Due to a work conflict, I was unable to perform the interview with David and Joël Hamon in person so am grateful to Mylène Salvas for posing my questions and providing me with a recording of her interview.
Since competing in Montreal for the first time in 2007, féérie have won prizes in several competitions: 1st prize in Blackpool, UK, in 2010 as well as first prize at a competition in Madeira, Portugal, just last year. For the 20th anniversary of the founding of their company, they are happy to compete in what they describe as the premier fireworks competition in the world, Montreal! It is always good to hear pyrotechnicians acknowledge this fact, especially given other competitions are starting to promote themselves as the “World Championship of Fireworks” or somesuch – the fact is that Montreal is still considered to be the premier competition amongst the pyrotechnic community.
The company’s patriarch, Joël Hamon was responsible for the thematic design of the show, including the music selection and son David was responsible for the technical design. The theme is based on the writings of the renowned French author, Jules Verne, and Joël’s son, Leo (aged only 7), takes part in the narrative by asking his “uncle Jules” about his writings and voyages. Thus, with “Around the world in 80 days” as well as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” or “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, the music will form the backdrop to a pyrotechnic voyage. Joël noted, that with a population as diverse as Montreal’s, they wanted to avoid something mono-thematic and use a diverse range of music that would be recognizable but eclectic at the same time.
The diverse range of music didn’t present as much as a challenge as the 30 minute duration to David who noted that, though he doesn’t like to repeat the same effects, sometimes it is necessary in order to correctly highlight certain parts with the right effect, despite there being a vast range of products available.
On the technical side lots of specially made Spanish products will be used, particularly colour changing palms and strobes. The manufacturers used include Zaragozana and Igual from Spain as well as Vulcan and Lidu from China some Italian products from Martarello. The show will be fired using 99 32-cue FireOne modules.