Posts Tagged ‘fireworks festival’
The 9th Edition of the Malta International Fireworks Festival will be organised by the Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority. Grand Harbour will once again provide the perfect setting for this event, which will take place on the 29th and 30th of April 2010. The festival shall also form part of the 6th Anniversary Celebrations of Malta’s accession into the European Union. (2004).
Participating in the festival will be numerous Maltese and two Italian Fireworks Companies. Orzella Fireworks Company of Rome will open the first evening on April 29. There will be numerous fireworks displays synchronized to music. This will be coupled with a variety of competitive displays by numerous Maltese fireworks factories. A fireworks display synchronized to music will close the event on each evening. One of these will be designed by the Santa Maria Fireworks Factory of Mqabba and the other will be designed by the Mount Carmel Fireworks Factory of Zurriq. On April 30, the world renowned Parente Fireworks Company of Italy will be closing the festival with its own grand pyro-musical display.
The best view points to enjoy the fireworks displays will be from Barriera Wharf on the Valletta sea front or else from on top of the bastions of the capital city Grand Harbour.
Tradition of Fireworks in Malta
Fireworks in Malta have a long tradition which goes back to the time of the Order of the Knights of St John. The feu de joie, the musketterija, the solfarelli d’aria, St Catherine’s wheels (irdieden) and other forms of fireworks originated from explosives that were lit off from mortars as an expression of rejoicement on special occasions, such as the election of a Grand Master or a Pope as well as on the birth of a prince. This centuries-old tradition is still very much alive in the crowded calendar of village festas that take place all over Malta and Gozo.
|From Epic Fireworks – Star Bursts – Part 3|
This year’s fireworks festival seems to have been jinxed from the start – the difficulties faced by participants, a 24-hour postponement due to hitches when importing the foreign fireworks, and technical problems during Friday’s display – things that happen in live spectacles, entertainers would say.
But this year’s hitches could very well prove to be an ill omen for the future of fireworks in the years to come, depending on the outcome of an appeal case currently before the courts.
The festival’s organisers this year opted for a different location from where to off the fireworks, abandoning Dockyard Creek in favour of Kalkara Creek – the reason being that while Dockyard Creek is densely populated on both sides, especially Senglea, Kalkara Creek lies between Vittoriosa, including Fort St Angelo, and the less populated peninsula leading to Fort Bighi.
The populated area consideration is topical given recent and ongoing judicial proceedings with regard to the setting off of fireworks.
A constitutional judgment delivered on 26 March changed the legal interpretation of the place from where fireworks are to be set off.
The law stipulated that fireworks were permitted to be discharged only from a spot that was 200 metres away from an “inhabited area”, which was defined as an area inhabited by 100 or more people.
Following a constitutional application, the court decreed that people living in clusters of less than 100 people were being discriminated against, thus their rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination were being violated. Consequently, the judgment effectively nullified the previous definition.
The legal change has not been implemented as yet since a constitutional appeal has been filed. However, fireworks enthusiasts are scared stiff of the possibility that the original judgment will be confirmed, which would mean the de facto demise of fireworks in Malta.
Malta Tourism Authority events manager Martin Morana, responsible for organising the fireworks festival, told this newspaper that the location of barges used to let off fireworks was designated by Malta Maritime Authority. He explained that the Authority was responsible for the sea traffic in and out of the busy harbour.
Mr Morana held that the show had moved out of Dockyard Creek due to the recent expansion of Grand Harbour Marina.
Malta Pyrotechnic Society vice-president Joseph Camilleri said factories had been facing some problems recently with the reduction in quotas for basic material used in their concoctions, mainly potassium nitrate and potassium chloride. A decrease in these materials, he said, meant a correlated decrease in the amount of fireworks produced.
Asked whether the new area suited enthusiasts’ needs, he explained that it was always better to set off fireworks from land than from barges. Northeastern winds can be a great hindrance in this case, as experience has shown, he said. Mr Camilleri described epic battles against the infamous Grigal winds, which meant spending three hours anchoring just one barge. “Trying to manage the setting up of fireworks and letting them off in such conditions is more dangerous than their actual manufacture,” he remarked.
The notion that sea traffic might be an added hindrance was suggested, to which he replied that Sidney Harbour Bridge is only closed for half an hour prior and following fireworks displays. The bridge, he said, is not even closed during the 10 days it takes workers to place tons and tons of fireworks on the bridge.
Mr Camilleri also referred to the recent court judgement, which could effectively mean the end of aerial displays. Village feasts will cease to include fireworks in their programmes, he lamented, as most villages do not have an uninhabited area within a 200-metre radius from where to let off fireworks.
“Maltese laws regarding fireworks are very stiff, even when compared to other countries,” said Mr Camilleri, whose passion for his hobby has taken him to other countries to see firework displays.
In Catania, he said, fireworks are let off from a garden not far from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. He recalled that the completion of the three-year restoration of the façade of St Peter’s Basilica was celebrated by a fireworks display from the roof of the 500-year-old building.
Mr Camilleri foresaw a grim future for tourism if fireworks in Malta are stopped, as the country’s efforts to attract tourists included a heavy dose of fireworks and village feasts. On a micro level, he added, village feasts do help the economy by generating general expenditure on a variety of goods, from equipment and perishables used by enthusiasts to decorate the church, clubs and streets, to food and drink.
Back to the festival, MTA postponed it “due to mechanical faults that the ship transporting the fireworks developed”. The foreign fireworks did not enjoy much luck after arriving on the island, especially those used on Friday.
People attending the festival had to bear with a number of stoppages resulting from technical hitches and sea traffic.
Two Maltese displays were not given at the designated time due to technical problems, while the programme was suspended for a while due to sea traffic, and the arrival of the Sicily ferry.
Those who braved the cold were told at 11.25pm that a foreign display would start at about 11.50pm. However, the first fireworks of the Maltese displays that had been skipped were let off at 1.10am, by which time quite a large number of people had left their vantage points. The foreign display followed later.
People who contacted this newspaper yesterday complained that Friday’s session was run sporadically, but could not complain about the actual displays, which were described as “marvellous”. Click here for the original story.
The Penghu County Government, which has organized the event since 2003, plans large firework displays on designated nights for a month.
The Penghu County Government schedule says the fireworks displays will be held on every Wednesday and Saturday night from 8:30pm to 8:45pm next month.
The display on the opening night this Saturday will be conducted in two stages and will feature several designs of fireworks, including two that will display a large windmill and the English word “Go!”
The county government’s tourism bureau said in a statement earlier this month that this year’s festival would coincide with the Labor Day Holiday, which is a three-day weekend.
Sea and air transportation services during this time are all booked up, the bureau said, adding that it has asked airlines and shipping firms to offer additional services during the festival.
However, a story published in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) two weeks ago said that only Uni Air had promised to offer additional flights to its schedule to help transport passengers.
The fireworks will be launched mainly from the coastal park at Guanyingting.
On May 16, the fireworks will be staged in the county’s Baisha Township.
On the last day, they will be held in Husi Township.
The number of rockets used will exceed 20,000 this year, the bureau said, while the organizer will also invite pop singers and local artists to perform at the festival.