How Many Fireworks Do You Have for the 4th? Probably Not 20 Tons.
Tate Wilson takes off this week from his job as an outside lineman in Tennessee every year. Lots of employees do. They spend the time at the beach, barbecuing or camping. But not Tate.
He's spending this week getting ready to blow up 20 tons of fireworks in Nashville.
Tate didn't watch fireworks shows as a youngster. Growing up in the country, he lived too far away to watch bombs bursting in air. But he's making up for it in a big way as he works to set up, and then explode, the biggest fireworks show in the country this Saturday.
Tate started working for Pyro Shows, based in LaFollette, Tenn., the summer after he graduated from high school. They needed muscle and he needed a job. He was hooked.
"Blowing up things and getting paid for it; what a living," said Tate. His summer job became permanent until 2004, when he got hired at BellSouth.
But it is hard to get that black powder out of the system, so he returns to his summer job for one week each year by taking vacation time.
Tate supervises eight to 20 others this week as they set up the show on 1,000 feet of the bank of the Cumberland River. Ten flatbed trailers roll into place, each with racks that hold four-, five- and six-inch shells. The team will install 100 miles of wiring to connect the shells. Larger shells and special effects are set up.
"The biggest shell is ten inches across and goes off at 200 miles per hour and will burst 700 feet in diameter," Tate said.
The fireworks in the 31-minute show are synched with music played by the Nashville Symphony. This year there are a few special shells that were created just for the Music City.
"We're old-school in that we don't have a totally computerized firing program," Tate said. "I and seven others are in a bunker getting live firing cues from the symphony stage."
Tate and his co-workers never actually see the fireworks or hear the music. So why does he do it?
"The best part of the job is after I push the button for that last explosion. There is silence. But then I can take off the headset and hear the sound of 300,000 people clapping and cheering. That's the payoff for working on the show."
Watch the live stream on Saturday
You don't have to be an AT&T U-verse subscriber to watch this fireworks show. It will be livestreamed on uverse.com and on the U-verse app. U-verse will also stream a concert featuring Martina McBride and Mikky Ekko before the fireworks.
The livestream of the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. CDT with the fireworks following at approximately 9:30 p.m.
We recently launched U-verse with AT&T GigaPower® in the Nashville area. The live streaming of the concert and fireworks show is a great chance to show off AT&T's technology as well as share a beautiful show. We've also brought a cell on wheels into the fireworks viewing area to make sure the network experience is as great as the show.