CANNES INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF PYROTECHNIC ART

Back in April we brought you details of Le Festival D’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes which was first competed for in 1967, the stunning bay between Iles de Levine and La Pointe de l’Esterel the best of the best international professional pyrotechnic teams battle it out for the Silver Vestale, the Audience Award and the Jury Prize.

The event pulls in crowds of around 200,000 spectators on the Cote d’Azur and this year was no exception.

The competition will be judged on:

Music and firework conception: originality and quality of the pyrotechnics
The soundtrack- quality and originality
The synchronisation – the precision timing between the bursts/breaks/effects and the cadence of the music track
General artistic impression – each juror will note their personal impressions and compare notes at the end

First to show their mettle – Baku Fireworks Group (Azerbaijan) who fired on 14th July. I have to say from the outset that it was a massive firing site and there did seem to be some disparity between the music (which incidentally was very emotive) and the pyro was lovely with some beautiful glitter shells. The slices were absolutely spot on and the green groundworks were lovely with brilliant gold crossette breaks. A nicely paced show and again the music was very evocative of the Azerbaijan culture. With the increase in pace, the titanium flashes were perfect and some really pretty shaped rings.

Cannes, 69th anniversary of the liberation

Something was definitely amiss with random pieces firing out of sequence affecting the overall symmetry and the right hand side appeared to have a mind of its own. Despite this the effects were beautiful and the variety and clarity of colours throughout were exceptional.

Next up; Surex (Poland) who took centre stage on 21st July starting out with some impressive fanned glittering groundwork which were just delightful but they also appeared to be having some technical issues as the timing was definitely ‘off’.

They had some enchanting glittering rings with a purple and gold pistil centre and the falling golden horsetails gently falling in the sky but again, another rogue shell burst to the right out of sequence.

There were some nice ground fans, aquatic shells and sweeping fans alongside some lovely spider breaks in bronze before some MASSIVE chrysanthemum bursts.

The finale section was really clever with some split second timing to the music and the lovely glittering tipped willows were sublime. Hanwarimono, massive chrysanthemums and crossing slices – VERY DRAMATIC – a great display.

Intermede of France were next to entertain the troops so to speak on 30th July and from the first note of the music, their musical interpretation was absolute on on the money and unusually the sound of the pyro could actually be heard above the soundtrack. The super slow falling horsetails were beautiful but it was a bit disjointed and lacked substance (a few more pieces would have helped) although you were left feeling as though building towards something spectacular.

Massive glittering and tailed chrysanthemum shells and the single shot slices on the operatic section were almost ethereal.

Once again, a few random pieces fired incorrectly, one big shell which I am sure frightened the living daylights out of the technicians but the finale was really very colourful and dramatic and the firing system issues continued to plague them to the end – a terrible shame.

Next up, representing the UK 7th August – Pyrotex Fireworx who were worthy winners at last years Champion of Champions event were there to take on the rest of the World. Derby based Pyrotex Fireworx from Derbyhave lifted some of the biggest awards including Malta, Firework Champions event and of course Monaco in 2012 and 2014.

Great opening with some incredibly bright red/purple glittering slices and a bit of a misfire on the right (definitely the bogey side!) but the fireworks dancing to the beat of the music were lush! The strains of Paladio by eScala with beat perfect pyro (especially the fanned gold to purple strobing glitter ground pieces – stunning!) and the greens set up the purples and silvers beautifully.

Musical choice was well received by the attendees and the ‘Delilah’ section with the superbright stars were lovely with some breathtaking colour combinations and superb musical interpretation. Onto ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and the beautiful music with the magical and unique and pretty effects and musical interpretation was once again on the money and the massive paklm bursts were luscious.

Adele’s ‘Set Fire To The Rain’ is a great track and fitted the bill perfectly the circle shaped and space ship shells were absolutely lovely but the pyro bogeyman was at the ready with another misfire or two and the Big Spender section was very precise with some beautifully intricate combinations.

