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




This weekend sees the 16th International Firework Festival get under way in Zagreb. The event is held on the right bank of the Sava River in the beautifully reclaimed area of parkland around which before the clean up was nothing more than a dirty swamp.
Today it is a beautifully serene space on the edge of a bustling City widely used by families in large numbers and it hosts a number of handicraft and art shows over the Summer months.

The firework festival is organized by the local international pyro team from the ever capable Mirnovec Pirotehnika who have a proud client list including The Rolling Stones, the late David Bowie and Metallica from the music industry and Steven Spielberg and Richard Gere from the film genre. The team also boast a great competition pedigree having won award all across Europe.

Joining Mirnovec will be teams from Poland and Italy. The team from Poland; Surex Pirotecnia, originally operated from 1989 as a government controlled industry for the Ministry of the Interior, dealing with all manner of arms and explosives as well as fireworks. In 1993, the control was passed to the company wholly and they began featuring firework displays in 1995 and continue to this day in competition, corporate work and of course huge public displays. They won best synchronization in 2015 in Cannes and it was absolutely stunning. They also host an annual International Fireworks Festival in Poland; Pyromagic.

The team from Italy is being represented by Scarpato Pirotecnia which was established a staggering 232 years by the current family run business’ ancestors who was part of the latter 18th century local ‘fire artisans group’ who prepared firework displays for the royal palaces across Europe.

One of the oldest Italian firework families highly recognised as regular users of highly coloured fiery flowers.

The event will include a ‘Baby Fireworks’ display for the children along with live music, an amusement park with rides and attractions, food and drink concessions .

Each of the 10 minute displays will include a 3 minute ‘compulsory’ piece of music, this year from Ivo Robic ‘To You My City’ and the remainder will be freestyle. The teams will be awarded points for pyrotechnic choice, choreography, music choice and the clarity and accuracy of the timing.

Monies collected on the night go so support charities fighting for humanitarian causes.