International Symposium on Fireworks, Changsha 2013 by Edward Vasel

International Symposium on Fireworks, Changsha 2013 by Edward Vasel

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The International Symposium on Fireworks visited the fireworks capitol of the world in October, 2013. The’ ISF’ is considered by many to be the premier pyrotechnic gathering on Earth.

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The symposium is attended by pyrotechnic companies from over 50 countries around the world. It is a week-long event held every 18 months alternating between Spring and Fall and in recent years has been hosted in places such as Malta, Porto Gaia Portugal, Puerto Vallarta Mexico and Montreal Canada. Not particularly bad places to be for fireworks! The ‘ISF’ offers an excellent trade show, daily presentations and several nights of some of the best firework displays in the world.
At the heart of the ‘ISF’ is the trade show. In Changsha it engulfed several floors of the massive ‘Grand Empark’ 5 star hotel. As expected, the show was dominated by Chinese manufacturers and sales people, but also drew companies from as far away as the USA, the UK, Australia and Mexico, all of whom set up booths to display their products and the services they offered. The hotel provided an excellent venue for people to gather and discuss business, to renew old friendships and to share tips and techniques from all corners of the globe. Presentations included papers on exporting, safety, quality control management and dozens of additional topics.

On Tuesday and Thursday evenings the first rate bus service transported ISF attendees to what may very well be the largest display site in the world. The site is located on Orange Island and spans an amazing space of over 700 meters which allows for shells up to 300mm! The image to the right is only one half of the site! The Chinese manufacturers used all of their resources to show the world what they have to offer with 3 world class displays each night. ‘ISF’ attendees viewed the displays from across a large river from a distance of over 600 meters. Here is a video walk through of this massive site, over 10 minutes from one end to the other!


Companies providing displays used a massive wall of scaffolding that was 10m tall and over 30 meters long to attach lance work of their company names or logos. The largest display used 21 frontage positions and 7 shell positions, firing approximately 6000 individual cues in only 12 minutes with over a thousand 6” display shells. The ISF is truly a unique event where you are certain to see display techniques and set ups you can take home with you to improve your own displays. It was nice to see the hundreds of convention attendees and the thousands of people from Changsha lining the river banks and cheering throughout the nights.

After the week-long event in Changsha the ‘ISF’ arranged a trip to Liuyang, which is the undisputed fireworks manufacturing capitol of the world. While in Liuyang many of us enjoyed informative factory tours including fireworks, equipment and even paper goods. There is nothing that can give you a greater understanding of the challenges the industry faces than seeing the factories and how they operate. As an added bonus, the Liuyang International Fireworks Festival was also taking place providing even more world class firework displays, music and light shows on the river banks in Liuyang city. The next ISF is in Bordeaux France in the fall of 2015.

International Symposium on Fireworks – Changsha, China October 2013
Written by Ed Vasel www.dpfireworks.com

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