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Mas back home

Wednesday, December 15 2010

In announcing to a grateful and relieved nation the readiness of the reconstructed Grand Stand for Carnival 2011, Minister of Art and Multi-culturalism Winston Peters, made an interesting and thought-provoking point.

Peters, calypsonian and cultural connoisseur, opined that the mother of annual steelband competitions, Panorama, was inherently “killing pan.” Pan players, he argued, expend all their efforts learning one song for the competition, do not possess a repertoire and are thus marginalised from Carnival and from the Parade of Bands.

Peters´ comment is certain to provoke an outcry from Panorama fans and perhaps pan players, many of whom live and return to TT for the competition. Panorama is a magical musical popular festival, its final night is excellence in pan unparalled. During the days of the competition, pan men and women are respected, honoured, revered and they revel in the adoration, shine under the spotlight.

Yet, despite the glory, because of it, on the morning of Carnival Sunday, the Savannah takes on the appearance of a pan graveyard. Pans and racks lie abandoned. Pan lovers know from the moment the winners are announced that pan has reached its zenith-until next Panorama finals. Pan players, poorly paid for their exertion are forgotten and mainstream masqueraders who applauded them on Carnival Saturday night view them as a nuisance on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

Despite the efforts of some pan sides to produce bands for the Parade of the Bands, many of the best pan players are too exhausted to perform on the road and the task of playing is left to the less experienced. Pan players are famous for learning and practising their street music on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, the result an inferior quality of arrangement and execution. It is also true that during Panorama, several bands take on foreign musicians and these bearing no loyalty to TT and receiving more from us than they give in return, fly back to their countries immediately after the final competition.

Clearly, some balance must be struck. We may not want to do away completely with Panorama, a huge revenue earner, major tourist attraction and a centrepiece of Carnival and of the Savannah stage. Perhaps we may wish to celebrate it on a smaller scale. We can also require bands to perform more than one piece throughout the months of the competition. Whatever our decision, it must be based on consultation and research.

We trust that this Government will not put an end to the Panorama competition before a definitive national plan for pan is in place. We say this because the farcical tale of the Grand Stand has shown that acting precipitously is not merely a waste of money, it can extract the life blood, the heart out of our national festival. In 2005 the PNM announced the beloved Grand Stand would be torn down and replaced by another ambitious project of the ubiquitous Udecott and eternal Shanghai Construction Company: the National Carnival and Entertainment Centre, which would cost TT $450 million.

On the night of March 5, 2006, in a moment of great sentimentality, TT´s David Rudder invited spectators of the Champs in Concert to come and take a last jump up on the Savannah stage. This would be the last Carnival there. By the next year though work having not commenced on the new centre, Carnival returned partially to the Savannah. In the following three years it had to find another home as the Grand Stand was finally knocked down. The country was heartbroken and the NCC, masqueraders, spectators were evicted while the illusive, never to be built centre was under construction.

The new Grand Stand according to Minister Peters is just the PP´s first step in reclaiming from foreigners our Carnival, which is where the PNM placed it when it handed it over to Calder Hart and Shanghai. The PP´s next measure will be a permanent home for Carnival in the form of a Carnival Village that can accommodate calypso tents and a museum as well as everything else that Carnival has to offer and will not close up shop on Ash Wednesday, but be an all year round tourist attraction and income generator. The new centre will be designed by local architects who will be encouraged to create the best suited facility for Carnival, not like the proposed PNM monstrosity which shut the colour of Carnival indoors and was apt for temperate not tropical climes. We thank the PP for bringing our greatest show back home to us and to our spectacular Savannah. www.panapparels.com

© newsday.co.tt - www.newsday.co.tt 

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Thank you, thank you.

This is the kind of objective thinking I was looking for.

Instead of singing endless praise to the glories of Panorama, a look at the overall effect of the Panorama  on the steelband movement should show us its deficiencies, and hopefully open us up to ways to correct them.


Contrary to what some members of this forum may think, I love Panorama.

I wouldn't have posted hundreds of Panorama videos on the web if I weren't a fan of Panorama.


