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 Montreal Fireworks Forum —› 2016 Display Reviews —› Sweden - Göteborgs FyrverkeriFabrik AB reviews
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Posted: Jul 27, 2016 18:53:22

Please post your reviews of the Swedish display here!



Posted: Jul 28, 2016 06:48:16   Edited by: fredbastien

The 32nd edition of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition, which had not begun with obvious contenders to the podium, has finally turned into an epic battle for the Gold Jupiter! Ricardo Caballer and Martin Hildeberg, who appear to have a friendly relationship in other respects, have competed one against the other a couple of times, including in Montreal in 2005 and Hannover in 2015. Both openly strived for the highest position on the podium. We will know very soon who gets the Gold Jupiter but, in meantime, the audience is certainly the winner.

I highly anticipated this show and it is obvious that I wasn’t alone. Countless aficionados have converged to La Ronde, many from the United States; some pyros from the Philippines have even been spotted (with some cues from forum member Vander). Following the city tour A Night in Gothenburg in 2005 and DJ’s Memories in 2010, Göteborgs FyrverkeriFabrik (GFF) presented The Joy of Life. I can’t imagine a better title to express how blessed I felt, tonight, having the opportunity to attend a such extravaganza. Through this 30 minutes 20 seconds excellent show, I frequently beated the ground with both feets and I could not believe how time flew!

The setup of this display speaks about the complexity of technical design. In addition to the four permanent firing ramps and a fifth ramp made of five floating platforms, a lift held a 360-degree device more than 40 meters above the ground in the middle of the 2nd ramp (as a comparison, the purple and yellow Vampire roller coaster located next to the firing area reaches 32m). There were also nine firing positions along a “sky ladder” hanging from the lift platform, thus creating what we may call a vertical firing ramp (the 6th ramp?!). Each position had multiple devices arranged with different angles. In addition, nine poles along the 3rd ramp supported other pieces. These structures helped to create many horizontal sequences, among other things. It is also worth to note that the central platform of the 5th ramp was larger than usual, a lot of pyrotechnic effects being lit up closer to the audience than what the permanent ramps allow.

I have been very impressed about the variety of effects coming from the “sky ladder” (reminding me Grupo Luso Pirotecnia’s ring in 2002 and Pyroemotions’ circular slices in 2013) and, more important, their integration into many sequences. We are used to chase sequences firing pyrotechnic effects from one side to the other side of the firing area, typically along the 3rd ramp. The sky ladder effectively added a vertical dimension to these very same chase sequences.

As soon as the climactic opening segment, it came into life as we saw sequences of gerbs from ramps 3, 5 and the sky ladder. During the French-version of The Bare Necessities, a fanatic of the Jungle Book, sat next to me, highlighted the trumpet shape made with mines, synchronized to the notes from the same instrument. On the music of Imagine Dragons, fast sequences of photoflashes extended from ramp 3 to the hanging positions. On the corresponding lyrics of Happy, a set of mines burst from the top of the sky ladder to make a giant smiley face (it is a shame that it has not been repeated on the same lyrics, as it was the case with the YMCA letters in 2010, so more people could have seen it).

I felt that we saw a wide range of pyrotechnic effects tonight and designers have arranged them in a such way that they were not lost into the most active parts of the show: shells of flying fish on The Bare Necessities; volleys of horsetails on Beautiful Day, other horsetails ending in blue and red stars on Feeling Good; multibreak shells and studatas on I Got Life; long duration (almost 30 seconds) cakes of meteor-headed comets, mushroom shells, and shells of stars with a sequential change of colours on Imagine Dragons; V-shape fountains and thick fans (including two 90-degree “fans”) of comets on Happy; a well-done flight of double-ascension girandolas (reminiscent of the 2010 show), shells of triple rings and a carpet of nautical mines on The Time of my Life; shells of blue falling leaves early, other of red falling leaves turning in strobes later; very large shells of go-getters, studatas and nautical shells on You Can’t Stop the Beat. Whereas Ricasa focused on small devices, GFF had a good balance of large and small size effects. While red and blue were frequent, we had a good range of colours and some changing-colour effects.

The soundtrack was a departure from the 2010 DJ’s Memories. Whereas the previous GFF performance in Montreal featured 22 segments, this show had 11. The Swedish entrant had previously shown great abilities to mix the musics and to overlap pyrotechnic components of successive parts, so I was surprised to not have the same in The Joy of Life. The musics was also very engaging, while GFF took the risk to explore less popular repertoires, including the classical opening on Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, and less famous songs like You Can’t Stop the Beat, which has a great pace which was accurately reflected by the fireworks.

