The surprise of the year
The Flame Master Fest was a real surprise of the year in many ways. First of all everyone in the world of fire scene saw only the promo video of the festival what is a full professional promo video with all kind of fire festivals in the world, Kiev Fifest, Burning Man, European Juggling Convention, and some more, but only just some short shots from the mexican playa and mexican firedancers. A group appeared who no one heard before about. A big money award was promised to bring the attention of the fire scene world to Mexico. They invited a group of world class performers to be teachers and jury in the contest. No one knew what is going to happen in Playa Del Carmen.
First of all it was a big surprise that the Mexican fire scene is so massive and they are in high level too. In the age of internet is just natural, but still was a surprise because I hadn't heard about them before. The organizer group, Atomic Weight have 5 shows every day, they have more than 80 performers and there are plenty of fire spinner groups just in the area of Playa del Carmen, not mentioned Mexico City and entire Mexico.
The other surprise was that there wasn't any contest, it was even a question if there's going to happen a festival?
The organization was not at all professional, they are a Mexican firespinner group who wanted to make some big and nice fire convention, just didn't know really how to do. In my point of view they should have just made a nice little fire gathering - as it comes finally, and it was nice as it was - and year by year growing and reach the aim what they wanted to reach, to make one of the biggest fire festival. They had to deal with big problems, like all the sponsors whom they had contract with just rejected the sponsorship just two weeks before of the festival starting, so finally they had to pay all the budget from their own pocket, but they stood for their promise and payed all the costs. The government rejected their promise about the location two days before the festival, so they had to move to a much worse location, but they went on, what I really respect.
There were not enough competitors for the contests and nomoney prize as they promised, so the world fire spinner competition was cancelled finally, but we were there and lots of mexican firedancer was there who was thirsty for knowledge and to meet and share. So the first Mexican fire spinner convention has started.
With the invited artists there were people from 20 different countries, so it became a pretty international gathering. I was really happy that someone came because I left a message for a fire spinning group on Facebook, they were really happy about it. (I had some bad comment also about why I spammed their group with junks)
Nearly all the invited artists was my friends and sponsored artists, so we decided to make a show for my gears, because all of them use the props I create. It was the firs show of the festival and the first Gora Gear Show in the history. It was a real honor to be a host in the show and perform with artist like Paul Rozaire, Ronan, Josh and Valerie (Solstix, Allstaffs) and Loooop (Tina,Hana, Francios) and my friend Tibor. It was a chance to introduce ourselves to the people who was attended to our workshops.
There was only one workshop in a certain time, but there were so many good and different ones (Partnerpoi, akrobatics, and akrojoga, contactsatff, juggling staff, poi, whip, theater, learning, flowerstick, etc…) and people were very interested in and respected the workshops. They were like a sponge to soak up all the knowledge what is possible, what they learn in the afternoon, they already do in the fire show at night. There were even 20 people for my firesafety in practice workshop too.
The Hotspots were working also well. There were three different places in the main walking street with full of tourists to make street show with basking. The participants had the chance to earn their costs and show their art to the public and to each other.
What I recommend to the organizers not to make the technical contest the main goal of the festival and make the whole event more playful. Make fire theater improvisations at one nigh, and fire olympics at another night. and the Master of the Flames supposed to be the one who stand in all competition and prove that he/she expert in all skills (not just in different props)
Finally we organized a Fire Games night. There were 8 different silly games for firespinners with fire. So there was fire limbo, balance torch, hoop run and juggling run, praydance with contact staffs, staff throw claps, poi throw to the backet. People were really into it and everyone had a great fun.
Because Pyroterra sponsored the games with a 350 USD worth led poi, we didn't think to give one game winner a T-shirt and a 350 worth led poi to the other one. So we decided to make a contest on the other day for the winners of each game. In one game there were two winners so there were 9 competitors for the other day.
Finally competition come back in the plan in an other way.
We let them choose randomly the members of the groups. Finally it came out that Valery was in one group with Richie, the Mexican firespinner prodigy, who is 17 years old and has spinned fire since the year of ten, so he's a perfect example for the old school fire spinning, the evergreen Higher, Faster and More Fire. Valery didn't really want to take part in the games, it wouldn't be fair to compete in the technical games, but she just won the firelimbo accidentally where there were at least 50 competitors.
It was an epical fire battle between the full technical contact goddess and the hyperfast megafire mexican prodigy. The clapping of the audience decided the battle, and finally Valery won with a little. In the second round stayed a mexican juggler guy good in poi and staffs, and a little girl form Mexico City.
In the next round they needed to choose a random strange music and random equipment from a hat. The guy chose FireFly, Valery chose Hoop, and the little girl chose the Star. It is a typical Mexican fire equipment, a huge star burning all heads, just a middle part to spin as a long staff. The firefly act was nice, but too easy for a poi guru, and Valery made a nice hoop act, but nothing surprising from her. The little girl Luna chose some kind of ballet song, what fitted to her character so much and played for it amazingly.There was also a point at the first time when she had such a big fire effect and could manage it in a nice way. So the end of the games was clear from the audience cheering, Luna won the 350USD worth poi.
I think it was really fair that she won, she really deserved it. WIth his boyfriend they are doing red-light performance in Mexico City, and made such a beautifully true and honest partner poi act, that was also in technically on top.
We had really great time there visiting some cenote and diving among coral reefs and visiting Maya ruins, having party and meet lots of nice people. If Rufo and Amadeo will organize the festival next year I will be there and invite you not for the money prize of the contests but for the nice fire convention in Playa del Carmen.