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NORDFest 2004 Steelband Festival

Web Posted - Wed June 30, 2004

Held in MFO Park in Bahnhof Zurich Oerlikon during the weekend of the 25-27th June 2004, this government assisted annual event celebrated its third anniversary with the Steelband Festival being added to its programme this year but not enjoying the benefits of any funding and very little sponsorship. Twenty-six Swiss steelbands performed over the three-day period. During the preparation of the event it caught the eye of pan lovers, players and responsible persons, involved in music and its culture, from all over the world.  They were all glad to hear what Off Beat/Steel Magic were doing in Switzerland and wanted to be part of it but at least twenty four bands and soloists from Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Trinidad, England and the USA were refused owing to financial constraints.

 It was revealed that the interest shown would be used as a tool to encourage the Swiss Government, Education authorities and local sponsors to invest in future festivals.

The organisers of the Steelband Festival was Off Beat “Magic” event with President, Monika Nicoletti-Tung, Logistics/Engineering manager, Eduard “Edi” Stolz, Restaurant & Bar manager Yoli Hausherr and over 40 hard working volunteers ensuring that it was a great success.

NORD Fest Steelband Festival is the first three-day steelband festival in Zurich and possibly Switzerland. The aims of the Festival were

• to grasp the opportunity to infect the general public at the NORD Fest 2004 with the sweet magical sound of steel pan and its musical variety.

• to promote the steelpan instrument in Zurich and Switzerland on a whole.

• to attract the attention of the Swiss government and the responsible parties in the ministry of education for music.

The “Jewels” of the festival were the two youth steel bands, Kool Kats and Steel Magic, highlighting the fact that the steel pan culture has a future and will continue to prosper in Switzerland far into the future. In addition the dedication and hard work of tutors/musicians in the likes of Ralph Richardson, Junior Gill, Tamla Batra, David Henry, Claudio Pini, Patrik Bernhard and Micha Hausemann have made the festival a success with the wealth of their music offered during the three days and the work they perform over the years ensures the continuity of the steel pan culture.

On the Friday, Agagilla, Steelistics, Tartarugas, Quilombo and the Apple Steel Bands entertained the audience in the MFO Park from 6:00 p.m. Saturday saw the steelbands performance kick off at 11:00 a.m. with Frangipani followed by Pantaloni, Tropical Dreams, Carambolage, Kool Kats, Pan Dreams, Rhythmics Selection, Pan Phonics, No Panique, Ferrum Helveticum, Bollito Misto and the Provocaters steelbands. Bollito Misto was the only ‘Pan around the neck‘ steelband to perform at the event and they took great pleasure in leading the crowds through the Park to the performance area. The area’s seating capacity was filled. The highlight of the evening was by no doubt the Provocaters, a band made up of all the pan tutors/musicians or in their own words, ‘all de ole dogs’ in Zurich – including Ralph Richardson, Junior Gill, David Henry and Paul Francis. Their performance was a musical treat. At one point in their performance the ‘Pan Jumbie’ took hold of me and as I stood in front of the stage with hair rising on my arms, heart beating to the rhythm of their music and my spirit soaring in Pan heaven. I felt that they were the perfect messengers for steelpan and its culture in Switzerland.

Sunday’s performance started at 12:00 p.m. Pfanne Steel Band initiated the performances of the day followed by Steel Magic, Off Beat, Kaleidoscope, Cariba, Zurich Renegades, Steel Parrots, Danza Mania, Corazon Latino and Sweat & Steel steelbands bringing down the curtain on what was a very well planned, entertaining and enjoyable event. Each steelband’s performance was individual and a highlight in itself proving the versatility and dexterity of the instrument and its musicians.

In addition to the steelband festival there was also extra entertainment prvided in the MFO Park with lots of different playground rides and bouncy castles for the children and another stage for music bands and choirs. International cuisine was on offer from the many stalls operating on the day from Thai, Indian, Swiss, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Spanish to Jamaican. So you when you felt famished, food, drink and sweet pan music was supplied.

Look out for NORD Fest 2005. It will be a treat so see and be there!

Pan Podium


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© 2004  Copyright Pan Podium.  All content - text and PICTURES - Copyright Pan Podium


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