Steelband Panorama 2011

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An Eyewitness Account From A Renegades Steel Orchestra Player

Renegades Steel Orchestra files an injunction against Pan Trinbago over Semi Finals failure to ensure fair performance conditions

by Leon Chandler

Panorama 2011Trinidad and Tobago - As a Renegades player I have, with great restraint up until now, avoided any comment on this issue as to avoid any appearance or representation of bias.

I think I now need to step in if for no other reason that clarification. Renegades has no issue with being left out of the finals if it was based on the judges' interpretation and subsequent location of points only, however, these are not the grounds for which we have lodged our initial complaints to Pan Trinbago and now, after that body has delayed us for almost a week, our subsequent action in the High Court.

Our performance was marred in this way......we were fully set up on stage and ready to perform at 6:57pm, the announcer did the necessary and the lights came on, all players charged and adrenaline pumping......only to be overshadowed by the loud music and thumping bass emanating from an "All Inclusive Fete" being held on the greens next to/behind the North Stand.

On no less than 3 occasions the MC had to request that the music be turned no avail....each time our players became more and more agitated and the adrenaline rapidly seeped was only when a request was made of the Police to intervene, did the music get "turned down". This, I must indicate, was after the bands performance was announced to the audience 4 times!!!!! Each announce and subsequent stoppage contributing to an emotional roller coaster for each of our 120 players.

To add insult to injury, from the moment the band was eventually able to commence it's long-delayed performance (this was now 7:16pm), the music resumed at full blast.....thus creating both an audible and mental distraction to those players located on that side of the band.

It was only at this stage, when music and PAN were left to compete, that the Police intervened, thus ensuring that NO OTHER BAND suffered the same fate. Footage shows that there were no further requests, prior to other bands performing, by the MC for turning down/off of music after the incident that affected Renegades.

So, my brothers and sisters of the Steelband World, our grouse is not one based on the fact that we feel we MUST be in every final, but on the following -:

  1. The emotional effect on players caused by a 19-minute delay in our performance;

  2. The effect of the external music on those to the back of the band being unable to hear/focus on what was being played;

  3. The fact that, this entire arrangement for the All Inclusive activity, must have been sanctioned by Pan Trinbago and, if not, should have been detected and properly managed prior to it escalating to this ugly incident.

  4. The noise was not the 'regular' one that comes with a packed North Stand, but something new....something much bigger.

This protest action is meant to represent ALL Bands for the future, to tell our so-called "Governing Body" that they can no longer, in the interest of profit, allow activities that work against the essence of the occasion....which remains our "National Instrument"......our beloved Steelband Music!

We should be happy that it was a "Big Band" that was affected, since it has the resources to take the appropriate action, so the message can be sent, thus ensuring that ALL bands in the future, do not suffer from this level of disrespect.

I will Always love and fight for my beloved instrument, let's give it and the players love and respect.............................

Leon Chandler

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