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Large Band First at the Pan Finals

by Ray Holman


In this article, I will confine my comments merely to the organization of the Panorama Finals Competition.

As someone who has spent most of his life and has devoted much of his time, talent and energy, at great personal sacrifice, towards the development, popularity and promotion of the steelband both at home and abroad, it would be re-miss of me to sit idly by and not attempt to remedy the current situation with respect to the Panorama Finals show and the obvious and continuous decline of the steelband in general.

Ray Holman - Steelpan Arranger
Ray Holman

I have been making some suggestions for the past ten years to members of the leadership of the governing body, regarding the downward spiral in attendance at the Panorama Finals show, which seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Any primary school student, if given the opportunity to solve the equation, would arrive at the obvious conclusion that twenty bands will require no less than eight hours to complete their performances.

I have heard many patrons complaining that they’ve paid money to come to a show but have had to leave without hearing the bands they paid to hear, perform. This is very unfair because it’s like paying for a gourmet meal and then being served finger-food. It is not satisfying, hence the reason for the rapid decline in attendance at the Panorama Finals show. In addition, there is almost a sense of being held hostage at the event. while patrons endure long hours waiting to hear their favourite band perform.

Prime time is always reserved for your main act which in this case, is the large band category. The bands should not be playing to a sparse audience during the wee hours of the morning. It is unfair to the musicians, the audience and the sponsors. I know for a fact that some sponsors feel cheated out of the advertising they expect to realize from sponsorship, simply because the audience is greatly depleted when their band finally performs.

It might be too late for implementation to have the medium and large band categories perform on separate nights, however I would strongly recommend that the large bands be allowed to play first, beginning with this years’ Panorama Finals show on Saturday. Patrons would then leave the Panorama event with a heightened sense of satisfaction in getting their money’s worth. If there is insistence on having both medium and large bands perform on the same night, obviously one category will suffer and it should not be the large band category as it is the category that the vast majority of patrons paid to hear.

This is just one of the areas in which the Panorama as a major cultural event, needs to be reformed.

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