The jaw-dropping display at the end of the opening ceremony was courtesy of the Jamboree Shows Team and US-based Firefly Drone Shows. Advised by a group of 162 scouts from 62 countries, all below the age of 24, the show introduced the chairman of WOSM, the Jamboree theme, as well as the official mascot. As an extension of the “Unlock A New World” theme, the masters of ceremonies and Yona, the WSJ mascot, opened a box containing a singular drone. The drone flew up and around the stage before heading back to join the awaiting swarm for the dynamic display. A fleet of 250 drones painted images on a 900 ft wide by 400 ft tall canvas of airspace just beyond the stage and across the lake. The images demonstrate adventure is all around us.

The Jamboree was happy to partner with Firefly to create the show. Firefly is one of a few companies in the US with FAA approval to fly drone swarms. The 3-year old company began with less than 10 drones and a lot of passion for the project. The founders of the company have a cinematography background and experience with drone flying.

When the company began, there was no plug-and-play solution. All the drones were specifically manufactured by Firefly in-house. “It’s not just about the quantity of drones, the design is equally if not more important to the show” Ryan Sigmon, Firefly Founder shared.

A typical show could take months to storyboard, layout in the computer, test, and colorize. Each drone has its own flight path and colors. For the opening ceremony, it was a collaborative effort with the Jamboree Shows team and Firefly. Certain elements had to be in the show – Adventure, WOSM logo, Jamboree logo, and the mascot.

“There were original conversations about a bear… [a]nd we [Firefly] said hey, we have got this really cool idea. And the way we that actually designed that bear was in VR. We traced out a bear in VR, drew him up, and then converted that into little dots. And that’s what actually became the bear in the drone show.” reveals Ryan Sigmon.

There was a desire to include everyone in the stadium during the show. Team lead David K wanted something that “truly is for the experience of the scout and IST staff, to be able to experience this all together.” Coordinated efforts with Klik, the creators of our Novus bands, provided the opportunity to light up the bands of the audience as their home continent lit up in the sky.

Additionally, the team showed the scout sign to end the show; an element that resonated with the entire crowd. As the drones formed the three signs, hands in the stadiums went up. All the scouts and attendees, united under the flag of scouting.

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