Joe, do you want to design Malta?’
‘Erm Yeah ok?’ I was not sure if he was serious at first but Mark explained the tight constraints of the budget, his time and a meeting in Vietnam he had that would coincide with the show itself.
‘Yeah of course I’d love to’ so we chatted about some of the show details and it was agreed we would work to 10-11 minutes and I had a free choice of music to work with using 4 or 5 tracks. Oh, and It needed to be leaving for Malta by March 31st!
Obviously, that was a bit tight so I immediately started going through music on my phone in the evenings after work trying to pick appropriate songs for the theme of pride. The following three days I finalised my music choices and started on the design of the show. After a lot of editing and three music changes the design was finalised so Mark and I set about trying to get the products ordered that we didn’t have in stock, which turned out to be impossible due to stocks in the UK being very low so we had no choice but to substitute product.
Fast forward to April and we arrive on site to see all our racks laid out correctly but no pyro. After a brief conversation with Maltese authorities, we found that the district they had stored all of the international shows in would not allow transport until after 10am and we would only be allowed our single shot cakes slices and candles! Shells to follow tomorrow and I think it was around 3.30pm when we finally received some of our product. With our return transport being booked for 8pm we had very little time to sort through and unbox. What if the shells did not turn up till this time tomorrow? Anyway, we pushed on and did as much as we could.
As it happened, the following morning the shells were there waiting. Must have come on night freight. And we got done surprisingly quickly for saying we have a smaller crew than last time we were in Malta but with a similar size show with the added issue of pontoons, water and cranes. However the team pushed through and the site was rigged.
Once everything was checked we were ready to fire, and tensions were high, especially as this was my first competition show, however, the show fired perfectly apart from a couple of cross ignitions due to the slices being packed so tightly together which took the shine off it a little bit but the crowd didn’t notice as they were all congratulating me and shaking my hand afterwards which was a great feeling.
De rig on the other hand was intense. We got on the road back to the hotel at 2am. No bars were open so a beer was not achieved! However, the shows all fired without major incident and all crew and civilians went home safe and sound. Five great shows last night with some more amazing Maltese product. Overall, I have enjoyed my first real pyro musical and I have been lucky enough to entertain more people than I think I have ever seen in one place. However, I now see the problems the designers and organisers face. And just how much knowledge base the full-time experts must have of all the products available. It’s crazy!