51th Anniversary of the Blanes International Fireworks Competition
The 51th anniversary of the Concurs Internacional de Focs d’Artifici — the International Fireworks Competition in Blanes — takes place from July 21 through July 26, 2023.
But note: there is a one-day break in the middle: On Sunday July 23, Blanes holds Municipal Elections.
The fireworks competition always coincides with the Festa Major de Santa Anna — the annual major celebration in honor of Santa Anna, the patron saint of Blanes.
By the way, nowadays this event is also referred to as the Costa Brava International Fireworks Competition.
Competitors and Schedule Blanes Fireworks Competition 2023
As is customary, the competitors include the winner of the previous competition. In this case that is the 2022 winner: Pirotecnia Valenciana. Valencian Pyrotechnics also won in 2019. There were no competitions in Corona/Covid years 2020 and 2021.
|51st Fireworks Competition||Pyrotechnics Company||Country|
|Friday, July 21, 2023||Pirotècnia Poleggi||Italy|
|Saturday, July 22, 2023||Pirotecnia Josman||Spain|
|Monday, July 24, 2023||Pirotecnia Valenciana||Spain|
|Tuesday, July 25, 2023||Mille Et Une Etoiles||France|
|Wednesday, July 26, 2023||Pirotecnia Martí||Spain|
Winner, 51st Blanes International Fireworks Competition
Pirotecnia Valenciana (1,032’74 points) has been declared the winner of the 51st Blanes International Fireworks Competition. It is the third win for this company, which also took first place in 2019 and 2022.
The win comes as no surprise to anyone who saw Valenciana’s spectacular show last Monday.
Pirotecnia Martí (979’40 points) won a well-deserved second place with its fantastic show on the final day of the competition.
The third-place winner is Pirotecnia Josman (815’00 points), whose show marveled the crowds last Saturday. (As a side note, some 20 spectators on the beach received minor injuries when some fireworks debris showered them. Blanes city hall reports that initially, the possibility of disqualifying the company had been assessed. However, according to the current rules for participation in the competition, this was not possible. None of the spectators needed medical attention.)
French fireworks company Mille Et Une Etoiles (747’74 points) took fourth place with its Tuesday show.
And Pirotècnia Poleggi (708’33), from Italy, whose show opened the competition last Friday, took the fifth spot.
Pirotècnia Valenciana will receive €6,000 for the first prize, as well as two more contracts: it will participate again in next year’s competition, and it will also close the Festa Major de Lloret de Mar in 2024.
In addition, the company will receive the Vila de Blanes Trophy, which will be presented to it at the official opening ceremony of the Festa Major de Santa Anna 2024.
Videos, Blanes Fireworks 2023
Friday, July 21, 2023: Pirotècnia Poleggi – Italy
Watch the fireworks show from the opening night, Friday, July 21, 2023. Pirotècnia Poleggi, from Italy opens the competition with a bang! There’s a lengthy pre-program (yes, in Catalan). The fireworks show starts at 1:07:39.
Saturday, July 22, 2023: Pirotecnia Josman – Spain
Monday, July 25, 2023: Pirotecnia Valenciana – Spain
Pirotecnia Valencia won the competition in 2019 and 2022 — and their 2023 entry is spectacular. We genuinely enjoyed this show. And now, having seen all the entries, we think the winner will either be Pirotecnia Valencia, or Pirotecnia Martí.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023: Mille Et Une Etoiles (Thousand and One Stars) – France
Wednesday, July 26, 2023: Pirotecnia Martí – Spain
The final show in this year’s competition saw a fantastic entry by Pirotecnia Martí. An excellent show. This company may well give Pirotecnia Valencia a run for their money.
Poster for the 51st Concurs Internacional de Focs d’Artifici
The official poster for the Santa Anna Festival and the 51st International Fireworks Competition 2023 was presented on June 27, by Quique Pérez (city councilor for Festivals), Jordi Calvet (city councilor for Culture), and Blanes mayor Jordi Hernández.
Above this section we post up-to-date information.
Below you find details about the festival’s history, and about how the event is organized.
History and More Information about the Blanes Fireworks Competition
In addition to the up-to-date information posted above, we provide details about the festival’s history, its current format, and the general rules of the contest.
This will give you a good idea of what to expect when you attend this year’s festival.
After Covid: 2022 – 50th Anniversary
There were no competitions in the Corona/Covid years 2020 and 2021.
Therefore, the 50th anniversary of the Concurs Internacional de Focs d’Artifici took place in 2022 (July 22 through July 26).
The winner was Pirotecnia Valenciana, from Spain. That company also won the previous (2019) competition.
