Creating a memorable experience can be difficult, it can also be difficult trying to find the right technology to achieve the experience you want.
Alton Towers Fireworks 2022 is a great example on how you can create an incredible spectator experience by using multiple sensory effects which in turn creates a more immersive and dramatic experience.
If you don't know, Alton Towers Resort is a theme park and resort complex in Staffordshire, England, near the village of Alton. The park is operated by Merlin Entertainments Group and incorporates a theme park, water park, spa, mini golf and hotel complex.
The park hosts a range of events throughout the season, the biggest being their Halloween event called Scarefest and their Firework display which takes place straight after the halloween event finishes. In this blog we will be focusing on their fireworks display.
If you would like to know more about the Halloween event listen to this podcast we did with James Pemblington.
Instead of just a standard firework display Alton Towers incorporates lighting, sound, lasers and video. They are used in a way in which it takes the audience through a journey, indulging them in a storyline that talks about the park and its major roller coasters.
If you haven’t been to Alton Towers before, each area of the park is themed and each rollercoaster in each area also has its own story and branding. This allows the Alton Towers to choose songs that relate to the theme as well colours which are notable to the rollercoaster.
So what made the event so immersive and memorable?
The start of the show is just as important as the end. During the countdown to the fireworks, Alton Towers had a drone show which was quite unexpected as they appeared in the sky. The drone show was alongside music which created a great pre show and built anticipation for the fireworks.
The show started with a video being played on video walls which were setup around the viewing areas. The video introduced the show and story about the park and the rollercoasters.
Let's break down one of our favorite parts of the show
Thirteen (officially stylised as TH13TEEN) is a roller coaster set in the Dark Forest at Alton Towers. The story of thirteen is as follows,
“The forest is growing at an alarming rate and has become an overpowering force. So if you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone…
When routine clearance work began on the edge of the forest, an ancient burial ground was uncovered and a previously dormant and mysterious group of creatures called The Wraith were unleashed into the Dark Forest.
As you travel into the excavation work, be careful… The structure is far from stable! Dip and dive through the Dark Forest, enter the ancient crypt and face the horror that lies within.”
With this backstory and the colour theme of the ride being green it allowed Alton Towers to create a dramatic and theatrical experience for the spectators.
This part of the show began with a video being played of a girl that is used to promote the ride and the ride's official slogan “if you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone… “
The video finishes and a slow remix of toxic starts to play by Britney Spears. A few small fireworks are released, alongside this lighting state changes to a green making you feel eerie and like you are in the woods.
The song comes to a stop and then comes back in suddenly with the lights, fireworks and video creating a dramatic effect. The most memorable part of the song also had the addition of the lasers and other lights in the towers.
The effects then go back to how they were at the start building the tension again. You then see large fireworks being set off as the song goes back into the chorus, creating a spectacular effect using all the elements together with precision timing to allow the fireworks to not be lost by the lighting.
The song finishes with a long outro making it feel eerie as the Alton Towers castle is lit up in green and the last of the fireworks settle. Watch the video below to see this part of the show.
The show also featured an official British Sign Language interpreter stationed at the front of the accessible platform for the first time. There was also screens on each PA tower which showed the Sign Language Interpreter.
So what can we learn from the Alton Towers Firework Display?
If you are trying to create a spectator experience or make your event unique you can use some of the elements that Alton Towers used.
Depending on your event, can you create a theme or backstory for your event?
Is your event taking place on a certain date? Are you using a venue that is rich in history? Can you have a certain dress code for your event? Can you create a music playlist that fits in with the event? Can you combine all these and create a backstory for your event?
From your theme or venue can you use technical equipment to make it immersive?
Can you introduce a colour theme for the room? Can you create content and make it play around the venue? Can you program the lights?
Does your budget allow for entertainment?
Can you have performers? Can you have a drone show or firework display for the event? Can you have actors that fit in with the theme of your event?
If you could combine all these elements you to could create an incredible spectator experience.
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