Withfield Weekes, Chairman, Pan Trinbago South/Central talks about the Historic Staging of the 2007 Panorama in San Fernando

 Trinidad & Tobago Steelband Panorama 2007

Tobago & Tobago, W.I. -  In the aftermath of a successful and historic Panorama finals staged for the first time ever, outside of its traditional home at the Queen's Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, Withfield Weekes - Chairman, Pan Trinbago, South/Central region looked back on the Saturday February 17 event with a sense of accomplishment.  Working in tandem with the office of San Fernando Mayor Kenneth Ferguson, Alderman Junia Regrello, who is also the captain of Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra, and the Pan Trinbago executive headed by Patrick Arnold, who were all responsible for the 'infrastructural' arrangements, Weekes and his crew took charge of the timely arrival of participating bands and the efficient transition from band to band throughout the evening at Skinner Park in San Fernando.

Weekes was definitive in giving credit to the track stewards who ensured the smooth flow of steel orchestras on and off stage.  The South/Central chairman unhesitatingly identified their diligence as a major component in the event's overall success.  He remarked on the three-hour time span from 5:15 - 8:15 PM in which the eight steel orchestras in the medium bands completed their appearances - probably 'record time' according to Weekes.  Trinidad All Stars, the final band in the large steel orchestra category, and the eventual winner of the championship title, capped off their performance at midnight, heralding the end of the competition phase in what was probably an unprecedented early finish.  Winners of last week's South Steelband Panorama Showcase - Fonclaire, took the stage and gave the audience a performance that made their fellow southerners proud that the band hailed from San Fernando.  The panorama results were forthcoming shortly thereafter.

There appeared to be no insurmountable issues that arose during the evening, according to Weekes.  Factors such as the necessary widening of the stage to accommodate the 120-player-strong orchestras in the large category were addressed after the previous Sunday's South Steelband Panorama Showcase which served as a dry run for the grand event.  In regards to the sound, Weekes said the sound engineer also had the opportunity during that time, to get a sense of what would be essential for the 2007 Panorama finals.  As of Sunday February 18, the day immediately following the panorama, there had been no negative feedback regarding the sound, which has always been a major source of contention for both steel orchestras and pan lovers alike at the Queen's Park Savannah.  "I have not heard any negative reports about the sound system, so that we believe we may have done something right, there," said Weekes.  Both the sound and lighting systems were entrusted to contractors sourced by the NCC (National Carnival Commission); related issues had additional input and feedback from such as Junior Regrello who, Weekes explained, was experienced in similar type productions like the Calypso and Carnival Monarchs shows. 


Live Exclusive interview with Withfield Weekes,
chairman, Pan Trinbago South/Central

Asked about transportation of steel orchestras and their equipment out of San Fernando, Weekes said that bands' equipment were well on their way to Port-of-Spain and environs soon after they completed their performances at Skinner Park. 

Withfield Weekes told When Steel Talks that 'unfortunately he was not good in terms of assessing crowds,' though he asserted that 'it was a large crowd at the park.'  "I must say that it reminded of when we had Panorama here in the seventies, it was that type of crowd."  For the record, a report carried in one Trinidad media outlet put forward an estimate of twenty thousand at Skinner Park.

Reflecting on the pace of construction [of the new venue at the Queen's Park Savannah] in Trinidad, the Pan Trinbago South/Central chairman said that maybe the  2008 Panorama finals might again be held in Skinner Park in San  Fernando.  The upcoming event post-analysis would contain lessons learned to be taken into consideration, and with a longer period at their disposal, "we will probably be in a better position, to produce a better show next year, because we would have more time to plan for the event, and with that planning, it should put us where we can really have a great show" Weekes declared.

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