A couple of seconds after the beginning of the show, I told to a pyro friend sat next to me that it really had the same style than the 2010 performance: I felt that we could acknowledge Martin Hildeberg’s signature which, to my eyes, combines popular musics with razor-shape synchronization and detail-oriented pyromusical design. Then, in subsequent segments, the synchronization was not done in the same way and we didn't find the same level of details. During the protocol, two or three crew members have been introduced as designers of the show (including Hilderberg, of course). I hypothesize that Martin Hildeberg has been the (main) designer of the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th and 11th segments, whereas segments on the musics I Got Life and Feeling Good were mostly done by other designers; it is more difficult to predict for other parts, but the main point is that the show lacks a little of consistency, but it is a minor point.

I also saw some asymmetrical patterns, especially during the finale as some positions didn’t come into life, in particular on the 5th ramp. Fortunately, it didn’t impact the very intense finale which, once again, caused me to become almost out of control, screaming and beating the ground with my feets.


GFF is certainly a strong contender for the podium. However, it is especially difficult to rank the Spanish and the Swedish entrants, as both made fantastic performances! There are only thin differences. I had to use the evaluation grid to properly weight all criteria but, even with that, I am tormented as my grades are very close. I feel that I nonetheless have to make a choice!

Synchronization (10 points). The Spanish show was more consistent and reached higher precision – especially with the piano part – than the Swedish show.

Quality of soundtrack (15 points). Both were similar regarding how pieces were edited but, in the Spanish show, the narrative helped to stress the meaning of the music choices and its fit with the theme. However, I have to say that it was not very obvious when we heard it and may required good knowledge in arts or some research to get it.

Quality of pieces (15 points). Colours were less diverse and less bright in the Spanish show, where the range of effects also appeared more limited to me ; the letters Montreal 2016 were not fully effective as many people didn’t notice them with repeat viewing. That was better in the Swedish show, both for the colours and the range of effects.

Technical design (30 points). While the number of pieces was more important in the Spanish show, the Swedish team reached a better balance between various size of effects. The Spanish team had nice horizontal sequences, but the Swedish one achieved the same thing and even better with its “sky ladder”, which behaved like a vertical ramp. I believe that Ricasa put more efforts into its technical design due to the quantity of one-shot pieces and the number of cues to fire them, but GFF technical design appeared more effective and it was effective as well.

Pyromusical design (30 points). GFF design was often evocative of the songs, but it was not as consistent as the Spanish show. I believe that Ricasa was, to a certain extent, more successful to create some dramatic atmosphere during the display. Also, GFF has suffered of minor firing problems, which didn’t seem to be the case for Ricasa.

So my personal ranking :

1. Ricasa (Spain) [very tight]
2. Göteborgs FyrverkeriFabrik (Sweden) [very tight]
3. Sugyp (Switzerland)
4. Western Enterprises (United States)
5. Pirotecnia SPA (Chile)
6. Big Bang Fireworks (Canada)

My jury predictions appear in the corresponding thread, here.


Posted: Jul 28, 2016 13:00:26

This was a great show but I think it missed a thing. I think it would be better if they put songs like "Y a de la joie" and the music "Ode à la joie" of Beethoven. The theme was "Joie de vivre" and this two pieces would be a better choice than a couple of songs like the last one.

Il y avait de la narration quelques minutes après le début: j'ai bien aimé ce qu'on y disait. Le montage des pièces pyrotechniques était impressionnant avec cette grue dans les airs, mais ce qui fait que je place l'Espagne en premier, ce sont les tableaux qui m'ont marqué tel le Concerto no 1 de Tchaikovsky! C'était extraordinaire et je m'en souviendrai longtemps!

My personal ranking is:
1. Spain
2. Sweden
3. Switzerland
4. Chile
5. United States
6. Canada

A question to fredbastien: why you put two fireworks on second place? ;-)

Posted: Jul 28, 2016 13:09:17

A question to fredbastien: why you put two fireworks on second place? ;-)

Because I was too tired when I posted! I just fixed that typo. Merci!


Posted: Jul 28, 2016 13:10:30

Here is my report: http://montreal-fireworks.com/ReportBlog/?p=1229

Based on the first half of the GFF show, I thought they would be my #1, but the second half didn't quite work as well. It's very close this year, but I think Ricasa is just ahead for me personally.


Posted: Jul 28, 2016 19:55:34   Edited by: Smoke

The warmest evening of the fireworks season was in place for the return of one of the most anticipated displays. Temperatures of 27-28 C were present through the evening (27 C during display time), along with high humidity, inducing a humidex of 33 C. Generally isolated thunderstorms were also in forming to the North, NW and NE of the island by mid-afternoon, and a small isolated cluster took form towards the tip of the East end by near 11:00 p.m., with occasional flashes of lightning that could eventually be seen in the distance. Fortunately, thunderstorms did not affect the Swedish display. Winds were largely out from the SW (WSW slightly above the surface) and were fairly light (11-14 km/h), so the rapidly accumulating smoke was moving reasonably quickly towards mostly right-hand and sometimes central sections of the La Ronde audience, typically smoke associated with high-level shells. This was also likely the largest audience of the season, despite the slight thunderstorm risk.

