Historically Revered Steel Orchestras Vow to Never Turn Backs on Fans & Supporters at Panorama

Desperadoes Semi Finals 2016
Desperadoes Steel Orchestra performing at Panorama Semi-finals 2016 - facing North Stands view

In spite of the all the brew-haha and local controversy over the recently-constructed “Pan-City” for Panorama 2020, some of the oldest and most revered steel orchestras in the world have vowed to display continued commitment and respect to their fans at the upcoming Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama Semi Finals Steelband Competition. And thereby displaying a critical understanding of what’s most important in the sustainability of a working performing music entertainment and business industry surrounding Pan in Trinidad and Tobago.

In speaking with When Steel Talks (WST) - spokespersons for these steel orchestra franchises communicated that they felt it was their responsibility to make sure their fans and supporters were aware that  they were not being taken for granted. And as such, fans in the “Pan City” area (formerly the North Stand environs) will never see the “backs” of their performing musicians on the greatest Panorama music stage in the world.

Many years ago under the leadership of the legendary “Rudolph Charles,” Desperadoes Steel Orchestra vowed to never have their backs to the throngs of adoring fans who cheered them while occupying the now defunct “North Stands” area.  And as a result, Desperadoes’ stage setup has always had a portion of the orchestra facing both the judges and Grand Stand, and a portion facing the North stand area.  Desperadoes operations manager Lyndon Spencer confirmed that the tradition will continue in Panorama 2020.

Back in the day:  Throngs of pan lovers in the North Stands, and ecstatic Desperadoes supporters on the track directly in between those stands and the stage - Queen's Park Savannah
Back in the day:  Throngs of pan lovers in the North Stands, and ecstatic Desperadoes supporters on the track directly in between those stands and the stage

Similarly, Daryl Joseph, former PRO of Trinidad All Stars conveyed to WST that there were no plans to change their usual set up.  Joseph further explained that their front line racks typically face west and north, a setup that they have used since 1965.  And moreover, “Our backs will never be to the audience, either,” maintains Joseph.

In speaking to Invaders Steel Orchestra’s Desiree Myers—the band’s Music Coordinator and leader—she let it be known that Invaders will be using their traditional setup on Panorama night. In addition, she stated that “We (Invaders) believe in giving the ‘North Stand’ side a show, also.”

In reality, there can be no replacement for the iconic, historical cultural Carnival wonder know as the North Stands.  It was the place where some of the greatest experiences and memories in the history of Pan in Trinidad & Tobago took place. The focus of great Carnival tales and where the most knowledgeable, noble and loyal pan supporters/fans in the world hung out.

The discord between the president of Pan Trinbago and the chairman of the National Carnival Commission Winston Peters, and the disconnect over what made the North Stands phenomenon legendary became a public affair.

Even though the North Stands of old is no more, there remains an audience, specifically during the hours-long Panorama semi-finals steelband music extravaganza sometimes affectionately dubbed the “Savannah Party” by event organizers.  So if the participating orchestras in general would affirm and celebrate the presence of those attendees, that would mean taking reconsidering what it means to have a huge audience that is shown the backs of the performers.

Moreover, leadership should take heed of the warning Andre Moses so accurately and eloquently expressed in his article Wither the Steelband Panorama?  ‘...The North Stand that represented the next generation of steelband lovers has not recovered from the self-inflicted wound of the ‘Panorama Greens’ and a new generation of youth is growing up without any organic connection to the steelband, save for a fleeting engagement in a school steelband...’ Andre Moses

So on the question - is the so-called “Pan City” part of the Panorama musical experience?  The answer was a resounding “Yes” by these historical and significant steelband franchises such as Desperadoes, Trinidad All Stars and Invaders.  Clearly some of the performers have not forgotten to continue to hold the audience in high regard at all times.

Pan City 3D Rendering


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