The last couple of years the fireworks sponsored by the city, have been organized by Flash Barrandov Company, which have gained a high reputation not only in the Czech Republic but also throughout the world. Flash Barrandov organize firework displays not only in Europe but also overseas and it would be a mistake to think that it is a company specializing only in fireworks. The pride of the company is in special effects and as a result Flash Barrandov appears in numerous titles of film blockbusters of American, European and Asian productions.
Preparation for New Millennium (2000)
Due to the fear of overly enthusiastic celebrations at the close of 1999, Prague City Hall considered closing Charles Bridge to protect the statues. They also did not want to support any firework displays. The decision was based upon the crisis management of Prague City Hall's former decision by the Transport Department of Prague 1. Finally, the mayor of that time, Jan Kasl announced that the bridge would remain open to the public, but there would be no fireworks as it was too costly. Then the city manager of Prague 1, Jan Bürgemeister eventually admitted that the bridge did not have to be closed under the condition that a monument protection strategy was organized. The city also enabled its citizens to go by public transport for free on the 31 st December and 1 st January, which helped the overcrowded streets. Moreover, people did not miss any fireworks. Many were fired from boats and buildings around Charles Bridge as well as from the building of former Federal Assembly in Wenceslas square. On the Old Town Square people were welcoming New Year with Standa Hložek, Jakub Třasák, Michal David, Dagmar Patrasová, Ondřej Havelka, Daniel Hůlka, Jiří Korn, and Anna K. On stages at the bottom of Wenceslas square, Vladimír Mišík, Pavel Bobek, Phil Schönfelt played whilst on Jarmark market, country and cymbalo bands performed. Fireworks displays were also in Letná as garlands of light were cascading down from the Church of Our Lady before Týn as well as from the National Museum.
Proper Celebration of New Year 2001
New Year’s Eve 2000 was supposed to be different and nobody spoke about closing Charles Bridge. The Folk Art Production company prepared a great firework display and performances of a whole array of artists. It prepared two stages – a traditional one on the Old Town Square and also in Na Příkopě Street, where famous personalities of show business appeared. Besides Heidi Janků and Michal David, also the group Maximum Turbulenc sang. Then the public welcomed Ivan Hlas, Petra Janů, Anna K., Petr Muk, other popular groups Lunetic and Holki played around that time. In Na Příkopě Street groups such as Madrose, Divokej Bill, Professor, Děda Mládek Illegal Band, and The Breakers preformed.
People could taste roasted beef and pork. As for the fireworks, people could choose among three displays. The first one was on the Old Town Square after the New Year’s Eve for children, the second also on the square, but not until after the New Year’s toast by mayor Jan Kasl. Finally there appeared the largest one within the history of the Czech Republic, 10 minutes after midnight it fired off from Letenské Sady. In fact, it was a little bit delayed so that people did not have to run from the Old Town Square. The head of Flash Barrandov company, Jaroslav Štolba, had claimed that provided the weather was good the fireworks would be visible from the whole of Prague, he was proved to be right. The celebrations were financed partly by Folk Art Production, which reputedly invested 35 million CZK into the New Year’s celebrations. Also Prague City contributed eight million crowns and city hall of Prague 1 gave a smaller amount also. It later became a target of criticism and thus today’s fireworks are sponsored by companies owned by the city from their profits. New Year 2001 was also marked by an excess of activity by people, amonst other issues some of them were throwing bottles at Old Town Astronomical Clock. Just after these celebrations, the city manager of Prague 1, Jan Bürgermeister, expressed his hope that such a huge celebration would not repeat as the damage and disorder was really immense.
Humbly into 2002, fireworks were private
Jan Bürgermeister’s wish fulfilled the following year. The city centre got along without big stars. Less known names than the previous year appeared on Old Town Square. Visitors could see for example Tomáš Linka, girls group Naruby, Dana and Dan, Karel Emanuel Gott, boys from Travesty Show, and the like. People were celebrating also on Hradčanské Square, where films were shown, musical groups played songs, and Theatre Continuo performed a play. These were intellectually different celebrations. However, nearly everybody had their own fireworks. Hundreds of small fireworks brightened the night from 31 st December to 1 st January in the same quality way as the preceding year, even though the city of Prague did not support any formal firework display.
2003 – So far nothing bigger appeared in Prague
It was said that the 10-minute-long firework extraviganza, which illuminated the sky on the night of 1 st January was the biggest one Prague had ever seen. It was fired once again from Letná, from the pedestal of the former Stalin monument. Skyrockets flew up to 500 metres. The fireworks were designed again by Flash Barrandov who brought twelve lorries full of pyrotechnics to Letná. People could watch the firework from the centre as well as from Vitkov or Vinohrady for example. The pyrotechnical effects cost two million crowns.
Firework for twelve months (2004)
The careful hand of Flash Barrandov New Year’s firework 2004 couldn’t be denied. The display was created as representation of the twelve months of year. It lasted ten minutes and within this time thousands of flares, squibs, skyrockets, crackers and other pyrotechnical effects illuminated the sky. The audience which had been informed about the firework drama could really see flowers, falling leaves, snowing and other manifestation of nature and the weather, which they experienced during the whole year.
That year a rival appeared – midnight fireworks from hotel Praha. However, it was a show for only some people who knew about it. The fireworks were visible from many parts of the city as the hotel’s location is very favourable.
Asia, America, Europe (2005)
Firework styles from three continents were offered to the audience by experts from Flash Barrandov for New Year’s firework 2005. The fireworks cost the city 1.5 million crowns. Asia was represented by large flowery motives, peonies, chrysanthemums, and dahlias. America, primarily Latin America was represented by a fast sequence of effects of the same wildness as the carnival.
A characteristic firework for Europe is one formed of varied levels, commented the head of Flash Barrandov, Jaroslav Štolba. People acclaimed the firework display with a spontaneous applause.
Country of Smiles in Prague (2006)
The great firework show for New Year 2006 was called Country of Smiles. Flash Barrandov had already presented it in San Sebastian at the International fireworks festival. You could have got there by invitation only and the organizers invite only top quality teams. Flash Barrandov belonged among the invited ones.
We had to alter our Prague version a little bit, said Jaroslav Štolba.
In Spain we had more golden effects that might fade out in winter and during inversion. Therefore we replaced them by more vivid colours.
The length of the display exceeded ten minutes:
It seems good to do a long firework display. Based on experience from around the world we have found that around ten or fifteen minutes is optimal, said Štolba.
Colleagues from many countries claim that the absolutely best time is 777 seconds. So we tried to make Country of Smiles exactly that length. The fireworks cost 1.4 million crowns. One million of that was paid by Pražská plynárenská and Pražská energetika. The rest was covered by the city.
Follow me (2007)
The drama of New Year 2007’s fireworks display was named Follow Me. In comparison with last year the start of the fireworks was shifted an hour earlier, it began at 6 p.m. “We shifted the start because of parents with small children that usually go to bed around 7 p.m., explained councillor Milan Richter. The main characteristics were colour brightness, humour and sudden changes. The expenses amounted to 1.2 million crowns, 300,000 CZK of which was paid by the City Hall and the remainder by Prague companies. The fireworks lasted fifteen minutes and were divided into twenty distinct parts. Once again Flash Barrandov had tried the display at another prestigous festival in Bilbau and at a show in Barcelona. It took four weeks and seven people to prepare the display. A further innovation was an accompanying programme of Czech Radio that broadcast supporting music during the fireworks.