What a powerfully delivered display by the Swedish team, as what most of us probably would have expected it to be! The effects were incredibly diversified, and we were treated with fantastic choreography, with some segments being very reminiscent of the 2010 display. The opening was definitely the most dramatic of all competitors this year, and it was also first for the most dramatic commencing immediately following the countdown, with bright angled comets with overhead shells of silver comets rapidly lighting up the sky, followed further by bright and colorful low-level flares that raced back and forth so tightly and intricately with the music. The narrative was also cleverly saved for the beginning of the second segment and was not overly distracting – it was clear, friendly and concise.

Like Spain, the opening was a sign of what could likely be expected over much of the duration of the show, and, indeed, we were ultimately treated with a very memorable display that I am sure will similarly be referred to for the years to come. Although not as technically complex as the Spanish display, Sweden accomplished some very energetic and spectacular sequences with one-shots of comets, mines, gerbs and flares, and available space was really taken advantage of. The firing patterns were explorative and filled up all levels of sky at many points. I found the selected songs were often very united with the diversity of quality products, as well as the choice of pyrotechnics to highlight important elements. As a result, I found the theme to be very cohesive and significantly represented, coupled with some of the most overall enjoyable soundtrack of the season. I must also comment briefly on the use of “sky ladder”. As the ladder first came to life, it really dazzled me, and the later sequences of single shots that formed a colorful stack were really captivating and complemented the low-level activity at those particular moments. One section where this structure was notably effective, in my mind, was during the “Happy” segment - the photoflashes were quite memorable here, too. Here, the circular firing patterns really reminded me vividly of some of the sequences during Italy 2013, as Fred also noted in his report. The happy face expression that emerged from this was also very breathtaking and caught many people off guard! This structure really added a nice dimension to the display and increased its firing depth. The colors were vivid and in a large variety, though a little less than both the Chilean and American displays.

Synchronization was virtually flawless, and very creatively designed with the soundtrack. All of the songs were typically relevant and made the most sense thematically. Similarly, transitions in pace were mostly clean and effective while sometimes evoking important varieties of emotions. In particular, the “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” segment was an emotional twist, for me, from the rest of the display and really set the stage for a penultimate piece and eventually the final segment. Introducing gold-glittering double-ascension girandolas was very appropriate for this segment, too. The transition to “Always Look At The Bright Side of Life” was also another good example of this notion. One song that I did not really care for, however, even though it was well represented, was “I Got Life”. The finale was awesome, but it needed to endure for a little longer before reaching that fabulous conclusion! Perhaps not breaking it up too much previously would have satisfied that constraint. Still, a powerful conclusion to a very successful display!

In large part, my criticisms are minor. For myself, I believe this display was so enjoyable and “complete” that it is a little difficult to find major negativity, as compared to other displays. One point, though, is that, like Spain, it might have been more beneficial if most of the soundtrack were to be shortened a little, such that a handful of additional songs could be integrated. This could have potentially increased the emotional depth of the show somewhat more. I also noticed a few minor firing problems/moments of asymmetry at some points. One notable part that I recall was during the comets of red stars during “On Top of The World”, when one firing position appeared to not go off when it should have, on the far right (La Ronde’s right). Although I loved “I’ve Had The Time of My Life”, I thought more could have been done to represent it at about midway into the soundtrack as the horsetails of red glitters slowly made their way to the surface, given the level of detail demonstrated for the first half of the song. In addition, I felt that the end of that song could have been better reinforced along low-level as it prepared to transition to the final segment. I also thought that the drooping effects themselves became somewhat redundant later in the display. Finally, while I really felt like this was a successful and enjoyable performance, I found it to be not quite as immersive, memorable and technically “delicious” as their 2010 entry, perhaps because I felt that the musical selection that year was much more vibrant, spirited, interactive and energizing, so it naturally made the fireworks even more enjoyable! To me, the transitions and emotional feel at that time were also more defined and inspirational.

Overall, again, a thoroughly enjoyed performance, as expected, and I am pleased that the weather cooperated (minus the above-surface wind direction). A strong contender for either the Gold or Silver Jupiter, in my mind.


Posted: Jul 28, 2016 22:46:40

My video (and some photos toward the end) can be found here:


Other videos from previous displays to come!


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 13:20:21

Fred, very nice photos, as always, of the setup! This really does give a good framework of the complexity of this display!

I also couldn't help but notice that you captured thunderstorms in development in the distance there, in your first photo!


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 21:44:32

Bit late with my review, but this was a great show for me. I really liked the vibrant colours, neat effects and great synchronization throughout the show.

I did find that there was a bit of repetition, but it was still a very enjoyable display. The pyromusical conception was also well done with decent connections between the shells/colours/density and the song lyrics.

Overall, this would definitely rank as one of my faovurite shows of the season.

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