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My Facebook response to the Newsday article, "Panmen to get their $1,000":
Panorama is not really a "competition", although it is advertised as such. It's really a commercial event that produces millions of dollars (immediately and residually) to enigmatic and intangible shareholders. It's a corporate business venture, that uses cheap labor (the panist) in the production, packaging and marketing of it's product.
Now, I'm thinking (conservatively), that a panist can spend a total of anywhere from 100 to 500 hours during the "Panorama Season". Doing the math: $1000/100 = $10; $1000/500 = $2. (So, a local panist for Panorama really makes about $2 to $10 per hour.) I'm hoping that's US dollars and not TTD, otherwise that $1000 would become $156.36 US, and you would be making between $0.31 (i.e. thirty-one cents) and $1.56 per hour! "It don't get much cheaper than that!" Except slavery. Does it?


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A whole lot of people just don't get it............only guys like Robbie Greenidge, Rudy two left Smith etc. and guys who tour Europe and Japan for instance, like Nestor Sullivan & Pamberi. know and has experienced what being paid for playing pan is about.....Panorama and payment for playing pan otherwise is a joke, there is no value placed on the players...... the arrangers, captains, tuners etc. oh yes they make money, not the sucker players
You're hitting the nail on the head, Tony!

Written like a true economist, George ... and I agree.  But some would argue that that is precisely the baptism by fire that art must go through in order to take root and be prolific -- as if the last 50 years wasn't baptism enough in societal rejection.


Peter Gray


Thanks, Peter. I agree with you; unfortunate but true.
Old pirates, yes, they rob I; Sold I to the merchant ships. (Marley, circa 1979)
NONE but OURSELVES can free our minds...FREEDOM is NEVER a given. Nor is it exclusive; ALL must be free, in order for ONE to be free.



(1) The first prize for panorama 2006 was $400,000.

(2) in 2007 there was a 150% increase.

(3) With the Small and Medium Panorama more pannist can earn extra money  .

(4) Young arrangers are now getting a chance to display their talents because of the one arranger per category rule.

(5) The Road Players were at the mercy of their respective Steel Orchestras for payment, now over 7,000 of both stage and road players are being guaranteed a fix amount.

(6) The prelims at the Panyards' means "money over glory". Playing at the bigyard is glory; playing at home is money.      I.E., the prelims cost of transportation is now null, the sales are now at home, hence 100% profit so bands could now pay. What am I getting at you ask? As I stated before "JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT"

1000TT$ for 3 months of hard work standing on one's feet is a joke. Panmen don't look on this as a salary or even a stipend.

It's just a token of appreciation for underrated effort to  keep the homefires of pan burning. A bonfire that is either directly or indirectly responsible for creating an entire industry and a unique creative endeavor that could financially support considerably more than the number of panmen and women that are currently 'employed' in the pan industry. If only those that are in the position to either make or break the movement could realize the implication and opportunity that is staring them in the face... if only they could see or recognize it.

Pan could be such a vibrant industry. Imagine... a unique instrument, a unique opportunity, a unique way of looking at musical performance...  anything new or unique is supposed to be worth its worth in gold and here we are talking about reducing the 'stipend' to pan players by 20%. It's a joke.

If pan were invented anywhere else in the world it would be an incredible money spinner. Everyone involved would be fabulously rich. What do we have? Thousands of paupers beating out note after note, night after night for love- not money. It's a real joke.

Don't tell me that in the cradle of creativity (don't even think of denying that the Caribbean is the most creative place in the world) we can't find a way to market, promote and exploit the greatest musical innovation and invention of the last century and make it work for us. It's really a joke.

And don't even begin to convince me that 50$ US a month is apt reward for being at the forefront of the greatest musical innovation of the century.

"Dat sound like one ah dem macrobiotic diets. Ah cyar eat dat food. Panmen and (eventually) panwomen are the ones who plant de corn, reap it, husk it, prepare it, cook it, and the government gets to decide how much they eat." Panists need to get off dependency habit, and ween themselves off the government and corporate sponsor pacifiers of social and class bondage. They also need to get off the "Panorama as the ONLY source of income" mindset. What is the "prize" for last place? Prize is exactly what it is, and I'm sure if they raised it to 150%, they found a way to increase revenues by 1500%. (I don't like arbitrary numbers and statistics.)  I also don't support the idea of having a music "competition" at different venues, because, of course, acoustics vary from place to place, and will affect how a steelband sounds. That creates advantages and disadvantages, and all participants should have an equal chance. If you refer to my "blueprint", you will see that I address the issue of how bands can use their "panyards" as point of sales throughout the year, not just during Panorama. I applaud the increases, but I am one who opts for tradition; the ritual of Panorama should be left alone, just like New Orleans' Mardi Gras, with its logistical traditions. What needs to change is the power structure; a change of ownership, and a shift toward autonomy. A reconstruction of the business model that puts the interest of the proletarian local panist into the equation. Thanks for the update, Ian. I sincerely appreciate it. (Like the thousands of "pounds" from the iron ball that it takes to sink a steel drum, our collective concentrated efforts will mold the pan industry into the shape we desire. I believe that. Yours In Pan,


George D. Goddard

I hope that I am addressing 'D George Goddard'  founder of the Steelband Association which is now Pan Trinbago. Let me start by thanking you for your contribution to the steelband and participation in discussions on 'When Steel Talks.' I have two questions for you, #1) if you were the President of Pantrinbago today what would you do to make steelbands  a player in carnival today like they were in the sixties and #2) what do you think about the PHI and the E Pan. Sir  I am yet to see the need for something that looks like a pan and sounds like a pan but is not a pan [PHI]. Why should we want a pan to sound like an organ, piano or any other instrument [E Pan].  If these inventors want to "Do something for Pan" let them find a way to let their instrument sound like a twelve bass. To a panman there is nothing like 100+  players jamming on panorama night.

George has a very good point.  Panmen should be looking at Panorama as a prize, like Mardi Gras winners.  They should be making money playing pan elsewhere.  Dependency on the government for income is not a good thing at all.
i don't remember the exact figures but i was shocked to find out how little the winning samba school in rio carnaval gets as its prize money. makes panorama seem like a jackpot


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