By LAURA PERRETT
Stadium of Fire begins much earlier than July Fourth for producers, designers and hired hands. Already, scaffolds, sets, and aerial shells can be seen at Cougar Stadium.
Producer John Whittaker says the 3 1/2-hour show involves $70,000 worth of shells — fireworks that burst in the air — and $10,000 worth of lances or flares.
Setting up the show is labor intensive for workers at Cougar Stadium as well as temporary help.
Workers set up 25 set pieces and fill 1,000 bags and around 400 buckets with sand in addition to other tasks. The set pieces contain over 500,000 lances that burn for around a minute. One of the bigger pieces is 125 feet long.
Whittaker said the best part of the show is telling stories through the fireworks. The whole show is like writing a creative story that builds to a climax — the finale, he said.
Creativity is also an issue for pyrotechnic designer Brad Bone, a former band director at Wichita State University and current freelance musician. He has worked with fireworks for 18 years and has been a part of the Stadium of Fire for 15 years.
Bone started working with fireworks when Paul Austin, a firework show producer and one of the largest importers of class B fireworks in the country, noticed his music ability. Bone was hired as a consultant and Bone and Austin combined their talents to choreograph fireworks with music.
The twosome heard from Alan Osmond, who was not happy with the firework shows he was seeing, Bone said. They worked with Osmond to produce a show in Oklahoma and then came to Provo.
Stadium of Fire centers around a different theme each year. This year, the theme is “Let Freedom Ring.”
Stadium of Fire is “pretty rare,” Bone said.
Whittaker said the group has 60 years of combined experience. The group has done over 20 shows since they began working with Osmond.