Sky’s the limit for fireworks shows, says pyrotechnics expert
Glittering fireworks displays could light up the skies over the island as early as May next year after an absence of almost five years.
Kyle Swan, a qualified pyrotechnician who lives in New Mexico in the US, made plans to return to his homeland to rekindle the fireworks scene last summer but Covid-19 intervened.
The former firefighter said he hoped to return to Bermuda for good in the spring and help to reignite the island’s peak tourism period.
Mr Swan said: "I feel as though I put in enough work to be able to come here and offer my skills to the degree where I’m confident.
“I’m happy and I’m excited to be a Bermudian being able to offer something so unique back to Bermuda.
“It’s my passion for my country and my passion for pyrotechnics and what it can do to hopefully bring us all out of this pandemic.
“I’m more so thinking, how can we work together to use this tool to help grow the country?”
Mr Swan, who operates Swan Pyrotechnics with his wife, Jennifer, completed his “lead shooter” qualification in 2019 to qualify as a fireworks expert.
He said that, although nothing was fixed, he had several potential jobs lined up for next year.
Mr Swan said he wanted to stage his first show during the SailGP event on May 14 and 15 and another to mark Bermuda Day, the last Friday of May.
He added that he hoped to also put on displays at Harbour Nights in Hamilton over the summer.
Mr Swan admitted that the Harbour Nights proposal was still under discussion but that fireworks displays could give businesses and small venues the boost they needed after the pandemic.
Mr Swan explained: “People come out for an hour and then they leave, but fireworks are unique in the sense that it provides a lot of trickle-down economics.
“As people come out they’re going to wait until the fireworks go off. In that time they’re eating, they’re drinking and they’re having a good time spending money and buying souvenirs because they’re waiting for the fireworks and are actually having a good time in the meantime.”
He added that technology could be harnessed to improve the spectacle.
Mr Swan said: “Now that everything’s computerised, we can do choreographed shows to music.
“If we’re able to do a show like that, we can get drone footage. That gets posted on YouTube, everyone’s sharing it over social media and we just get free marketing.
“As we record these shows and people think, ‘Wow, that was spectacular’, New Year’s rolls around and people think, ‘I don’t want to be in Times Square shoulder to shoulder with people, I want to fly to Bermuda and do New Year’s there’.”
Bermuda has been without fireworks since 2017 after Dek Froud, the only pyrotechnician on the island, retired after more than 50 years.
Mr Swan said that he wanted to make a name for Bermuda when it came to fireworks displays.
He explained that he wanted to organise summertime fireworks “fort nights” at the island’s old fortifications, which would help to popularise their history.
Mr Swan added that he also wanted to create history-themed shows, including simulation of cannon fire near historical sites.
He said that coloured smoke could also be used for shows during daylight hours.
Mr Swan added: “When it comes to a full-on fireworks show, the parties go on through the day and into the evening, so there’s no reason why we can’t end Heritage month with a fireworks display.”
Mr Swan admitted: “Yes, it could be expensive, but at the same time we can build events slowly through smaller things and hopefully, over time, we build up to bigger things.”