This summer, the skies above the Principality of Monaco will not only be filled with stars, but also colourful and majestic firework displays. The International Musical Fireworks Competition, annually organised by Mairie de Monaco, will begin this Saturday 22nd July on the Port Hercules. The competition will consist of four separate displays spread out over the end of July and beginning of August, displays of extremely high-calibre that captivate anyone lucky enough to see them.
Monaco is home to many international competitions, but one of the most enjoyable for tourists is this annual fireworks competition. Leading pyrotechnic experts from all over the world go head to head to create the most spectacular displays to delight both locals and visitors.The displays’ unique aspect is that it consists of a competition between countries. Those countries wishing to enter the Monegasque competition are judged and finalists are chosen, to determine those that will indeed compete. This years line-up is as exciting as ever, with a new display on the 22nd by France, Austria on the 29th of July, USA on the 5th and finally Australia on the 12th of August. Historically, out of all those countries, France has won the most prizes from this competition over the years (four 1st place prizes and three 2nd place prizes since 1966).
This spectacular competition has been around since 1966, when it was first introduced by Monaco’s Town Hall, and has taken place every year, lighting up the summer skies for two nights in July and two in August. The displays didn’t always feature accompanying music, but ever since its 31st edition in 1996, the wonderful musical touch was added to make the fireworks even more beautiful and powerful to watch. The entire port is equipped with a very powerful sound system that allows all the spectators to fully enjoy the show not only on the Quai Albert 1er, unarguably the best spot to watch the display, but also from other spots in the Principality and sometimes even from neighbouring areas! HelloMonaco recommends two other spots from which to see the show; Jardin Exotique and the Open Air Cinema on top of Parking des Pecheurs.
Each 20 minute, top-quality display is judged by a jury made up of members from Monaco’s Municipal Council, as well as representatives from the arts and the civilian world. Not only are competitors marked on their stunning visual displays, the colour composition, technical variety and firework strength, but also on the rhythm and melody of the whole spectacle. In the end, all participants take away a trophy. The winning national team is awarded 10,000 euros, the runner-up 5,000 euros, and the third and fourth places receive a trophy and certificate of participation.The general public can also have their say via an Internet voting system, and a separate prize is awarded according to the public’s favourite.
Exceptionally, last years fireworks competition was cancelled due to the terrorist act in Nice on July 14th 2016. In 2015, Belgium was awarded 1st place, Italy came 2nd and Slovakia and Switzerland achieved 3rd and 4th place, respectively. Each team seeks to take the public on a journey of emotions, intertwining fireworks and music to create a powerful display of beauty and splendour. Every five years, the winners from previous competitions battle it out to be the champion.
Of all the fireworks events held around the world, Monte-Carlo is the only one that attracts as many different nations and participants, so make sure you scout out a good spot to enjoy the wonderfully unique displays!