Friday, May 16, 2008

Fireworks from around the World – Valencia Part 2

Now as with the Day Light shows the large night time Fireworks Displays all start with a set of Three Massive Maroons.

Aching a bit as you tend to have to stand around for an hour or so you find yourself clock watching waiting for 1am to arrive. Now while you wait there’s no shortage of entertainment, and the level of entertainment depends entirely on where you stand. It’s well known locally that the kids and youths and firework nutters hang around in or near the dry riverbed and enjoy hurling fireworks around at each other! Now I suppose to the un initiated it sounds terrifying and to a certain extent it is a little scary and you definitely need to be on your guard.

So long as you don’t walk through the middle and keep a few steps away you’ll be fine, its incredible to hear and see the fireworks going off, huge thunder maroons exploding on the floor and also Barrettas (Tourbillions) flying all over the place. It seems to me that your king of the group if you can catch under your foot a Barretta thrown by the opponents and pick it up and throw if back to them. To clarify this it means catching a rocket without a stick that’s hurtling around randomly, grasp it in the hand and throw it back, whilst all the time avoid being quite seriously burnt or hit by it.

BANG, the first of the three maroons goes off…there is now just ten minutes remaining until the show starts. By now people are really cramming in all around the dry river bed to see the Fireworks. You needed to have made your mind up earlier on in the day where you intended to view from as with 10 minutes to go there is absolutely no chance of changing you mind as many Roads were closed off well over an hour ago. My best advice is ensuring you’re up wind of the show, or at least definitely no downwind. The smoke can get very thick and blot out many of the gorgeous fireworks in the show.

BANG, the second maroon thunders across the city, the crowd are now starting to get excited, standing to their feet and getting themselves into a final viewing position. Many turning on cameras and video cameras so they can capture the mood. Looking around there are so many people, stretching far back into the streets off the main roads either side of the dry river bed, some lucky viewers are in the properties either side of the roads, with ringside seats up high on some balcony’s. Although these positions come with a small amount of risk as we have seen fireworks land in the balcony’s before now.

BANG the final Maroon shakes the ground and the Fireworks roar into life…..

Look out for Part Three as Lee will write down some snippets from his favourite display of 2008.

you can check out more info at our website

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fireworks From Around The World - Valencia

What really impresses me about my trips to Valencia is the spirit of the locals and just how stylish and relaxed they all seem to be. The whole outdoor eating culture and Tapas eaten over a 2 hour Lunch is just perfect for me. This attitude is no more prominent than in the organisation of the Evening Fireworks Displays which take place on the Dry River Bed that cuts through Valencia. I say in the evening it is actually around 1am in the morning! This alone amazes me, you would never see anything like that in Britain, and the Local Authorities would never dare.

The City itself is Gorgeous and there is so much to do, the Dry River Bed where the large Night time Firework Display happen is actually a park open to the public, there are areas of grass, orange trees and open water areas where people laze the lovely sunny days away. The Firing Site is located in-between two bridges and is on what looks like a purpose created area. It is football pitch sized and is just gritty sand, probably made up from the hundreds of sandbags used, broken and left there after each show. Next to the firing area which is all fenced off is a café and you can be sure that each day for late lunch there is a whole host of international Anoraks gathered chewing their food and discussing the contents of the looming show which is set up ready to go just 50 metres away from them.

The set ups alone are quite impressive, no doubt even to those who do not have a clue what it is all for. Rows and rows of neatly laid racks and mortar tubes, Roman Candles, Cake Barrages and Flying Saucers litter the site in an orderly set up. Usually there is also a healthy compliment of computerised sequencer boxes and single shot arrangements, simply put this enables the Fireworks Operators to control via computer each and every single pyrotechnic effect. Now usually a firework is lit electrically and from that point on the rest of the fireworks timing Is controlled by the internal or external fusing. Now this fusing can be fairly accurate but some can also be fairly inaccurate, so it’s the done thing these days in large scale events to create real controlled design through electrical ignition of single effects. This means we can lay hundreds of cables, connections and igniters, even 1000’s and just for a few seconds of fireworks, massive effort for only a small amount of time. However its well worth it because for those few seconds you can create precisely what your imagination dreams of.

Once we have scanned the firing site we all try to have a guess at what is coming in the show that Night, second guessing what the layout will achieve in the Air, and of course we can see the total amount of stuff to be used and interestingly as the days and nights roll by the shows grow in size and by the last Night the Tennis Court sized firing area is bulging with around £100.000 worth of Fireworks.

Lee and the team from Britannia Fireworks will report on one of the shows seen and the carnival atmosphere in a future Blog