NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The best in the pyro business are here in Nashville.
“It’s an all-star cast,” said President of Pyro Shows Lansden Hill.
Preparing to light up the night sky in a carefully coordinated celebration, Hill and his team have spent the past year preparing for the July 4th fireworks, and the time has come.
“When the crackle of the radio comes on and they say, ready one fire,” Hill said. “It’s show time.”
For the past 11 days, working 12-16 hours, crews set the stage for the longest fireworks show the city has ever seen. And Hill would know, he’s been bringing the bang since the 80s.
“As the expectations rise, you of course get a little bit of a butterfly here and there,” Hill said.
Sixteen semis filled with fireworks and more than 200,000 feet of wire have been laid as the team looks to
accent the symphony’s score.
Hill hand-selects every firework, every color, every effect. Then, his team decides how they want the sparkles to paint the sky.
“Each firework will climb about 100 feet per shell inch,” Hill explained. “So three-inch shells climb about 300 feet and so on down the line. The top of the star will be about 1,500 feet.”
In order to accent the music, a mathematical dance must account for the climb time.
“We may have to shoot in a place that makes absolutely no sense because we’re back-timing for something that’s going to happen in seven seconds,” he said.
Side by side in a metal trailer, eight experts follow their commands.
“As you’re coming through you say ‘oh, I got a lot coming stand by,'” Hill said, pointing at the rundown. “And it’s pow, pow, pow, pow.”
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Inside, Hill hopes they’re wow-ing as planned, “Feeling the walls thump and the floors shake and just hoping we’re putting on a good show because we don’t actually see it.”
They find out soon enough as they step down the ladder.
“Hearing 200 or 300,000 people cheer and the boat horns,” Hill said. “That’s the ultimate.”
That night, they will debrief and start planning for the following year’s show.
The symphony will play for 31:30 and in typical Nashville style, you get a little something extra, an additional minute of fireworks for the finale!