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More than 160,000 people in Marseille say good bye to the European Capital of Culture year
Pyrotechnic show company "Group F" performs with fireworks in the Vieux Port (Old Port) of Marseille, southern France, on December 31, 2013, as part of New Year celebrations on the last day of the Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture. AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT.

MARSEILLE.- With more than 900 events and nearly 10 million visits, the year of the European Capital of Culture has reached its conclusion in triumphant fashion.

For its final evening, Marseille-Provence 2013 offered two performances combining pyrotechnics and projections, one in Istres at 6pm and the other at the Vieux Port of Marseille at 7pm.

The performance in Istres this evening attracted more than 15 000 spectators. It took place at the seawater pond called the Étang de l’Olivier. A flaming vessel with luminous characters created by Groupe F was escorted across the water by a blaze of boats. It then sparked a rain of stars and waves of lights before arriving at the new city hall that had been transformed into a majestic theatre of illuminations.

In Marseille, a large audience once again gathered at the Vieux Port, this time to bid adieu to the European Capital of Culture and the year 2013. Groupe F created a complete performance with monumental images screened on the Fort Saint Nicolas, fireworks launched from the Digue du Large, fiery boats with glowing sailors navigating the Vieux Port, and a web of old rigging aglow with a thousand fires traversing the basin. The performance was accompanied by immense jets of water sculpted by lasers that were created by the Crystal Group.

Revelations by Groupe F graced the waters of the region throughout the year of the European Capital of Culture: the Rhone in Arles, the Calanques of Cassis, the fountains of Aix-en-Provence, the Château d’If, the canals of Martigues, and the beach at Port-Saint-Louis du Rhône.

The regional prefecture, the local police, the city of Marseille, Marseille-Provence Métropole, and Marseille-Provence 2013 worked together to provide an estimate of the size of the crowd. More than 150 000 people pressed together around the Vieux Port to watch the performance.

The performances were coproduced by the cities of Istres and Marseille along with Marseille-Provence 2013 directed by Jacques Pfister, the Groupe F, and EDF.

In Marselle, the performance received the support of the Terrasses du Port commercial centre. Allegria is the official producer of the Crystal Group.

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