However, I am also aware of its negative side effects to the steelband movement in T&T, which I've documented in this forum.


Hopefully, a way can be found to save the Panorama.while allowing the steelband movement to grow, and to fully participate in the Carnival.



The person who wrote this article should put their name to it.  The person who wrote this article has an agenda. 

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to realize that the shutting down of panorama would kill the interest in pan in Trinidad and Tobago. Panorama is not broke.  Bands don't come out on the road because they are not wanted by the mas playing population.  It you want the bands back on the road, get rid of the trucks.  It's that simple.  Just look at New York Jouvert as a model.  The pan players seem to get up after panorama with no problems.



"Bands don't come out on the road because they are not wanted by the mas playing population.  If you want the bands back on the road, get rid of the trucks. It's that simple.  Just look at New York Jouvert as a model."


Tell dem again bugs.


Imagine how gutted I was the first time i went to TnT for j'ouvert and found all the sound trucks all up in it.

--- GUTTED i tell you. this was THE thing i went for the MOST.......  and i was MORE than just disappointed. I was shocked, disgusted, and just really sad to think that NY was more "traditional" than the 'real thing', and to realize that here i'd been dying to get to the great Trinidad j'ouvert, and i had missed it & it's gone forever.


So while i do understand the point made about bands focusing on practicing only their one Panorama tune, and I agree it is a factor -  I don't agree is is solely that dynamic that is at fault.


cause every time this discussion comes up i think to myself "but don't these bands have plenty music they know for the year already?"   If they WANTED to come on the road, the stageside could easily run some of the tunes they already know, with a carnival monday practice to brush them up, and come out on the road...... easily. Doesn't matter how many farrin players only know the Panorama tune, and play once and go home. that argument doesn't hold water - cause the stageside knows plenty music like the back a their hand, without needing weeks of practice to come on the road with a couple tunes additional to the Panorama selection.


so i don't think it's "only" Panorama 'killing' pan -   i think if pan was welcomed on the road, as it once was, more pansides would make the effort and come out.  i mean, of course I realize the trucks are now an integral part of the parade of bands. BUT -- that being the case, since the mas players want them trucks, well then, they don't want pan. No panside is gonna feel to bring their band out only to have to compete all flickin day with that electronic music blasting from the trucks...  whats the point if the pan cannot be heard? This, is ALSO a factor in killing pan.


And the worst thing killing it - is when they let the trucks in the j'ouvert TOO. that - THAT now - is what REALLY kill the pan.  the jouvert was the ONE place pan was sacred, and could play full on, with no electronics drowning it out...


so i ask myself if maybe the panmen & women feel they are no longer wanted?  And if that's the case -  why does anyone think they will put any effort into anything OTHER than the Panorama tune?

Maybe they feel that is the only appreciation they are gonna get for the Carnival season anyhow -  so why NOT give the Panorama their all and to hewll with the rest of it?


nobody seems to want pan anymore on the road OR in the jouvert, so i can easily see why they may just not want to put forth any more effort, once Panorama is done.


the whole thing just makes me feel sick. i mean really - really -  imagine new york jouvert better than TnT jouvert??  just makes me sick.


So i really feel this whole big uproar about 'the Panorama killing pan" is ignoring and taking attention away from whats REALLY going on, cause it's not 'just' Panorama doing it -




Panorama is what it is! Can we take the same 100 players with all the racks to play in Gypsy's backyard? Obviously not! Panorama serves it's purpose.

Many times during Carnival monday and tuesday a steel band get's sandwiched between DJ Trucks where you can't even hear yourself play. how encouraging is that?

How many of these politicians really make a visit to the panyards during the year? For those that don't know, Most bands have a functioning stageside that have a repertoire of atleast 20 tunes, some even boasting of 40 plus tunes ready and waiting for whatever gig comes their way. It's these same folks that never want to pay for the bands during the year. Some like Gypsy find that you should not pay for the services of the steel bands and come with the exposure talk. No one wants to put money in the steel bands.