Strobing shells, bronzes, greens and lilacs and the flaming right side was on a mission again (I am telling you straight – I would have been going flip mode by this point!).

The penultimate track was back to the Divas with Whitney and I will always love you with big heart bursts, super shells and falling glitter and the hearts which actually broke correctly – Go Pyrotex

The finale was a treat for the eyes as the cadence of the fireworks rose and fell to the beat of Nessum Dorma – well done to the team.

Jupiter – Argentina – 15th August

The opening bursts of a line of ground horsetails with beautiful glowing pearls was quite stunning as they majestically fell to the water followed by several almost perfect Chrysanthemum shells changing to strobing glitter which were exquisite.  However, the Argentinian team were not about to have it easy either as once again the right hand side threw up 3 horsetail shots out of sequence (which was really apparent with the two super willow shells on the centre and left!).  The second sequence had the fireworks split second perfectly timed to the musical track and it was absolutely charming but then there was absolutely no ‘form’ to the aerial work at all and some frighteningly low breaks again.

A nice selection of effects, but the standout section for me has to have been the fast firing full spread fans which were awesome.

Firework Display

I have to say that even as someone with a very eclectic musical taste the tracks chosen by the team were at best random and at worst, sounded like a tortured cat. This is my biggest bugbear with millions of tracks available why the music is so pants!

The hearts to flying fish were very nice and the pretty red strobing comets falling gracefully just before the finale were lovely and subtle. The finale itself was very dramatic with some massive willow but it doesn’t taker away from the technical/set up errors which plagued them throughout.

The last night was given to a showcase display from Prestatech Artifices who put together an opening sequence of massive brocade shells which were nothing short of stunning. The Japanese determine that the more perfectly spherical a shell burst is, the better the firework gods will appreciate it. Along with the other competitors, Prestatech were plagued by technical issues too which I am sure the majority of spectators wouldn’t have been any the wiser about.

The results were:

WINNER OF THE SILVER VESTAL – JUPITER – ARGENTINA
AUDIENCE AWARD – PYROTEX FIREWORX – UK
JURY PRIZE – SUREX – POLAND

Well done to all the competitors.

Who Won Plymouth Fireworks

Day two of the British Firework Championships (details of day 1 can be found here) and the competition remained close to the last burst.

Firing were, Fantastic Fireworks, Gala Fireworks and First Galaxy Fireworks but unlike Tuesday, when it was a very nice balmy evening yesterday it was banging down most of the day so the second set of teams were already on the back foot. The conditions at the Hoe also resulted in the Red Arrows having to cancel their display because of the low cloud, rain and sea mist.

British Firework Championships - Plymouth - 18/08/2015

But, despite the inclement conditions, like the professionals they are, the show must go on.

Fantastic Fireworks – 9.30 pm

The team from Fantastic Fireworks are from Pepperstock and from the very first burst, this team were definitely on point. Some of the early shells were absolutely HUGE. Great colour combinations with some rich cherry reds and beautiful lilacs and the red heart sequence at just under 2 minutes was beautiful and evoked some genuine oohs and ahhs from the gathered spectators. Smiley faces were as cute as!

The pace slowed a little for the longer lasting effects so that the spectators could see the falling, strobing pieces more effectively – very very LOUD!

Some of the mid section was pure noise with a couple of titanium flashes for good measure before the 7 minute mark when the fast firing fans were pretty and increased in intensity as the pace picked up. Beautiful colour combinations.

Conditions were against them but they lit up the whole of the area with their HUGE finale which looked like Hiroshima having another ‘one of those days’ crikey moses it was incredible. BRILLIANT

Gala Fireworks – 9.50pm

This professional team hail from Northampton and have notched up wins at a number of Firework Champions events in the past few years.

The opening was immense and a great start but although beautifully paced with some awesome effects, a couple of minutes in, the technical difficulties that were going to affect them throughout were apparent and impacted on the flow of the display massively. Gorgeous sweeping fans with some brilliantly bright colours but the slight pause between the effects gave the feeling of each part being a separate entity rather than as part of a whole.