Here is their award winning show:
What You Can Expect in the Blanes Fireworks Competition
Let’s be brutally honest. There have been plenty of fireworks presentations at the Blanes festival that were, to put it kindly, not all that special.
But then there are also plenty of shows that make it totally worth it to be there in person.
Take a look at the spectacular winning entry from the 2016 competition, by the pyrotechnics firm of the Brothers Ferrández:
And here’s how Accitana Ma Angustias easily won first place in 2015:
5 Nights of Firework Displays
In 2016 the fireworks competition returned to its original run of 5 days.
From 2012 through 2015 the festival lasted just four days — as a result of Spain’s financial crisis and its aftermath.
Dropping a day saved Blanes a lot of money normally spent on crowd control, safety measures and other police duties.
Last year the event attracted enough sponsors to enable the city to bring back the fifth night.
This high season event — the Festa Major plus the fireworks festival — always sees record crowds.
In 2016, some 100.000 people — more than twice the town’s population of 44.000 — watched the fireworks display on the opening night.
Saturday night — traditionally the busiest day of the event — saw a record crowd of 250.000 spectators.
If you’d like to spend the entire week in Blanes, make sure you book your hotel early.
Practical Information El Focs de Blanes
The fireworks show starts at 22:30 (10:30 pm), and prime watching spots start filling up about an hour before the spectacle.
If you attend the festival from outside Blanes, do not come by car unless you’re prepared to park far away.
Best Places to Watch the Blanes Fireworks Shows
The fireworks show centers around Sa Palomera, the rocky promontory (‘the rock’ to most tourists) that separates the old town center of Blanes from the newer part (El Pins, where most of the town’s hotels and camp grounds are located).
Just about anywhere you plan to watch will be crowded — super crowded. And yes, plenty of people have the same ideas you’ve got: to watch from spots on the hill of St. Juan, for instance.
However, you will be able to see the fireworks from anywhere along the coast. The tourist ferries usually have special deals available, in which you can view the fireworks from a boat — one of the best places to watch.
Keep an eye out for posters or fliers announcing such opportunities, often written only in Catalan and/or Spanish.
Other great spots: along S’Abanell beach. The closer you get to the camp grounds, the lighter the crowd.
Of course, if you prefer to be shoulder to shoulder, head on over to Platja de Blanes. That’s thee beach along the boulevard in the old part of town. It tends to fill up quickly.
The raised ‘jetty’ walkway north of Platja de Blanes (between the yachting harbor and the beach) is great place that provides you with a direct view of the show.
Blanes Fireworks Competition: Rules and Penalties
The companies have to agree to a detailed set of requirements, including details covering the type of fireworks to be used, the length of the show, and safety measures to be observed.
The conditions call for the displays to be both aerial and aquatic. That means each show must include rockets and other fireworks shooting upwards and outwards, as well as fireworks that make use of the water surrounding the rock.
The idea is that the show must highlight the natural setting of Sa Palomera.
Oh, and participating companies must certify that any and all products used in their displays are completely biodegradable.
The company that opens the series of shows must prepare an illuminated, 8 meter wide and 1.5 meter high sign with the inscription: “Glòria a Santa Anna.”
Each company must also display a similar sign that reads “Blanes 2017.”
Participating companies agree to make sure their shows last a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 24 minutes, and that the fireworks are launched uninterruptedly with absolute continuity between the luminous effect of one launch and the one immediately following. (Yes, this makes for a truly awesome sight).
If a company fails to appear on the day of the contest, the City can impose a maximum fine of € 40,000. There are also various penalties for displays that are too short, or displays that start as little as a fraction of 1 minute too late.
The shows are judged by both a technical- and a popular jury.
The technical jury looks at such things as the type and variety of products used, the quality of the launches, and whether all of the firework products match the specifications set out in the contract.
The popular jury — which consist of up to 40 residents of Blanes — evaluates the offerings on color, rhythm, difficulty, originality, water fireworks, the effective use of the setting and the general artistic effect of the display.
In case of a tie, the opinion of the technical committee prevails.
The winner is usually announced within a week after the event. Can you guess which company won the 2023 competition?
History of El Focs de Blanes
The oldest reference to fireworks shows in Blanes dates to 1891, but it is not clear when it became a yearly tradition.
What is known is that the event stopped when the Civil War broke out in 1936. It started up again in 1944, and in 1970 the event became a yearly competition that was meant to promote tourism in Blanes.
At first the competition lasted three days. In the mid-eighties it was expanded to four days, and from 1996 it lasted five days.
As a cost-saving measure brought on by Spain’s financial crisis, from 2012 through 2015 the event covered only four days.
The year 2016 marked a return to the full, five-day festival.
The official website for El Focs de Blanes is in Catalan and Spanish only.