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L'International des Feux Loto-Québec 2008
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Paul's Rankings for 2008

This was a good year, in fact, one of the best in recent memory, especially for the complete lack of technical problems. All displays started on time, and there were no serious problems in any display - even when unexpected muzzle breaks damaged cables. Congratulations to Paul Csukassy and all the crew for this great achivement. The weather wasn't quite so cooperative, but we only had one display where it was actually raining during the display (and hopefully the closing show won't make this two).

Creativity was present this year but the level of complexity was kept in check, like last year. It has been interesting to see the number of cues use diminish somewhat over the past couple of years to an average of around 3000 or less (except for Pyrotecnic's 6600). Even the shows with large numbers of cues didn't feel overdone or mechanical. Choice of themes this year was somewhat nebulous again but surprised us, in the case of Pyrotencio and Luso, by being very well executed despite being somewhat "safe". The one outstanding display in terms of theme was the Heaven and Hell display from Pyrovision. Unfortunately, I think they really missed the chance to excel by taking a funereal approach to parts of it and dragging twenty minutes of display material into thirty minutes of actual time, which was a shame as parts of it were very well done.

As well as choice of theme, there is also the aspect of staging. Garden City and Howard and Sons had displays that were very wide, as did Pyrotecnico to an extent as well. Luso were very theatrical with lots of surprises and special touches - this really setting their entry apart from everyone else in my opinion. The Psycho scene, as well as Jaws and Mission Impossible were very memorable.

Set pieces and structures were present in several displays this year but not in on overbearing way. One effect that was used in over-abundance, for some unknown reason, was that of the horsetail shell. Never have I seen so many! Narration was mainly absent, fortunately, and where it was present it actually added to the displays - a rare first I think. The only real dead periods were in Pyrovisions display with some segments plodding on at a very laborious pace, breaking the feeling altogether.

This year, I will not post a summary of any of the displays, just my predictions and my personal choices.

Paul's jury predictions

Paul's personal choice

I'm very grateful to all the dedicated staff at La Ronde who work untold hours to make this competition happen. Many people would be shocked to see how much work is required to pull off this competition so flawlessly every year. So special thanks to Martyne Gagnon, Paul Csukassy, Martin Roy, Marie-Hélène Gladu, and Marc Tremblay, Director of La Ronde, as well as everyone else whom space doesn't permit me to mention. Once again, you gave me a memorable summer and a chance to indulge my passion. I must also thank my co-fanatics who were present through rain and shine: Bob Burch, Frédérick Bastien, Steve Austin and Mylene Salvas - it's always refreshing to know that one is not the only one afflicted with pyromania! I would also like to mention the gaping hole left by the death of Georges Lamon in March this year - the atmosphere down at the Salon des Artificiers just wasn't the same without him and is a cause of great sadness for everyone who knew him in his tireless coverage of the competition over it's first 23 years, never missing a single display.

One final note, just to say that I consider myself a reporter on the competition, not a critic. The combination of fireworks and music excites different people in different ways. My musical tastes are different to other people's and this inevitably influences my enjoyment of a display. This year some displays which I personally really liked, others disliked because of the music. My job, as your humble reporter, is to describe what I saw and report the music used.


Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official press release material, shown in white.