Tag Archives: Cannes



There are few places synonymous with wealth and beauty, but Cannes must be one of them. Cannes is the quintessential playboy paradise with sun and sea and on the stunning French Riviera. Known for its luxury hotels and the area has been used to influence the film industry creating fantastic films like Ronin, Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief and the compelling French Connection to name but a few.

This event has been running for over 50 years now and continues to delight and amaze the gathered spectators today. There is a rich mix of pyro companies taking part in this year’s competition which will bring the best of the best to battle it out filling the skies over the azure blue waters of the Med. The Bay lies between Iles de Levine and La Pointe de L’Esterel and they are competing this year for the Silver Vestale.

The pyro is set up and fired from 3 barges in the Bay some 400 metres from the seafront. Each team is tasked with creating a 25-minute display choreographed to music. The judges will allocate the scores for each of the competing teams according to these rules:

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

The teams competing and the dates they will be displaying on are as follows:







The jury awarded the Vestale D’ Argent 2017 to Patrick Brault from Alpha Pyrotechnie and the Jury Prize 2017 to Joven Ngo from Dragon Fireworks which was absolutely beautiful with clear crisp colours and effects throughout.

The support team is on the ball when it comes to clearing up after the event with a boat which goes out and clears up all the remnants of expired floating shells which are floating on the water and the next day a specialist team cleans up the seabed.

A couple of the teams have actually picked up awards at this event previously, so they will all be bringing their ‘A’ game. Jupiter won the silver vestal in 2015 and at the same competition, Surex picked up the jury’s prize.



WHEN: 14TH JULY 2016 – 24TH AUGUST 2016

This is the 48th running of the magnificent pyrotechnic art festivals which began back in 1967.

Who amongst the international masters of firework art will lift the coveted Silver Vestal d’ Argent or the Prix du Public (Audience Vote) this year. The Silver Vestale is competed for annually and then there is a champion of champions’ events once every four years to compete for the Gold Vestale. The Vestale is named after Vesta, the goddess of fire and Zeus’ sister and a fire was kept alight at all times by six virgin princesses who were called the ‘Vestales’.

‘To paint or make war’ were the options said to be available to the makers of gunpowder/black powder. Fortunately, whilst very brave and talented people, pyro-heads love fireworks; the colours, sounds and effects so expect the exotic and the remarkable.

Each display team is charged with creating a display lasting a minimum of 25 minutes before the 200,000 spectators packing the 400m seafront promenade. There are a few rules and regulations in place which ensure that all competitors are given the same opportunity to reach the pinnacle of their game.

The pyro is fired at sea from 3 barges which are positioned around 400m offshore and 180m away from the next nearest competing team’s set up and all effects must be aerial/aquatic.

One of the areas regarding this event which stands out for me is the organizers attention to ensuring that the Bay is kept in its usual pristine condition at all times. Immediately after the displays have been fired, a special boat goes and collects all the floating detritus and the following day a specialist team clears the seabed of any remaining waste.

Teams competing, the dates and themes are as follows:

Thursday 14th July 2016 – Pirotecnia Reyes (Mexico)
Theme: Mexico through its history

The company was established in 1910 by Don Manuel Reyes Rodriguez and in 1911, Manuel Reyes Solano left school at the tender age of 12 to join the family firework business and the company has continued in the care of the same family, through the generations, for over a century.

Thursday 21st July 2016 – Pyroemotions (Italy)
Theme: Life is Beautiful

Life is a gift – let’s fully appreciate it and the Italians believe that a good pyromusical show has the ability to connect the hearts, minds and souls of the massively diverse audience. This team has lifted and incredible number of awards and accolades, including Silver in Monaco in 2015, Gold at Pyronale (Berlin) in 2014 and Gold in Montreal in 2013 to name just a few.

Friday 29th July 2016 – Joho Pyro (Finland)
Theme: Conquering the rough Northern seas

The business was established in 2004 by Johan Hollande on a little island just off the coast of Finland. The theme is largely about the power and influence of the Northern seas on the coastline of Finland and its life giving energy. The seas around Finland are mainly the North, Baltic and Bering Sea’s. 40% of the country’s industry relates to the sea with shipping, fishing etc at the top of the list. The people of Finland, like their Nordic ancestry would suggest are connected to the sea ‘by the brine in their veins.

Sunday 7th August 2016 – Arteventia (France)
Theme: Abracadabra The music

The team was established in 2013 and whilst the company is still relatively young, they continue to gain experience.

Magic is both fascinating and scary and this show will take the audience into the world of abracadabra magic; dynamic, emotional and set to engage the spectators, with beautiful colours and effects and of course a magical soundtrack to boot.

Monday 15th August 2016 – Howard & Sons (Australia)
Theme: Pyrophoric Symphony

The word ‘pyrophoric’ comes from the Greek word for fire-bearing. This display will take the audience along on a special journey through beautiful symphonic pieces with pyrotechnics to create the perfect combination. Howard & Sons are the suppliers of the pyrotechnics to Disneyland and Disneyworld.

Wednesday 24th August 2016 – Flash Barrandov (Czech Republic)
Theme: Straight to the Heart

The company was established in 1994, as an independent company, having worked for a number of years as part of the fast growing film industry for SFX, armoury for film, snow and atmospheric effects. This team have taken Europe by storm over the last 10 years in particular with wins at some of the biggest firework competition events in Europe including Herrenhausen, Szczecin and Cannes. The company today runs the Ignis Brunensis competition in the beautiful Czech Republic.

The theme is the bringing together of music and fire creating a joyful duet to this music which covers all the emotions from love and romance to eroticism and sensitivity. The team aim to capture the hearts of their visitors and take them on a journey of discovery.

Good luck to all the competitors and we look forward to bringing you the result in due course.

Fireworks Cannes



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 have 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 take 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:


Well done to all the competitors.