In what is shaping up to be as fiery a battle as any post-war steelband clash, 12 foreign steelbands will challenge the world’s best when they come against 12 local steel orchestras for the title of International Panorama Champions. This competition, which offers a lucrative prize of US$250,000 takes place at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on August 9.
And while Trinbagonians may look at the foreign bands as easy to beat, be prepared to see them make things tough for the homegrown pannists who have pride at stake. None of the local bands want to end up being among those placing 13th and lower, so all stops have been pulled out and the pannists are all in warrior mode, ready to give their all and then some to seal victory.
The first ever International Conference, which precedes the International Panorama comes off in Trinidad from August 4-9, will see pan aficionados from across the globe coming together to participate in several seminars and workshops on various aspects the pan and the steelband movement.
As for the Panorama, there are three steel orchestras coming in from the US, two from Canada, two from the UK and one each from Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, St Martin, Guyana and Jamaica.
It is mandatory that each steelband participating in the competition has a representative attend the conference that will be held at the Hyatt Regency.
To qualify for the International Panorama steelbands must be a registered member of a Pan Trinbago recognised organisation, except in a situation where no organisation exists, then the respective Cultural Authority must sanction the steelband.
All participating steelbands must comprise a minimum of 75 per cent of citizens of their registered country and each steelband will be permitted to perform with a maximum of 60 and minimum 40 players.
Each participating steelband may select and perform a calypso or soca piece of their choice while arrangers will be allowed to arrange for one steelband in the competition.
According to Pan Trinbago president, Keith Diaz, “In an effort to generate some activities in the communities for both locals and foreigners all foreign bands will be twinned with Trinidad and Tobago steelbands that are not competing in the International Panorama. This is to facilitate the use of instruments that are similar to theirs so they will be able to practise in preparation for the competition.”
Two bands from the Tobago are in the local contingent and all the bands have been practising for this competition for some time now and are not taking any of the foreign bands lightly.
Bands appearing in the competition are: Arima Golden Symphony, bp Renegades, Curepe Scherzando, Massy Trinidad All Stars, NGC Steel Xplosion, Pan Elders, PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, Republic Bank Exodus, Supernovas, T&TEC Tropical Angel Harps and Buccooneers Steel Orchestra.
The line-up of foreign bands is as follows: US — Pan Coalition, Brooklyn Steel Orchestra and Mosaic Steel Orchestra; Canada — Pan Fantasy of Ontario and Salah’s Steelband Academy of Quebec; UK — Ebony Steelband of England and Calypsociation Steel of France.
Do you all think based on the time they are having this event mid august to say if it was before they would have had more bands taking part. This event is a few days after Grenada panorama and Uk is not to far away also plus a lot of other Caribbean countries have their panorama around july and august.
Even Though its a Good Idea to Have that International Panorama in T&T. I think it will lose its impact on the Trinidad Crowd. When You say Panorama in Trinidad We are talking about over One Hundred Players  with that Very Powerful Sound that we have Grown Accustom to.. To Have an International Panorama with Maximum of Sixty  Players wont really Cut it, to us that like a Pan  Century Competition or even a Large Stage Side. Even Medium Bands in Panorama would be Larger than those Bands which will be Competing. To Me its a waste of Time if the Bands cant Compete with the Large Bands Size of  Players.
Is there a list of arrangers and tune of choice for the competing bands as yet?
I asked the same question, not to sound negative, but how do you SELL this event to appeal to your consumers/Pan jumbies around the world who may be interested in attending the event?
A program listing/profile of the bands and their arrangers would be helpful for foreigners or groups of supporters planning to make the trip. Here we are in July, this event is a month away and we guessing how the bands will sound with certain arrangers and their size. If we followed the carnival/panorama script, we all would know the arrangers and their tune of choice.
Everyone knows the price of airline tickets goes up in the summer; planning accommodations at a short notice can be expensive. We have to start thinking global when marketing events like this one, this could be a win/win for the both sides involved, promoter and consumer.
odw, this is a typical example of doing something with other peoples money, not a care in the world.
I would like to see Ebony Steelband from England win it all if the arranger is" Anise 'Halfers' Hadeed" I always like him as an arranger, I like his Demeanor, always cool, no fuss.
Allyuh, I am wondering which Band going run Dead last in this Competition?
Bede: All of a sudden KEITH DIAZ is ah BIG HERO for setting up this visionary event and bringing PANORAMA ENTERTAINMENT to the masses in the middle of the year -- AUGUST. And allyuh does get vex with meh when ah tell allyuh the man is a POLITICAL GENIUS!!!
People are very ungrateful they show no gratitude to ones that paved the way I always show respect to the elders in Calypso because the things they went through and the sacrifices they made for calypsonians to be making the moneys they make now also the panmen where were they when i used. To get $4 for playing all season when i had to hide below my pan to prevent me from getting a buss head when steelbands used to clash when my bass pan used to stick in mud because it had not... road in the savannah and the culture voltures that dont even beat a drum and leaves with a bag of money after canival people giving a stellband event and hirering soca artiest to perform and leaving out calypsonians that compose pan songs for the steel bands to use for panorama you ever heard a pan song in the soca monarch?not even one pansong calypsonian in a steelband event like Winston Defosto Scarborough you ever heard Jamaica giving a world reggae championship they know that Jamaica is the home of reggae Trinidad is the home of the steel band we shouldn't have to give a world steel band championship to show the world that we are the home of the steelband how will it look if a steelband from japan wins?i
That's the thing Dunstan Lawrence, a Steelband from Japan or a Foreign Band can Never Win! Pan Trinbago will make sure that never happen,
That's more true than you knew, Bede! Yoshihiro Harada's "Tokyo Panorama Steel Orchestra" is traveling to T&T for this event. They've been planning this trip since at least March 2014, when this event was first announced. Just yesterday, July 14, 2015, (just a couple weeks before the event...) they were informed that they would not be allowed to compete. I got to play with Harada's band years ago, and they are a really great band, and I look forward to joining them again in Trinidad soon, but I'm very disappointed in how this event is shaping up. Disappointed, but not surprised.
I don't know how many other international bands have been put in the same situation as the band from Japan.
Kristian Paradis, this news is sad but as you said not surprising.