Global - In what has to be considered an unprecedented approach to conflict resolution and
highlighting of issues within the steelpan music community - members of the
steelpan music fraternity have launched an internet-based initiative. It
is a petition to garner global support for their
concerns and grievances over the way proposed funding for this year’s  steel
orchestra music panorama competitions has been allocated by the Government of Trinidad and
The main point of contention is the announcement of the reduction in funding for
the player stipends. Evidently, the controversy began when increased prize money
announcements and pledges while on her campaign trail were made last year by the now-Prime
Minister, but have now turned into what is perceived to being disproportionate prize
increases across the cultural stakeholders but simultaneous stipend reduction
for the steelpan musicians.
Trinidad and Tobago currently has the most steelpan musicians in the world.
It is the Mecca of all things related to steelpan music culture. And its annual
panorama competition is the largest gathering of tuned percussion musicians in
the world. The event attracts thousands of fans and enthusiasts from all over to the competitions every year, as part of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
celebrations. In addition, thousands of panists participate in the prestigious
competition over a two-month season.
The online petition calls for the reversal of the recent cabinet-approved
decrease of funding for the steelpan panorama musicians.
The newfound freedom and ease of direct connection with the fans and practitioners of the genre, has resulted in a profound increase in the amount of entries into the discipline in recent years. It has also opened up additional markets for the music in foreign countries, colleges and entertainment venues.
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