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Has anything changed eleven years later? -- Revisited - The Demise of the Steelband Panorama - and the Possible Solution by Nestor Sullivan

by Nestor Sullivan 

Global - This year, 2010, steelbands in England participating in the Panorama at the Notting Hill Carnival, played for free. That is, the bands received no monies for appearance fees or for prizes. It is reported that this was due to the economic melt-down now being experienced in that country.

According to Nestor Sullivan, manager of Trinidad and Tobago’s Pamberi Steel Orchestra, all the territories where an annual steelband Panorama is held, tend to follow the lead of Trinidad and Tobago, whose nationals dominate the technical and related sides of most of the events. The country’s nationals have transported the Panorama to territories around the world, creating a potential global industry in the process. Nonetheless, contends Sullivan, we are now experiencing the rapid demise of the Panorama, the biggest event on global steelband calendars.

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Goslet Piper, Panorama is such a bright light, it blinds us to its negative side effects.

Panorama has taken the pan out of Carnival. The only way for pan to have an impact at Carnival time is to move the panorama away from carnival, to a different time of year (in T&T).

Panorama has grown to the point where it can sustain itself without Carnival.

A Panorama festival at a different time of year should be a guaranteed success, and would allow the steelbands to devote their energies to participating fully in the carnival.

Bands should be able to cover a musical repertoire of enough tunes to compete with the DJ's. They may even re-focus on bringing out mas bands etc., without devoting all their time and energy to Panorama.

Masqueraders would support the steelbands if they were confident that they would provide a variety of music to keep them jumping.

Panmen are ingenious. They will figure new and better ways to present their music on the road to compete with the DJ's.

Bands could even compete with the DJ's by giving them a taste of their own medicine. Have their own powerful DJ systems.

Playing only pan music, of course.

But, hey I'm just dreaming.
glenroy you are not dreaming the first ever point fortin borough day did not have many bands but it was all about the pan and it was good next year every body wanted to be there it was out of carnival competition was just for show
Greetings Nestor some good ideas also some contradictions acknowledging that pan officials need training does the capacity to fulfill most of you initiatives reside within the organization or should a committee of forward thinking panmen like yourself be formed to treat with the issues you raised. Before I am accused of casting aspersions of the capacity of the officials please note it is a question and not a statement about the available resources, again nestor some very pertinent information and suggestions

PS > Somewhere in there the Birdsong Model for the development on the local steelband industry should be looked at with a view to its expanding the program.

Pan Man For Progress
Lennie ( STRETCH ) Tyson
Well done Nestor, a well thought out article and well articulated, also the contributions by the other distinguished and concerned writers. The solutions are also appropriate, of course there could be more. I would like to add my two bits.The new approach generally has to be based on Education. Beginning with our individual selves, bands, organizations and countries.We need to bring into our bands and organizations people who are professional in marketing and promotions. I am well aware of the situation in Trinidad & Tobago and Canada so my response will be based on these two places. Though Trinidad by far is doing more than any other country with the proposed 2 million package for 2011 panorama 1st prize. one can just put that into perspective......The new governmnet on the political platform announced that Panorama, Calypso, Soca, and Chutney winners will all receive a 2 miilion first prize.( I was in T&T when that announcement was made).....but please look deeper into that statement......Pan has been around for more than 60 years, Calypso a bit more than that ...Soca and Chutney less than two decades...yet they all get the same.......Pan is about 120 players ,...... Calypso, Soca, Chutney one individual. ....yet they all get the same. Yes we have to be grateful for receiving a 2 million dollar purse where as Nottinghill got "Zero" in 2010 and Toronto got just "Bragging Rights". and other caribbean islands a "No Show" but rightly pointed out unless the Pan organization in T&T does not rise to the occassion to spell out the facts...but they also need support from not only all Trinbagonians but from all of us nationals in the diaspora. I have said it before though I am not the first to say it but I will say it loudly again.... "WE NEED A MINISTRY EXCLUSIVELY FOR PAN" ......This is the only way that we can have our own agenda and our own budget to not only influence Pan in T&T but also the Caribbean and the rest of the world so join me and let us promote and market our T&T government for a ..."MINISTRY OF PAN" .....Let our thinking heads in the diaspora and back home come up with the pros and cons as to why ...we must today have our exclusive "Ministry for Pan"...some definite food for thought. If need be with all of you other Steelpan Activist like myself, I wish to propose that we form an organization dedicated for the realization of influencing the T&T Government of the day of the dire need of establishing a "MINISTRY FOR THE STEELPAN"...Economics drives everything, let us show the potential for revenue with the Pan internationally. Let us spread the steelpan education in all the public schools curicullum of the world. this would generate revenue, interest, and secure the pan culture for the future...ONLY AN EXCLUSIVE STEELPAN MINISTRY will be able to influence such a global change...but this is what is needed brothers & sisters of this Global Pan Movement ...I rest my case for the moment.
Salah you raised some very significant points. I hope people are not taken up with the 2 million dollar sound tag. It is an insult to the pan community to raise all the prize monies across the board to 2 million. It is simply a very clever way to disguise another agenda. This is something something I saw instantly when they first put it out. The crazy percentages of increase per genre and 'field' I worked out then are somewhere around on this board

