With New Year now fading into the distance and all the excitement of Christmas just a memory it’s easy to get the January blues. So to cheer you (and us) up here’s a look ahead to what’s in store for 2014.
Firetoys had a great year in 2013 and we hope to keep building on that success. Our focus has always been on quality and we’ve favoured well-built props that might cost a bit more, over cheaper items that don’t play as well or last as long. In 2014 our attitude will be no different. We’re proud to be UK distributors for Mr Babache juggling equipment, one of the world’s best and most trusted manufacturers, and we’ll continue to champion that cause this year. We also hope to establish ourselves as the core UK wholesaler of the premium brands.
Firetoys Aerial, the aerial circus arm of our manufacturing and distribution, has been going from strength to strength and we won’t be taking our foot off the gas in 2014. We’re very happy with our range of aerial hoops, trapezes, silks and ropes and have received lots of positive feedback. This year our focus will shift from aerial props to aerial rigging so watch this space for more announcements.
The website is also always under development and in the latter part of 2013 we launched our first customisable product, a custom trapeze. We will be expanding this format over the next 12 months and beyond with possibilities for custom hula hoops, fire poi and other products.
The workshop team, who manufacture all our own props, has undergone some restructuring lately so you can expect fresh ideas and exciting new products to be under development in the coming months.
We are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Spiral Dragon Staff! The first, and maybe the only, high quality, collapsible practice dragon staff. Manufactured in Australia, these staffs are robust, easy to transport and looks beautiful. Chazz has been lucky enough to have of a very few manufactured by Matsun and, having owned a few dragons, the Spiral is his preferred model. Here's one of the Matsun Mk Is in action:
Other exciting product news comes from Flowtoys. We saw a glimpse of their new Composite Contact Flowstaff back in November. We are waiting with baited breath for the first retail models to hit our shelves. The staff uses a thin and rigid carbon fibre shaft and will have lots of options. This video shows one of the first public outings of the new Flowtoys staff.
We also can’t wait until the festival season hits again. The first major date is always the British Juggling Convention and the BJC 2014 is gearing up to be one of the best. Not only is it superhero themed but the site looks amazing with all the facilities you could want: plenty of warm indoor space to play and socialise, a café, bar, loads of hot indoor showers, trampolines, crash mats and more. There will, of course, be the usual line up of workshops and the shows will be amazing, though we don’t know who will be starring in them yet. You’ll also find the Firetoys stall in the traders’ area.
About a month later the music festival circuit gets underway and the Firetoys vans will be up and down the country helping to entertain music-lovers and party-goers everywhere well into September! We have a lovely festival crew as you can tell from this video made by Van Loop Media (who also comes on tour with us).
In July there’s the BIG one – the European Juggling Convention 2014. This year it’s in Ireland and promises to build on the last Irish EJC in 2006. If it can better that one then it’ll be one of the most exciting juggling events the world has ever seen! It’ll also make a refreshing change to the 35° temperatures of Toulouse last year!
Play Festival 2014 will take place in early August and while there isn’t much news about the line up yet you can be sure it will be packed with amazing workshops and shows from some of the best UK and overseas talent. Don’t know what Play is about? Then check out our review of last year’s event or this video of Play 2011.
There are also some amazing circus shows to be seen in 2014 including Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam at the Royal Albert Hall and Dralion touring the country. The Roundhouse in London has a five-week Circus Fest running between March and April which has an amazing line up. Brighton’s Fringe always has a wide variety of circus acts and we expect 2014 to be no different. Bristol’s Circus Festival was a great success and we have high hopes it will return in 2014.
As ever, we will bring you all the news via our news section and social media platforms. If you don’t already, head over Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr or G+ to like, follow or whatever it is you kids do these days and be the first to hear what’s up in 2014.