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Hi guys!


I am putting together an album launch party near Birmingham, and I am determined to prove that a local show can be as much a theatrical spectacle as the big budget events with a careful selection of appropriate sfx, cued lighting and excellent showmanship. We have a penchant for the theatrical and are fairly well known for this, but it's time to raise the bar, prove a point and start changing the way people view this kind of event.

After all, even at local shows nobody wants to watch a band play through their album - they want to see a SHOW right?


Would anyone here, particularly if there is anyone local to the Midlands, be up for helping us work through some ideas, costs and how to find the right technician/company to hire to run our fx?



I have done a little research, and I know that the venue that we are looking at will not have the required safety distances for full flash pyros, but the sort of effects I am thinking of at the moment include:

Heavy fog

Processional (gel) torches

Ice gerbs/cryo jets (short burst, 4-6feet, maybe twice during the show as a pair)


I know that this sort of operation is beyond the budget of your average indie gig, but I am looking for sponsorship partners who share my vision - the event will be very well marketted so targetted companies will find themselves opening up a significant new market, which I think I can sell to them. As I said before - I think independent bands and shows need to show the same flair and professionalism that you get from the rest of the industry.



Thanks in advance for any wisdom and insights you have to share



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yes, philanthropic millionaires


Putting the effects you mention in to a show costs cold hard cash - both in terms of consumables and the expertise and insurance/licensing/stock needed to actually provide them. "Sponsorship" only works when the person providing the product/service can reasonably expect to get marketing/publicity that will lead to future sales far in excess of the initial outlay or cost. There's almost no money in album launch parties as it is, there's certainly no money in providing (comparatively) expensive products and services to them on the off-chance that the friends/journalists/groupies who actually turn up to launch events might themselves one day find a philanthropic millionaire with no taste who wants to pour similarly vast amounts of money at pointless eye candy yet who doesn't have the wherewithal to google for their own supplier.


Album launches are to promote a band performing a set of songs; they're not to promote concert or other visual experiences. If your band want to be known for the visual experience as much or more than the audio experience (ie you want to be the next Pink Floyd) then you need to find the money from your own resources and incorporate the effects in to all of your shows, just as you'd do with costumes or props.




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The sponsorship I am dealing with is promoting products and services to a specific market, completely aside from the sfx side of things. My pyro man can and will expect to charge normal rates (assuming I get the best normal rates I can find) and the sponsors will buy into the advertising opportunity, thus providing a contribution to said cold hard cash.


Please don't simply assume that I'm an idiot.

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You made one post that was full of spelling mistakes, vague and contains (what we now know to be) misleading allusions to how it was going to be funded. You're talking about applying visual effects to an event that doesn't need visual effects (as I said, album launches are about the music, not the show, that's what tour launches are for) and have been spectacularly vague about what it is you're trying to achieve. The website for your band suggests you do one gig per month and is terribly out of date. Based on the available evidence, what assumptions should we make?


To answer your question (though it is hideously vague) none of the things you're enquiring about are particularly unusual or bespoke so will be readily available from any midscale hire company. As I alluded above though you're going to be crippled by the price.


Any half decent heavy fog machine (dry ice or chiller) is going to set you back at least £200 to hire. Gel torches (lets assume you're going to use 4) will set you back £100, 4 way pyro controller+pods+4pyros will set you back another £150. You'll need a mountain of paperwork compiling to use this stuff (risk assessments, checks of your equipment for flammability) plus you'll need a suitably competent operator to install, supervise and control these effects for each performance as well as surveying each future venue you perform in to make sure they allow this kit. Assuming just one days work on the paperwork (and that's being optimistic) plus one day's show call (travel, setup, test, performance, getout) there's another £450 gone.


A combination of safety reasons and scale of the effects concerned means you couldn't/shouldn't use them on any stage smaller than 8x8m and depending on the audience configuration / crowd barriers / venue fire safety policies you may well have to have a bigger stage to accommodate the safety zones.


So, to give you 30seconds of dancing with some flaming torches, 2x6second bursts of sparks and some "dry ice" on the stage during your epic ballad number you'd be looking at a cost of £1k per performance which is a lot more than you're paying the rest of the band! If you get a run of shows on consecutive nights in similar venues then the per-show cost would come down but one or two gigs per week in different venues or just one or two album launches that's the sort of figure you're looking at and to be honest it's a pretty wimpy set of effects. Allow £2k plus and we can start talking about a decent number of effects (both pyrotechnical and physical) that would actually lodge in your audience's mind.

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If you think that my previous posts were vague, or for that matter full of spelling errors, then I appologise for coming to the wrong place with a sincere and simple question.


I won't trouble you again but shall rather slip back into the vagueries of the outsider ranks. Thankyou all the same for confirming the figures I am looking at with the quotes I have had thus far, it's enough for me to start running the budget for what to us will be an important show and as you pointed out - a long time coming while we've been in the studio.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi mate ..

Maybe a cheaper / easier option would be to hire in some peripheral acts such as fire eaters , Angel Grinders , LED Robot suited dancers etc.. All self contained and would with the right planning would create an amazing effect ..


If you need a few contacts in your area give me a PM.




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