Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Five of the world’s greatest steel orchestras came together under the banner of the ‘International Steelband Foundation (ISF)’ and gave tremendous performances that will now remembered as an historical mark in the annals of the Pan time-line. But far beyond the performance, the event showed that the organization was up to the task of meeting the challenges of successfully navigating the Big5 through the minefield that is the music and entertainment arena in this era. The International Steelband Foundation left no doubt to its ability to deliver the goods successfully.
The five orchestras (Exodus, Phase II, Renegades, Desperadoes and Trinidad All Stars) distinguished themselves through professionalism, outstanding presentation, impeccable musicianship and relevant musical content - reminders of why they are the most celebrated steel orchestras in the world.
The event—held July 22 at the Queen’s Park Savannah in the country’s capital of Port-of-Spain—was well attended. In addition, the event was streamed live over the internet on YouTube. The stream was made possible by the International Steelband Foundation. However it was not without its mis-steps, at least via what was experienced online. From the recurring drops and surges in volume, to the total loss of sound at one point during the Renegades segment, the overall concert audio delivery was uneven. Still, steelband music lovers enjoyed the showcase, and were overwhelmingly positive about the event.
For some weeks now the event, simply named the "Big5 - The Pan Concert," was met with much intrigue and quickly captured the narrative and imagination of the Pan world. The truth is, there have not been many positives recently in Trinidad and Tobago Pan affairs.
From the country’s steelband Panorama pan players still not having been paid for their February performances (some five months later), to executive members of Trinidad and Tobago’s governing body for steelbands - Pan Trinbago - being under investigation, and clearly having fallen out of favor with much of its membership - the change in the Pan narrative in Trinidad via the ISF’s Big5 concert was a welcome switch.
In one fell swoop the event elevated the past, present and future of Pan in Trinidad and Tobago. More importantly, in July, people are talking seriously about Pan in Trinidad all over the world.
Exodus Steel Orchestra at the Big5 Concert
Phase II Pan Groove at the Big5 Concert
Renegades Steel Orchestra at the Big5 Concert
Desperadoes Steel Orchestra at the Big5 Concert
Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra at the Big5 Concert