Pearce who named the company after a picture in George Plimptom’s iconic book “Fireworks” as well as after the park he lived next to at the time. Based in the West Midlands region of the UK, Jubilee have won awards in Monaco, Knokke-Heist as well as taking first prize twice in the Philippines International Pyromusical Competition.

The display is being fired with 175 32-cue FireOne firing modules and has around 5000 cues. Andy said they didn’t use any visualization software, preferring to do the design in his head.


Andy Wiggins (l) and Chris Pearce (r)

Andy Wiggins told me he had first come to Montreal in 2011 to work on fellow British company Pyro2000’s show so he is familiar with the site and said he intended to use every square inch and every possible angle. He’d had several ideas in mind for a Montreal show but said he isn’t fixated on “themes” as these can limit the creative process to an extent. There were various pieces of music he wanted to use and pairing these up lead to the actual theme of Jubilee’s show this year: Vive la Différence. In this, pairs of pieces of music will represent opposites or complements such as good/evil, sun/rain, man/woman, sky/earth etc. Andy was responsible for the creation and editing of the sountrack, but gave it to an audio engineer to ensure it was of a high quality. He said he was happy to report that no adjustments were required! Work on the design took several months, though, of course, this was not continuous work.

The design style is a mix of high-intensity one-shot dominated pieces (such as Uptown Funk, which uses an amazing 1500 cues) and a more relaxed style of candles and shells. Andy said he likes his shows to have a human feel and not be overly robotic with an overuse of one-shots. Jubilee are using nine firing positions on ramp 2, twenty one on ramp three (as well as using the side-arms to provide more angular possibilities) as well as seven pontoons for ramp 5 and good use of ramp 4. He said there would be no nauticals, though, as they just did not fit into the design of the show. There will be some special close-proximity effects too.

Products come from a variety of sources in Europe and Asia, with Ricasa, Igual, Hamex (who manufacture Vaccalluzzo products under licence in Slovenia) as well as Yung Feng and Jubilee’s own-brand quality Chinese products. Close proximity effects come from Next-FX and some special salutes were manufactured in the UK. As for large calibre shells, Andy noted that transport of these is difficult in the UK now, but he has a special 12″ shell that is being used as wel as fifteen 10″ and twenty five 8″. Of course, Vaccalluzzo are renowned for their large cylinder shells, so this will be something to watch out for.

Jubilee brought a crew of thirteen to Montreal – unusually large – as everyone was keen to work on the show. This was the first time I’ve seen company-branded shorts being worn, though Andy noted that one had to work for many years in the company to be allowed to wear these!


Team Jubilee

The weather forecast is absolutely perfect for Saturday and so we should have a great opening to the start of the competition portion of the 31st Edition.

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