Summer begins Thursday June 21 at 3:08 am but that’s a technicality. A sure sign that the season’s begun is after Memorial Day weekend, when the Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular is shown every night in June conditions permitting, and on through early August. This ATL tradition is entering its 35th year, so 2018 is a milestone for the beaming lasers and lights with pyrotechnic presentations that have continually grown over the years, from when the original program had its debut back in 1983.
In 2008 for the 25th anniversary of the Lasershow both sound and pyro were amped up considerably, and musical selections became much more diversified. The biggest breakthrough, in 2011, was the coming of Mountainvision: state-of-the-art digital projection gives the show 3-D-like effects without the need for 3-D glasses.
Adding video meant more drama for Mountainvision, creating effects that are well beyond lasers. Some dramatic flourishes create visual illusions that seemingly turn Stone Mountain into one huge Volcano spewing lava down its sides. And other cosmic images are effects that make one see that Big Old Rock crumble right before your eyes.
The Lasershow Spectacular is lavish galore and moreover as huge as the 825 foot high Stone Mountain. With projection 5 times the size of an IMAX screen and taller than the Statue of Liberty, Stone Mountain Park publicity says, it’s “like watching a 5,000 inch high definition TV.”
With a kind of continuous improvement of effects, other additions to the mix, added in 2015, are 3 flame cannons. They’re intended to give “punch to the show,” and shown in our headline photo. But you’d have to see the real thing to appreciate it: the trio of flames actually soar nearly 100 feet into the air, to figuratively feel the temperature rising.
The most recent high-tech piece de resistance or outstanding achievement, introduced in 2017, involves 2-dozen robotic drones with lights in sync to the presentation’s music in a show segment called Drone Wars. Indeed this part of the Lasershow is so spectacular, Stone Mountain Park publicity notes, the “FAA must be consulted to ensure airplanes don’t become blinded by lasers.” It’s all safe for spectators who can enjoy the evening on the verdant, aromatic Memorial Lawn.
The Park shall we say leaves no stone unturned (save for the Mountain itself) in preparation for the Lasershow Spectacular, especially for the 35th edition in this special year. It’s a tough act balancing the summer Lasershow with the wintertime Snow Mountain, which has been going for 10 years now. The Park has lawn maintenance down to a science.
This past April the landscape crew members prepped the soil for the always gorgeous Lawn at the foot of the north face of Stone Mountain. And then came about 400 huge rolls of sod, to keep guests grounded as they enjoy the Lasershow Spectacular from the good earth all the way to the soaring skies. It’s a family-friendly super summer night scene, a wonderful treat for out-of-town visitors, so plans for the Lasershow Spectacular may well be in order. You can google it for details.
-Dr. Paul Hudson