Santore: I’m not a person who dodges anything ever. I eventually went to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning. The next morning I had to leave to go do a big event on the East Coast. I woke up at 6 o’clock, got my stuff together, spoke with 40 or 50 members of the press, got on a plane, and flew back East. I told Sandy if he wanted to have us back that we would do the show for nothing.
Purdon: They were very upfront. They stepped right up to the mic and said, “Hey, it’s on us; it’s our bad.”
Roy: I knew I had a good video but I didn’t think I was the only person who had a nice DSLR camera. I posted it on the San Diego subreddit and then someone reposted it to videos and it went to No. 1. That’s when it really hit.
Purdon: I guess we got like 10.5 million hits on YouTube in 48 hours. We got two nights in a row on national TV. Even my sister, who was on a cruise ship in St. Petersburg, Russia, texted me and said, “Was that your show?”
Roy: I got a phone call from a TV station in Japan that wanted to show it. I got an email from Rock Center with Brian Williams. And somebody from CNN called. I made $3,000 for just pointing a camera in the right direction at the right time, which was nice considering it was totally an accident.
Purdon: There were a couple people that texted and said, “Are you gonna rebate me my $20 for parking?” A lot of people said, “I would’ve paid double to watch that show because it was so intense.”
Crouch: Instead of being called the Big Bang it ended up getting called the Big Bust. Everybody had a different opinion of the situation: what a bummer it was, how spectacular it was. My brother called me from Missouri and said, “What the heck happened?”
Frailey: It got a lot of attention for San Diego around the world. Sales of fireworks went up after that.
Purdon: It was the best thing that ever happened. We got more interest from sponsors and we got more attendance the next year. If I had thought that it would’ve generated so much attention, the thinking might’ve been, “Well maybe we should’ve done this on purpose, like, the third year.”
Santore: They paid us in full for the event. I never asked for it. It wasn’t an insubstantial sum of money. [Reportedly about $400,000 -- ed.] They said, “Thanks, we’d love to have you back.”
Frailey: A couple years later we had a customer who wanted to do a fireworks show where it was 20 minutes of fireworks squeezed into less than three minutes because they wanted to recreate it.
Crouch: [In 2013] there was tension in the air. I think everybody was wondering, “What’s going to take place this time?” The pyrotechs and the fire marshal, they were going over these barges with fine-toothed combs.
Roy: Sandy Purdon found out who I was and invited me to come film the fireworks at his place the next year. The party was packed. He was definitely nervous.
Purdon: Garden State came back and provided us with a free event in 2013. They did a great job. They lost the bid in 2014 and ’15, but they’re certainly welcome to bid every year. They’re a good company.
Bruggema: It’s a drag that it happened to them. But I’m happy to say that I got the show back. This year there’s gonna be fireworks in the show that have never been seen in San Diego.
Purdon: We’ve increased the budget. I’m told they’ve obtained some interesting pyrotechnics from around the world, Italy to Portugal to China, South Korea.
Santore: [We] have competitors trying to drum this down people’s throats. Sure, it didn’t help us. Like anything in life, things happen. You can be the best race car driver in the world and slam into the wall on the third turn because all of a sudden a tire blows out. Nobody ever wants to talk about the 6,000 great things that you did, only the one bad one. Give me the worst event of your life and let’s spend an hour on it. Let’s talk about your high school prom.