The skies above the Grand Harbour lit up in a spectacle of pyrotechnics and drone light shows on Sunday evening for the grande finale of the Malta Fireworks Festival.
Displays from local fireworks factories and a drone music light show kept eyes glued to the sky before a mixed fireworks and drone display drew the curtain on the weeklong festival.
“I loved the drone show, it was my first time seeing something like this and I loved it,” Julian Giraldo, who went to see the display with friends and family said.
“I was shocked at everything the drones could do,” Giraldo, who is originally from Colombia, said.
The 700 drones on display moved in concert creating shapes imitating traditional ground fireworks, a Maltese knight, the eight-pointed cross and even the map of Gozo among other moving figures.
“The entire display is pre-programmed in advance by our design team and then executed by a pilot in command plus flight crew,” Chris Lutts, Vice President of Verge Aero, said.
The American company was responsible for Sunday's drone displays.
“All the feedback we heard was positive,” he said.
It was the first time a drone display of this scale was held in Malta, Lutts said.
Aytron Psaila, who was at the Valletta waterfront on Sunday, was also impressed by the drone display.
“They’re beautiful because they are out of the ordinary, but I don’t see it as a way of demonstrating skill like with fireworks,” Psaila from Siġġiewi said.
Glory for Mellieħa's Marija Bambina fireworks club
Mellieħa's Għaqda tan-nar Marija Bambina won the festival’s pyro-musical contest, beating stiff Polish and Serbian competition. Poland’s Nakaja Art placed second in the competition.
“It was between us and the Poles,” club secretary Trevor Vella said. “Poland’s show was impressive and involved a large amount of preparation,” he said.
Several other factories contributed high-quality fireworks to the Mellieħa club's 15-minute display that included over 3,200 shots, Vella, who designed the display, said.
Vella was impressed by the drone displays but says they will not replace fireworks.
“Drones are slow compared to fireworks,” he said.
He said that drones may complement fireworks displays during the festa (village feast) in the future, but funding would be an issue.
“A display like yesterday’s requires large financial backing and a club like ours is financed by the public and sponsors, meaning that we have some way to go before showing a display like this,” he said.
“But we never give up and our recent progress shows that we might be able to have drone displays in the festa”.