Catching up with Titanium
For this year's River of Light we are delighted to bring one of the UK's most successful fireworks companies, Titanium to Liverpool and Wirral.
As we’re busy preparing the finishing touches for Sunday, the whole office is excitedly singing David Guetta’s Titanium! To discover more about the company who will be lighting up our skies, we caught up with Darryl Fleming, Director of Titanium Fireworks to find out his journey from chartered surveyor to fireworks organiser, and what we can expect in Merseyside.
What is a typical working day like?
One of the great things about working in the live events industry is that no one day is the same and rigging and firing firework displays is no different, the work is vary varied and involves significant travelling to different parts of the country and sometimes internationally. The work also allows me unique access to some of the biggest and greatest celebrations from having one of the best views in the house overlooking the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony or watching the All Blacks beat Australia at Twickenham for the Rugby World Cup Final. I can safely say that no one day is the same and while there is some excitement, there is also plenty of hard work and a degree of stress and anxiety involved due to the difficulty of not being able to rehearse, we have to get it right each and every time.
Tell us your journey to setting up Titanium?
My journey actually started as a chartered surveyor working in central London where I also worked as a part time firer for a firework company local to me, working on displays such as the Hong Kong Handover and VJ Day Celebrations. The opportunity to work full time presented itself and I changed careers to become display director heading up the display team. After 15 years of service and after forced redundancy, I was reluctant to turn my back on a career that I loved and for which the passion was still very strong, so with two colleagues we decided to work for ourselves and set up Titanium Fireworks, concentrating on delivering quality firework displays and in particular pyromusicals. In a short time we have grown to be one of the largest companies in the country and have been responsible for some of the biggest and most prestigious events in the UK including London New Year’s Eve Celebrations, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Hull City of Culture, Rugby World Cup, Glasgow Commonwealth Games and earlier this year the Adele Shows at Wembley Stadium, we are of course really looking forward to adding a another high profile display to our name this year with the River of Light on the Mersey.
What’s the most unique location you’ve hosted a fireworks display?
There have been many very unique locations where I have found myself either hanging from, climbing or crawling over, attaching fireworks in readiness of a display, they normally involve structures and some of the highlights that spring to mind include the Olympic Stadium, Tower Bridge and the London Eye, but the most memorable and hardest was probably rigging pyrotechnics from the Queen Elizabeth Tower, or Big Ben as it is more widely known. As part of the new year’s eve celebrations in London to welcome 2012 and of course the Olympic year, it was proposed that we would seek permission from the authorities to use the Tower as a platform to launch a sequence of pyrotechnics as Big Ben struck midnight. As an instantly recognisable and iconic structure, I had to undertake a considerable amount of work to persuade the authorities to grant permission and to ensure that we could deliver a sequence safely and that would damage the irreplaceable structure, I was informed that the quarry where the stone originated from no longer existed, so I had to ensure what we were proposing was not going to damage the structure. The complexity and quantity of work involved was immense, but the chance to be the first person since Guy Fawkes to get gunpowder into the houses of parliament was quite motivational and in the end we delivered a stunning opening sequence to the 2012 midnight moment.
What are you looking forward to most about doing River of Light 2017?
The River Light is probably one of the largest and most complex displays in the country for the November 5th season, it is also probably going to be watched by one of the largest crowds in the country, so the pressure is on and we love a challenge. The river Mersey has one of the largest tidal flows in the country and the complexity of rigging six tonnes of fireworks on two barges is going to be the biggest challenge. We have worked hard with the events team to put together what we hope will be an enjoyable soundtrack to synchronise the program too, the most difficult aspect was the music selection, coming up with a shortlist from such a long list of what is arguably one of the greatest cities in the world for music heritage. It has been a few years since I have been in Liverpool to fire a display and we are all very much looking forward to putting on a show which we hope will exceed expectation and entertain the thousands of people who will come down to the river’s edge and watch the spectacle we have planned for the City of Liverpool.
Can you tease us with any future plans for Titanium?
As soon as the November season is over we will be hard at work delivering a series of Christmas lights events, then straight into our preparations for New Year where we will once again be in London and Edinburgh. We have a number of proposals in the pipeline for 2018 and we hope that it will be another exciting year for us at Titanium Fireworks, whether it be home or abroad.