They talk about foreigners taking away our culture, that's certainly not true, when in actuality, they are the ones holding the banner stronger and the highest for trinidad. In a foreign country they treat our top players like professionals and with tons more respect than in Trinidad. They host and promote our culture more than we trinidadians plus, their governments put money into their programs. How many schools in Trinidad and Tobago have a steel band program? I think our governments  can do way more than just complain. In fact how many schools and radio stations promote our culture? Calypso is dead! Let's talk about that! Calypso tents are barely functioning during carnival time. Most soca music lack any form of substance. What functions is there for calypso during the year in Trinidad? Most calypsonians have to travel outside of trinidad to the same foreigners we're chastising.

Again I will say this; The day Pantrinbago is represented by folks with vision and some form of business sense to find ways to fund their own events, all this garbage talk will stop.


Is Pan accepted and respected in it's own home? NOT ONE BIT!!!!



"Many times during Carnival monday and tuesday a steel band get's sandwiched between DJ Trucks where you can't even hear yourself play."


"They talk about foreigners taking away our culture, that's certainly not true, when in actuality, they are the ones holding the banner stronger and the highest for trinidad. In a foreign country they treat our top players like professionals and with tons more respect than in Trinidad. They host and promote our culture more than we trinidadians plus, their governments put money into their programs."



Even in the "little" carnival they have in Miami, somebody has some damn SENSE when they putting it together.... they CARE about the pan, and they organize the thing properly so everyone could participate -  the steel bands AND the mas with the trucks.

it may not be as big and bountiful as the real thing in TnT, but still - 5 steelbands came out this year. What they do is put the steel bands in their own section, they have them leading the whole parade down the road - well away from the trucks.  The thing was properly organized usee.


so if they can do this in foreign, then WHY the planners in trinidad cannot pay attention and do something similar, so they could have pan in the parade there too?  they should know better than ANY farrin place that you cannot sandwich pansides between the trucks, it just can't work.

But like they just don't seem to care ... or are too lazy, or something -  to organize the order of the bands on carnival Tuesday. then they all wondering why no pansides want to come on the road, and 'blame' the Panorama as if IT is the problem. *SMDH* - Deaf, dumb, and blind i tell ya.....

If they did something similar to Miami & have steelbands come down first, leading off on carnival tuesday...i bet they would find the pansides would be there.

Sad but very true Mr. Thomas



We, the fans and participants must be honest with ourselves and admit that we, and not panorama are part of the problem. We have the power to speak pan back into the carnival, but, do we really feel it and are we prepared to be unreasonable!

Panorama 2011 in limbo

By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Friday, December 17 2010

The “steelband war” between Pan Trinbago and the Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, took a heated turn yesterday when Pan Trinbago members called for the resignation of the minister if the performance fees for Panorama 2011 are not paid.

It was a charged atmosphere at the Communication Workers Union Hall in Port-of-Spain as steelpan players, as well as the executive members of Pan Trinbago, joined in an overwhelming chant of “if Gypsy say no; then Gypsy must go!” during the meeting. Tensions have been rising between the two parties over the past few weeks as the Association has accused the minister of saying pan players may not receive a $1,000 performance fee for Panorama 2011.

In response, the Association has threatened to boycott Panorama altogether for next year’s carnival season, until the minister clears the air by coming forward and telling the public his Ministry’s plans for Panorama, and the steelpan movement.

In his address to the crowd, Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz stressed that despite some media reports, the Association had not asked for more money, but merely a continuance of the same payments to players which had been agreed to by the previous government administration.

“Pan Trinbago has been watching the financial situation, and what has been going on in society today, and we decided to work at the same figure. We did not ask for an increase and the applications for prize money and payment for players were the same submissions that we have made for the past three years.

“Pan Trinbago has maintained from the start we were willing to work with any government for the betterment of the industry. We were silent on many issues over the past few months, but we cannot be silent any more. This is not a political meeting. This is about the culture of steelpan in Trinidad and Tobago. This is our culture,” Diaz said.


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Pan Trinbago is between a rock and a hard place. A boycott is a very good idea.  In spite of the pain it will cause for some, it will force Pan Trinbago to get its act together and find an alternative sustainable business model for the future.




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