At 6 ½ minutes in it looked as if someone had hit ‘fire all’ as the sky was packed with pyro – a little strange and polar opposite from the dark sky to having so much going on you didn’t know where to look first. The super shells were AWESOME! And the finale was LOUD BRIGHT and full of flash. Great effort – shame about the tech issues :(

First Galaxy 10.10pm

Nottingham based First Galaxy Fireworks were newcomers to the British Firework Championships. They opened with some beautiful and incredibly loud pieces which were symmetrical and incorporated a wide variety of colours and effects. Multi coloured horse tails followed by slowly falling silver to gold ones were stunning.

The groundwork (imho) was not on the same page as the aerial bursts but, was still a beautiful mid section. The glittering tailed comets were beautiful and as the cadence picked up, the fast firing sweep was lovely. I just loved the multi colour changing shells too.

The pace was on point throughout and it built nicely to a deafening crescendo with every effect and colour of the rainbow in there for good measure.

All the displays were a credit to the teams involved but there has to be a winner and on this occasion, first night team Spyrotechnics were just edged out because of the innovative heart sequence from Fantastic Fireworks who came away winners with Spyrotechnics as first runner-up.

British Firework Championships - Plymouth - 18/08/2015

Great event once again – well done to all the competitors ;-)

Day One At The British Fireworks Championships

Last night saw the British Firework Championships get under way on Plymouth’s Waterfront as the first three teams took to the skies in perfect conditions on a beautifully balmy evening.

Phoenix Fireworks 9.30pm

Highly experienced Phoenix Fireworks hail from Sevenoaks and are one of the top pro firing teams in the UK and hold some of the biggest accolades in the industry.

They got underway and there appeared to be something amiss from the outset as random slices appeared to fire out-of-order and the structure of the display, which has always been ‘on point’ for previous examples of their work was definitely out of kilter. A couple of minutes in, we had some major dark sky which pretty much confirmed the technical issues they were experiencing. An awful shame – particularly given the amount of work which goes into creating competitive displays but they battled on and the quality of their pyro and the bursts on their shells were just awesome. I especially liked the cross over slices with the smiley faces and the gold to silver horse tails were just beautiful. Some of the fast firing ground work was particularly lovely.

A great showing (apart from the tech issues) and the finale was absolutely AMAZING.

Spyrotechnics 9.50 pm

Next up, the professional team from Spyrotechnics of Chesterfield – this team are no strangers to the silverware either with wins at several of the Firework Champions events.

Great opening and the early blue centred super shells were wonderful. All very symmetrical and rich and varied colours and nice effects and they had some glittering strobing horse tails which were just lovely and held the air for an age.

Make sure you check out the finale video below – filmed in 4K by Pyro Productions.

On point from the first burst. A most enjoyable display which will certainly take some beating. The huge glowing orbs at around 7 minutes in were incredible – like massive bright Chinese lanterns gracefully rising into the night sky and the jellyfish were amazing. The finale – what can I say that the crowds didn’t – OMG it was, to coin a phrase like a bombing raid – Great job well done Spyrotechnics.

Essex Pyrotechnics 10.10pm

Last up on day 1 were the team from Essex Pyrotechnics who hail from Newport in Essex. This team has been thrilling audiences for over 25 years with their innovative displays and their own pyrotechnic expertise.

Nicely paced throughout with some lovely (if a little off centre?) shell breaks but one burst at around 3 minutes burst incredibly low (brown pants time!). The groundwork was really good with some great colour combinations.

The space ships and falling glitter were awesome and brought forth a number of oohs and aahs from onlookers along with the sublime sweeping fans.

The finale brought forth some lovely shells with super-bright flashes and a lovely close to a wonderful evening of pyrotechnics in this lovely setting.

Tonight sees Fantastic Fireworks, Gala Fireworks and Galaxy Fireworks take to the stage. If you are in the area, get along to the Hoe for a beautiful evening of entertainment for all the family.

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