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Panorama semis too long

By Melissa Doughty Monday, January 25 2016

From as early as 8.30am the sounds of pan wafted through the City of Port-of-Spain. A line of small conventional bands lined what is commonly referred to as The Drag; awaiting their turn in the 2016 National Panorama semi-finals held yesterday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.

Vendors lined the upper part of Frederick Street anticipating the crowd expected to turn up for the event.

The annual musical event saw 20 small, 14 medium and 17 large bands competing for a coveted spot in the finals.

The Small Bands category got promptly underway at the scheduled 9am start time. The National Anthem was played at 9.15am. At 9.17am Pan Trinbago’s president Keith Diaz declared the 53rd Panorama competition open.

First small conventional band, La Horquetta Pan Groove struck its first chord at 9.22am, playing Johnny Douglas’ 1993 piece Raising Dust. As each band played another followed swiftly behind; not allowing for lull-time in between.

The bands played a range of songs, from last year’s winning Road March song “Like a Boss” by Machel Montano to Sparrow’s 1984 hit “Doh Back Back” to “Mash it Up” from 1989 by John “Jayson” Perez. Last year’s winner Arima Golden Symphony played “D Greatest Invention” by D’ Original De Fosto Himself. Golden Hands, a young south band, also paid tribute to late musician Raf Robertson who passed away last year.

But despite the quick movement, members of the audience wondered whether this year’s addition of the Small Band category on the same day as the Medium and Large was a very wise one.

One Grand Stand patron who gave his name as Trevor from Sangre Grande said, “I love pan but the Small Band inclusion in today’s activity, carrying the show a little too long. I enjoy it but I prefer the old system where the Small Band was on another day...It is wrapping up in the morning and we have to work.” Patsy Chang from San Fernando said, “I looked at the situation where they started at 9am and it is now 2.30pm, so if we are going from 9am to 2.30pm that is approximately five and a half hours.

What happens with the medium and large bands which will take longer to set up? It means we will probably have to go to about 2am again and to me that is a bit much.

I think we should have judged the small bands by themselves on another day.” In the North Stand, the crowd grew steadily. There were little complaints from patrons there. “I am enjoying the pan ...It is awesome but the only problem I have is the caution tape (used to section off corporate groups in North Stand). You don’t know if you paid for this section or that section, which should not be,” said Norva Bostic from Mausica.

Over at The Greens, by approximately 3pm, the usual crowd it would usually attract was not there. This left some of the attendees confused as to what was happening.

“Well thus far it is kind of dead.

I was thinking that it would have had more people at this point because at this time (after 2pm) it is kind of quiet. But I like the fact that they have a mixture of music of the DJs and a few rhythm section going already,” said Trent from Tacarigua.

Stephen Alexis, a regular attendee to The Greens, pondered whether or not the recession or time played a part in what appeared to be a low attendance. He said, “At this point, I am a little confused because at this time here (The Greens) would have been more crowded. I do not know if it was because Pan Trinbago only sent out tickets this week as far as I am concerned. At this hour there is hardly anyone in here...” Alexis said many of his friends opted to head back to the North Stand this year.



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