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Drone and fireworks operators explain their plan

Drone and fireworks operators explain their plan

Drone and fireworks operators explain their plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tens of thousands of explosives and hundreds of drones will light up the Nashville skyline this Fourth of July.

Last year, Nashville’s Fourth of July drew an estimated 250,000 people to the event, generating $11.6 million in direct visitor spending.


This year, fireworks and drone organizers said the goal is to create an innovative and groundbreaking display.

This will be the first time drones will be used at the July 4 event.

“When we got the call to bring drones to Nashville, the first thing we thought was, ‘Wow, this is an amazing fireworks show! It’s huge!’” said Rick Boss, president of Sky Elements Drone Shows. “So we really need to bring the best team here and put on an amazing show to incorporate into the fireworks.”

Organizers of the fireworks and drones said everything will be coordinated and set to live music from the Nashville Symphony.

“The biggest challenge is just coordination,” Ross explained. “When are we in the sky? When are the fireworks in the sky and when can we create a good balance so the audience really enjoys the show? Making both the fireworks and the drones impactful to the story, and that takes a lot of time and planning from both our pyrotechnics operations and our animators in our shop.”

Pyro Shows Executive Vice President Mike Walden told News 2 that this year they will paint the sky and river red, white and blue.

He said 1,000 floating flares would be launched into the river and the fireworks would reach up to 1,000 feet high, but to have an iconic show, each explosive has a precise location.

“Each of the thousands of effects we’re going to do has a specific place,” Walden said. “You put them in place and then you start wiring them up, connecting them to the denotators. You plug them into their electrical boxes and then you go back to the control bunker that we’ve set up.”

A pilot will manage the 400 drones with specific precision.

“On this show, there’s probably 150 hours that have gone into designing it,” Boss explained. “Making sure they’re going to take off in this location, be in this position so everything goes right. Our team has come to Nashville several times to look at the site and make sure it’s positioned correctly; our animators have put in about 150 hours of animation. Then the easy part is just coming here, designing it all and doing the show.”

Boss also said the American flag is the only drone image you can expect to see.

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For the second year, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation will donate funds to a local charity.

Every t-shirt sold during the event will donate $1 to Pencil, a foundation focused on providing school supplies for Metro Nashville students.

The fireworks and drone show will begin at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Lower Broadway, Ascend Amphitheater and Riverfront Park are some of the best places to watch.