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 fire scene seen only the promo video of the festival what is full professional promo video with all kind of fire festival 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 crew appeared whom no one heard before. There were a big award money promised to bring the attention of the world fire scene to Mexico. They invited a crew of world class performers to be teacher and jury in the contest. No one known anything 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 have't heard about them before. The organizer crew, Atomic Weight have 5 shows every day, they have more than 80 performers and there are a plenty of fire spinner group just in the area of Playa del Carmen, haven't mentioned Mexico City and entire Mexico.
The other surprise was that not going to happen any contest, it was even a question is there going to happen a festival?
The organization was not at all professional, they are a Mexican firespinner group who wanted to make something big and nice fire convention, just don't know really how to do. In my point of view they should just make 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 just reject the sponsorship just before two weeks of the festival start, so finally all the budget they had to pay from their own pocket, but they stand for their promise and pay all the costs. The government reject their promise about the location in two days before the festival, so they had to go on with a way much worse location, but they were go on, what i really respect.
There were not enough competitors for the contests and no prize money what they promise, so the world fire spinner competition was cancel 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 pretty international gathering. I was really happy that someone comes because I leave a message in a fire spinning group in the Facebook, they were really happy about it. (i had some bad comment also about why i spam their grope with junks)
Nearly all the invited artists was my friend and sponsored artist, so we decide to make a show for my gears, because all of them use my props i created. 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 ourself to the people who was attended for our workshops.
There were only one workshop in a certain time, but there were so many good and different one (Partnerpoi, akrobatics, and akrojoga, contactsatff, juggling staff, poi, whip, theater, learning, flowerstick, etc… and people were so interested 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 was working also well. It was three different place in the main walking street with full of tourist to make street show with basking. The participants had the chance to earn back their costs and show their art to the public and to each other.
What i recommend to the organizers to make the technical contest but not as the main goal of the festival, make the whole event more playful. Make fire theater improvisations in one nigh, and fire olympics in an other 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 organize 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 thought not good if we give one game winner a T-shirt and a 350 worth led poi to the other one. So we decide to make a contest in the other day for the winners of the each game. In one game there were two winner so there were 9 competitors for the other day.
Finally competition come back in the plan in an other way.
We let them choose to randomly who get into witch group. Finally comes out that Valery comes together with Richie, the Mexican firespinner prodigy, who is 17 years old and spinning fire since 10 years and perfect example of the old school fire spinning the evergreen Higher, Faster and More Fire. Valery wasn't really wanted to take apart in the games, it wouldn't be fair to compete in the technical games, but she just win the firelimbo accidentally where was 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 was decide the battle, and comes out finally to win by just a little but win Valery. In the second round there stayed a mexican juggler guy good in poi and staffs, and a little girl form Mexico City.
In the next round they need to choose a random strange music and random equipment from a hat. The guy choose FireFly, Valery choose Hoop, and the little girl choose the Star. It is a typical Mexican final 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 from a poi guru, Valery made a nice hoop act compare that she don't hoop, but nothing surprising. The little girl Luna take some kind of ballet song, what was so much fit to her character and played with it. It was also a point that she first time had such a big fire effect and could manage it and handle in nice way. So the end was clear from the audience cheering, Luna wins the 350USD worth poi.
I think it was really fair that she win, she really deserved it. WIth his boyfriend she doing red-light performance in Mexico City, and made a such a beautiful true and honest partner poi act, what was also in technically in top.
We had really great time there visiting some cenote and diving in coral reefs and visiting Maya ruins, having party and meet with lots of nice people. If Rufo and Amadeo will organize the festival next year i will be there and invite you not for the prize money of the contests but for the nice fireconvention in Playa del Carmen.