Watch: ‘Every firework has its own story behind it’ – fireworks volunteer

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

 

‘A feast doesn’t really feel like a feast if there aren’t fireworks,’ Sean Bajada, a volunteer with Saint Mary’s Fireworks team told Newsbook.com.mt.

Bajada has been working in fireworks and manufacturing for the past 5 to 6 years but the practice has been a major part of his life and his identity.

Speaking from fields just off the Qrendi bypass, Bajada is part of the large scale preparations taking place for tonight’s ‘Conquest of Darkness’ fireworks event.

He explained that tonight’s event will involve a 30-minute display involving a whole host of ground fireworks fired from a specially built rig and from large cylindrical tubes located in different areas of the field. With specially designed software, the fireworks can be programmed to fire at specific times. When darkness falls, the sky will see a mix of different effects and shapes in blue, red, green, white and purple, to popular chart music. What follows later are a mix of standing fireworks also built by the volunteers.

When asked how long it takes to put this altogether, Bajada said that, the volunteers meet earlier in the year to discuss the kind of display they want to create and begin preparing the choreography.

‘It’s a year-long process. It’s a big commitment; you have to commit to it.’

‘Everyone wants to make their feast display better’

When asked whether there was a level of competition between localities, Bajada explained that with localities generally having two feasts there is a pride taken in being able to compete and ‘achieve the best results to make our feast better.’

To do that you need a lot of money.

The volunteer explained that the costs for the different types of chemicals and materials to create the fireworks varied a lot.

‘It’s very expensive to do this and it depends on donations and the volunteers to make it happen.’

‘I cannot stress enough the importance of volunteers and the donations are to allow this to happen every year,’ he added.

 

Licences and safety

Bajada explained that there were three licences (A-C) which allow volunteers to assist in everything from the preparation of the chemicals to the building of the displays.

Hand in hand with the preparation, is safety. In recent years, there had been a number of cases of fireworks factories exploding and a number of reported deaths.

In response, the government introduced new incentives in May for makers to make their working environments safer. Over a dozen fireworks factories were awarded €5,000 to improve the safety of manufacture and working environments.

The awarded sums were part of a €140,000 fund set up by the Arts Council Malta and are aimed at improving the safety for volunteers and also to the improvement of the pyrotechnic product.

The Fireworks Spectacular kicks off at 9.30PM tonight, followed by the Mechanical Fireworks Display.

Footage: Miguela Xuereb

Drone footage; Daniel Caruana

Editing; Kurt Ciantar