The firms admitted to the Competition are chosen among those that are able to mount a 30-minute pyromusical presentation which meets the high standards established by the organizers. It hardly needs to be stressed that qualified firms are few and far between. Indeed, it is the trademark of the Competition to gather together in Montréal the world's best pyrotechnicians. Therefore, the contestants are the leaders in pyrotechnics in their respective countries.
Before participating, a new firm must come to Montréal and attend one or more pyromusical presentation in order to become familiar with all the prerequisites for entering the Competition.
For the team at La Ronde, the work of preparing to present an average of nine 30-minute displays annually is spread over several months. After the participants are selected, the organizers contacts them regarding contracts, logistics and technical considerations.
La Ronde plans the maritime transportation of all the pyrotechnical materials. As the host of the event, La Ronde is responsible for transportation costs, as well as all customs formalities.
The team also obtains import permits for any components that are not classified by the Explosives Regulatory Division at Natural Resources Canada. The organizers adhere strictly to the safety rules set out by this Division, and the Competition has never experienced any unfortunate incidents.
Each participating firm receives a lump sum for the production of its 30-minute presentation. But many of the competitors also dig into their own pockets to ensure that the audience and... the jury enjoy their fireworks displays. It is estimated that each contestant launches an average of 4 000 components, but there have been shows with as many as 5 000 pieces of all shapes and sizes.
Once in Montréal, each participating firm has 5 days to set up its presentation, 2 for premounting and 3 for set up. La Ronde assumes the cost of travel and lodging for 5 people per firm during this period. To help the competitors in their work, they are provided with the services of a 17-person technical team.
After all those years on the job, the technical team is well aware of the site's potential and limitations, and passes this expertise on to the participating firms. The physical facilities have been improved over the years to meet the changing needs of the participants and to ensure the high standards required for the Competition.
On site, La Ronde's technical team advises the firms, as required, on how best to obtain the desired pyrotechnical effects and how to deal with the prevailing winds.