DAZZLING fireworks, Chinese folk songs and Broadway hits fill the air in an international music-and-fireworks festival starting Sunday at Jinshan City Beach. Tan Weiyun takes in the spectacle.
The night sky over Jinshan City Beach will be filled with pyrotechnic peonies, pagodas, foaming beer, Smurfs, sea monsters, comets, confetti, spiderwebs and fantasy this Sunday and next Saturday.
The 2012 Jinshan International Beach Music Fireworks Festival will feature performances from China and Belgium this Sunday and from Portugal and the United States next Saturday.
Each performance starts at 6:30pm and lasts about 40 minutes.
The man-made beach includes a 1,500-meter-long boardwalk where visitors can gather or sit on the sand. Fireworks will be shot off at high, mid and low elevations above the breakwater that encloses the shallow water of the South China Sea.
"The sky and the sea will become a huge IMAX where visitors can enjoy millions of golden and silver fireworks bursting into blooms in the sky and then dropping like silk ribbons into the sea," says Liu Jie, director of festival's organizing committee.
It will be the largest fireworks display in the city, says Liu, adding that more than 6,000 fireworks will be exploded over the water in 40 minutes. In addition, the shows will feature the largest-ever pyrotechnic shells.
The "Chinese Charm" show this Sunday will feature Chinese elements, such as pagodas and flowers, in a display choreographed to six traditional folk songs. The show is presented by the company that staged shows at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
The "Journey of Belgium" will feature fiery displays of Belgian chocolates, waffles, foaming beer and blue Smurfs.
The "Mythological Sea Creatures" show from Portugal presents fantastic sea creatures, including monsters, whales, mermaids and other denizens of the deep. The voice-over is in Chinese.
"Broadway" from American company Melrose Pyrotechnics is an award-winning show in which computer-controlled firing systems are time-coded in sync with the popular Broadway songs.
"Jinshan Beach is the best place in Shanghai to watch fireworks because it has open space, no light pollution and no buildings," Liu says.
In downtown Shanghai fireworks cannot be fired higher than 40 meters, while at Jinshan Beach they can fired higher than 100 meters.
Safety will have top priority, especially after spectators were injured in a fireworks accident in Hangzhou's West Lake on October 13.
Liu, director of the festival's organizing committee, says all fireworks will be transported by licensed logistics companies. All off-loading at the beach will be supervised by police and fireworks will be monitored by firemen around the clock.
Emergency exits will be added and railings will be installed.
Fireworks shells will be fired over the breakwater, around 500 meters from the beach. The largest pyrotechnic flower is 280-300 meters high and around 120 meters in diameter.
Since Jinshan Railway recently went into full operation, access will be more convenient. On show nights, shuttle buses will run between Jinshanwei Railway Station and the beach from 5pm until the shows end.
The beach has a 3,000-car parking lot.
The weatherman says the weather will be fine on both show nights. Rain isn't expected during this season, though drizzle could make the shows more dramatic.
How to get there:
Take the train at Shanghai South Railway Station, which links Metro Lines 1 and 3, and get off at the Jinshanwei Railway Station. The non-stop train takes around 30 minutes; the regular train takes an hour.
Take the G50 or S4 highway. Take G15 (toward Ningbo). Get off at Tingwei Road, then drive south to Huhang Road. The beach is at the end of the road.
Take Metro Line 1 to Jinjiang Amusement Park; walk for a minute and take Bus Shimei Line (from Meilong Bus Station to Shihua Bus Station), then take Bus Line Xiwei to Jinshanzui. It's a three-minute walk to the beach.