Stage at Skinner Park - 2006 Panorama Finals -
Small Band Category
- The positions being stated by certain steelband
leaders about the Panorama Finals being held in
Skinnerís park in San Fernando do not surprise me one
bit. Being around the movement as long as I have and
listening to some of the leaders talk in public and in
private, I knew that steelbandsmen were still in a
dogfight and it will take us some time to rise to the
occasion. What is this occasion? Steelbands have become
big business all over the world except in T&T. Today
people are leaving universities and joining the steel
pan industry, making it their career. But here in the
land of its birth we fighting year after year over a
competition that is taking us nowhere. Itís a dead
It is time we look rationally at the
real position in which we find ourselves. How many
bands really benefit from Panorama? After six to eight
weeks of sacrifice the majority of steelbands end up
down-spirited and dejected in their panyards long before
Fascinators Pan Symphony line up on the track awaiting their
turn on stage
for the national finals of the
small conventional steel
on Thursday February 23 at Skinner Park, San Fernando
We talk about the tourist coming down
for carnival to hear the steelbands. Is it five or
six in Port of Spain, three from the east and one or two
from South and Tobago? The tourists themselves are
complaining that when they visit the panyards around
Carnival they cannot hear a tuneÖis only one line for
hours. And we have the gumption to mention the
tourist! They want to hear and jump to steelbands
on the streets of the Mecca of Pan. The festival is not
Panorama. It is carnival. We have taken ourselves
away from carnival because of this Panorama dotishness.
Steel pannists must not be distracted by the selfish few
among us. We must seek to get back in the
carnival. That is where we all can benefit.
All the pre-carnival shows; bringing mas; competitions
on the road from J'Ouvert to last lap: only then will we
all be able to enjoy our national cultural festival.
Let us look at Panorama 2007.
The Savannah Grand Stand area is not available, so we
seek an alternative venue. That should not be an issue,
although some people are hell-bent on making it one. The
Grand Stand was constructed with horse racing in mind,
not Panorama. The horses were there for years and
they were relocated.. No horse, jockey, trainer or
owner died because of it.. So what is the big
issue with relocation of Panorama, particularly having
the finals in South?
Isnít it called the national
Panorama? Is San Fernando not part of this lovely nation
of ours? Come on people: letís stop all this
stupid talk about logistics and suitability of large
town bands and children having to travel ďso farĒ etc.
etc. Just try it, you may like it. You go to Point
Fortin Borough day without a fuss. You try Sugar and
Energy festival, San Fernando city day, Arima Fest,
Caribbean Panorama in Grenada.. Coming to
Skinnerís Park will only take a little extra effort on
your part and we know you can do it. Southerners
have been doing it for more than four decades without
complaining and extra financial assistance.
Let us not get carried away by those
who prefer to hang out on the drag and not spend one red
cent at the gates to see and hear the steelbands
perform. They does say pan is we thing and we
shouldnít have to pay. But in Skinnerís park if
you really want to see and hear the bands on stage you
will have to pay to get in and that spells profits.
Patrick Arnold and his team deserve special kudos for
their foresight and strength of conviction. It is
a thankless job, but somebody has to do it. Merry
Christmas and may the almighty bless all of us with the
spirit of progress and success in the new year.
Yours for D Steel pan Culture
Michael Leroi Joseph
Public Relations Officer
Pan Trinbago Inc.
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