It’s a big switch up for the Nutrien Fireworks Festival this year, both in terms of timing and presentation. The show is usually staged at River Landing in Saskatoon, but this year, the pandemic has altered plans. Nevertheless, the show will go on Saturday and this year, fireworks fans can log in to view the show from across the province as this year’s display goes virtual.
“What we are doing is kind of how a lot of artists are going about things,” explains Graham Dyck, one of the musical entertainers for the event. “It’s going to be an online visual performance using technology to our advantage to reach people. There will be a few other performers as well and the fireworks show of course.”
Dyck, with a style reminiscent of Sinatra and neo-crooners like Michael Buble, is a fan favourite.
It’s not Dyck’s first involvement with the Nutrien Fireworks Festival, but it is the first engagement incorporating a digital and distanced performance. The all-online format is to accommodate restrictions around gatherings as laid out by provincial health authorities.
Other performers include emerging Saskatchewan country artist Katelyn Lehner, whose song “Red” is climbing the Canadian country charts, and Saskatoon son Jay Semko of Northern Pikes fame.
Dyck admits this time out, the performance will feel a bit different given how his engagement with his audience, along with his unquestionable talent, is part of his appeal.
“It’s different because you don’t have the energy of the audience, and it does add a different feel to it because I really enjoy talking to the audience, having a lot of fun and I get a lot from a smile back or people singing along.”
That being said, Dyck is grateful to Nutrien Fireworks Festival president Shad Ali for continuing to bring him aboard, and for continuing to work on a project that has become a staple in the Saskatoon entertainment calendar. The performances promise to be spectacular.
The Festival’s pyrotechnical displays, delayed this year because of COVID-19, will be different of course, notes Ali, but the circumstance does afford the organizing committee some novel opportunities.
“We get to do two things; one is to help the community celebrate Valentine’s Day in a unique way. Secondly, we get to help the community kick off family week.”
There will be no on site gatherings allowed for the shows. Instead, as Ali explains, patrons can stream the event at nutrienfireworksfestival.ca. From there, viewers can register for a spot in the Festival’s platform to see the shows. The fireworks are choreographed to music, and viewers can also partake in all the musical performances.
“We currently have 5,000 – 6,000 spots available for viewing,” notes Ali, “But we are certainly prepared to add more if we need to. We encourage people to go online to secure their spot early.”
There is no cost to register or view the show, but it is necessary to pre-register for a spot. The Festival has partnered with the ALT Hotel to arrange for rooms with riverside views and with select downtown Saskatoon Restaurants. The event has a host of sponsors including Tourism Saskatchewan, Tourism Saskatoon, and of course, title sponsor Nutrien.
The online show kicks off at 5:00 pm and runs until 9:00 pm on Saturday with two complete fireworks shows to view.