Fire performing is a captivating art form that can make an event unforgettable. It’s beautiful, visceral and of course, it’s dangerous. Until recently, booking fire performers for events was unregulated and filing for a permit was confusing and often overlooked. As of January 2016, the FDNY Explosives Unit began issuing licenses to fire performers (Certificate of Fitness E-29) and fire producers (Certificate of Fitness E-28). This new system can help promoters book performers who uphold safety standards set by the fire performing community and comply with FDNY regulations. This new system will allow more fire legal fire performances to happen throughout the city.
Performing with fire legally is like driving a car, you need to take a safety course, you need a licence (Certificate of Fitness) and insurance and your “car” (the venue) needs a permit.
What is the benefit of doing all this work?
With all the work that goes into being a professional fire performer in NYC, you should be getting paid for all the time spent setting it up. To figure out a good rate, this article can help you can also send it to promoters if they question your pricing.
All of these regulations are new for 2016, promoters may be used to hiring inexperienced fire performers for as little as $50 without involving the FDNY but those times are over. The FDNY now has a task force that looks on social media sites for illegal fire shows. They have been approaching venues and issuing warnings, they are not trying to shut down venues or shows but rather inform them on how to do it legally. If a venue is caught continuing with illegal fire performances after a warning, they can be fined $5,000.
The fire performers of NYC have been working with the FDNY to legalize venues in Bushwick Brooklyn, there are now several monthly legal fire shows happening at Bizarre Bar and House of Yes. Its these small venues that are the hot bed of upcoming performance art and the larger venues will follow suit. This system is complicated but in the interest in public safety, it is undoubtedly worth it.
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