Steel Pan playing has always been a grass roots activity. I am saddened by the economics around the world, however this is ONLY an expected setback. Its the kids we need to focus on now. Jim Rowland, 75 year young student of Hameed Shaqq.
what is needed to keep the bands playing after Panorama is more ways for the bands to make money Labour day carnival Monday or Tuesday if a band no that it can come on the road and make$ 50.000 to $ 100.000 dollars i bet you a lot of bands will be on the road no money few bands more money more bands
Mr. Sullivan

Your points are valid, but unless you, as the manager of Pamberi Steel Orchestra, is prepared to say that you and your organization will boycott Trinidad and Tobago's panorama in support of these other countries until they get proper recompense- this is just a whole lot of noise. Sorry, I'm not trying to be negative but we have to keep it real.
Have anybody on this page ever wondered if those young people who play in some of those bands ever get paid in the first place? I could tell you some stories about that.
Steelbands in England possibly know exactly why they played for free as when the money was good it was good. No one will advocate the boycutting on any Panorama until we have the right facts.
PANORAMA was the the mainstay of carnival for most of the years, but big mas as big buisness has wiped PAN out of CARNIVAL not Panorama. Not one of those bands who charge upwards of $3000n for a costume will hire a pan side they say that the "Masqueraders do not like it" they prefer the jam and wine of the big trucks
. Panorama will be MURDERED outside carnival as far as the tourists are concerned and people who make the pilgrimage to play pan. never mind about it being killed by carnival.
What do we say to the Pan fraternity in England do something all year round and then go to the arts council with something to speak about. If the arts council gets minimal funding then the money must be shared among the stake holders of carnival. No one is doing Pan down in England times are hard. I WILL NEVER BOYCOT PANORAMA for any of the reasons stated here. Let me inform all I attend Panoramas. Some bands still will not win whatever time of the year Panorama is held. There are also much better reasons for holding Panorama outside Carnival.
Greetings All,
I think its unfair to Nestor to be presented with such a question when the scenario for such action is not set. It then becomes a trap to determine that he is irrational. However, if all the steelband associations were under one head or had interlocking boards or committees, then we can see where and how such support could be rationalized and legitamized. And then the question will be reasonable and proper. So let's establish those linkages, and we would not need to talk down a brother or sister in seeking a solution for this problem. We must first come together then stay together. Unity, Reasoning and Understanding. Ras Rico I Ras Tafari
The question to Nestor Sullivan is very fair. Mr.Sullivan opened himself to such a question when he said that Pan Trinbago could play a leading role in the other panorama regions. Mr. Sullivan is a member of Pan Trinbago. Mr. Sullivan should answer the question.
Panorama has grown with Carnival. to have Panorama outside of Carnival is a very foolish thought that should never be entertained.The evolution of the steelband and Panorama became what it is now because of Carnival, its the most heralded event of the Carnival season, a lot of foreigners come toT&T mainly because of Panorama. Our Country needs tourists at Carnival, and Panorama draws them to land of the Panorama, the Land of the Steelband. This is our thing, if other Countries cant handle their Panorama, thats not our affair. We showed them the way, so if they are lost now that their affair. We cant sacrifice our Culture so that they can have a smooth running Panorama. 'No Way'!


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