Written by Jocelyn Dietrich

Franklinville, NY – Western NY State, has become home to one of the rarest breeds of music festival. A festival where flow is the main stage and red hot fire is the headliner. Nights of Fire is the first and one of the few of its’ kind… an entire festival of flow arts and FIRE spinning. The music is top notch with artists like The Mantras, Yheti, and Flux Capacitor providing the soundtrack to the hottest, brightest three day function there is. The schedule beyond the stacked music line up is back to back workshops, performances, live artists, and metaphysical healers galore! The event, produced by Spun Out Fire Productions, boasts free parking with car camping, an onsite restaurant and bar, and activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and zip lining. With a schedule like this, in a place like this, Nights of Fire is sure to keep you fulfilled all weekend.

Dragon sculpture built by Kevin Gray, photo by Marky Marc

Kyle Melancon is not only Owner and Operator of eARTh House, a store of local made goods and stones in Lockport, NY, but the Creator and Production Operator of this scorching function. Kyle started dabbling in flow arts back in 2005 when he started getting interested in the Toronto rave scene. Being that he’s from the outskirts of Buffalo, he claimes Toronto is “right down the street”, so it was the closest city with an underground community to get involved in. It started with glow sticks and that lead to the discovery of poi. Kyle watched and played with poi and LED toys, but it wasn’t until STS9 at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, NY that Kyle was informed he could light his poi up in a different way.

“Being the pyro that I am, once I learned I could light it on fire, my interest was sparked immediately. I had to learn poi ASAP,” he told me. “I grew up without internet, so I learned poi the hard way. I taught myself! So for months and months, I practiced with glow sticks tied to strings. Finally, after many long nights, it clicked! At Bonnaroo 2006, I officially started spinning poi!”

Fire came about a year later during the summer of 2007. “With just over a year of poi experience I felt ready to complete my goal and spin fire. Back then, the flow scene was not what it is today. Not having the Internet and people to turn to for advice made for less access to this little community and craft. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon someone selling fire poi that I had any opportunity to get my hands on them. This happened at 10,000 Lakes Fest in Minnesota. There was a group of fire spinners performing each night inside and outside the venue. During the days, I would hang out and talk to them. It just so happened that they made and sold their own fire poi! II purchased my first set on the spot without hesitation. It wasn’t until a week or so later at a beach party back in the home town that I finally lit them on fire for the first time. I’ll never forget it. I think the most shocking part was how LOUD they are! After that I eventually set out to learn “all” of the flow toys and add fire to them.”

Now Kyle spins just about anything and everything. His favorite… Good question. “Well that is difficult,” he pondered, “It’s kind of like asking what is your favorite song.  It all depends on the mood I’m in at any given time. I can use over 30 different fire toys, and own over 20 of my own! I still love poi, but contact staff would have to be my “go to” toy. Double staff is also a lot of fun. However, if I had to pick one, I can pick two! Rope dart and nun chucks for sure. And/or double nun chucks are also my favorites to play with.”

Jedi staff created by Kyle Melancon, photo by Glen Murray

Without a big margin for error, Kyle says he hasn’t had too many mishaps with fire. “Well I have definitely been bit by the fire more than once. It’s not the fire that burns you though, it’s the hot metal. Last summer at Starfall Music Festival in New York, I had a little accident that lead to a constant reminder. I often throw my staff very high and catch it. I also will make a mistake and then attempt to cover it up. I will try to make it look like an intentional part of the act. Well, during my performance, I threw my staff way up in the air and missed the catch. So, naturally, I moved in on the staff to try to catch it on the bounce. Unfortunately for me, the fire staff decided to bounce in my direction. The end of the staff went right into the corner of my eye, splitting it wide open! Blood started rushing everywhere, but before I knew it, I was patched up and back to the fire ring. I had this whole “Nelly” thing going on with butterfly stiches under my eye for a few weeks. That lead to this crescent moon shaped scar under my eye to remind me ‘Hey, you just never know what might go wrong!’ You always got to be careful, stay on your toes, and always remember to be safe.”

So after a few years of performing, Kyle decided to take this whole flow thing even farther. “The idea for Nights of Fire came about in the fall of 2011. In its’ first year, Nights of Fire was the theme for another event that we, Spun Out Fire Productions, were the headlining act for.  At first, it was literally just Spun Out Fire Productions in the woods on a trail of lights. That went over so well we were granted more of the creative control for that weekend the following year. We eventually added some workshops to the schedule, added a few artists to the crew, and really just took off,” Kyle explained. Their first two artistic additions to the Nights of Fire family were Fleuron Rouge Belly Dancers and Knagi and his propane dance floor.

“Our biggest focus is bringing everyone together as a community. We didn’t want choice in music or lifestyle to matter. SOFP didn’t want to host just another festival or just another flow retreat. We wanted to bring it all together, and bring ALL of the people together!”

Tiki by Long Studios, photo by Jay Race

“In 2014 we added a handful of bands, DJS, and other flow artist to come in and teach workshops. SOFP has now spent 7 years building and nurturing NOF into what it is today. What once took place in the back woods of a festival ground with a few fire spinners and some lights, now takes place at The Woods at Bear Creek! It’s a 5 star glamping resort with over 30 musical acts, 18 live artist, and 18 instructors and performance artist. The whole idea behind it is to bring people together to “party with a purpose”. SOFP wanted to design NOF as an event made for all attendees to learn something and teach something!”

Even after these past seven years of sacrifice, hard work, and dedication, Kyle feels as if this has only just begun.  “The workshop side of things is growing exponentially, as we did add an entire second workshop tent for 2017.” This year they also to continue to boost the music with a full scale line up of acts from all over the country.

Nights Of Fire takes place on a 750 acre Glamping resort with an abundance of outdoor activities like zip lining, hiking, basketball and tennis courts, swimming, fishing, paddle boats, and mountain biking. “There is so much to do at NOF day and night it is hard to decide what to do or claim this festival to be focused on any one thing. SOFP’s goal in creating NOF was to bring ALL the scenes together. The festival scene, rave scene, flow scene, burning man scene, art, dance, tattoo, punk, whatever! We just want to be known as a place that is accepting and fun for everyone. We don’t want anyone to feel left out. If anything, our big focus is making the right choices. As there is music until 6am every night and the workshops start at 10 am. NOF is an event and an atmosphere in which you must focus on what YOU want to focus on. If you come to flow or burn than that’s the focus for you. If you only care about the music, then here you go. Or if you just want to be outside doing entertaining activities with good people. We got you covered!”

“To really catch the vibe, you need to plan and focus. Be responsible. The biggest challenge of creating Nights of Fire is showing people it’s not just another party or flow performance, and it’s not just another music festival. Nights of Fire is a conscious evolution based movement that all are welcome and encouraged to join!”