Friday, February 23, 2018

WeBeat ends with pan parade in the city


GREAT OPPORTUNITY: Steel orchestras will take to the streets of Port of Spain and environs tomorrow for parades to close the WeBeat festival and to also celebrate the City of Port of Spain.

Mark Fraser

Pan lovers will this weekend be as happy as the football fans who will be glued to their television sets as the 2014 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Brazil. While the best footballers in the world take to the various fields south of us in the World Cup, several of the greatest steel orchestras on the planet will tomorrow take to the streets of Port of Spain and environs for two steelband parades that will in fact merge into one event at some point. 

Before those two parades kick off tomorrow the Northern Region of Pan Trinbago will tonight host the first event in its “Pan on the Food Court” series at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. This takes place at the popular food court located opposite Memorial Park and NAPA where vendors have set up booths selling various foods such as bar-b-que, soups, doubles, roti, juices, punches and other local cuisine. 

The venue has become a very popular liming spot where even families come to enjoy the food and open air atmosphere. Pan Trinbago decided this would be the perfect space for the smaller steel orchestras to showcase their music.

According to chairman Gerard Mendez, “This series will not feature any of the big bands. What we are trying to do is give exposure to the small bands that are practising and need a place to show off their talent.” The performances will begin at 7.30 p.m. and tonight’s run will feature City Sun Valley and Musical Gems.

As for the parade, 18 steel orchestras will take to the Western Main Road, St James in an event that will bring to a close the 2014 edition of the WeBeat festival. Participating bands, the majority of which hail from the West, include PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, St James Tripolians, Carib Woodbrook Playboyz, Scrunters Pan Groove, Woodbrook Modernaires, White Oak Starlift, Humming Bird Pan Groove, Harvard Harps, Brimblers, Musical Gems, Power Stars and T’dad Pan Connoisseurs.

Other invited bands are Republic Bank Exodus, Old Tech Steel Orchestra, Rhapsody, Arima Golden Symphony and D’ Tunapuna Vibrations with La Creole Pan Groove stationary at the Amphitheatre.

Masqueraders of the Tradional Mas genre and Junior Mas band Zebapique Productions will add a Carnival atmosphere. On the invitation of the organisers, persons can don their costumes and participate in the parade.

While the format will be pan-on-the move, bands will stop in front of the St James Amphitheatre, where they will perform their tune of choice before heading to the city. Invited guests will take in the action from that vantage point.

This year, the St James Community Improvement Committee collaborated with the City of Port of Spain to host the parade in recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the Restoration of Municipal Rights. In this regard, 11 steel orchestras among them, CAL Invaders, RBC Royal Bank Redemption Sound Setters, Sangre Grande Cordettes, Worldwide Symphony, Harlem Syncopators, Tokyo, Blue Diamonds, Belmont Hi Larks and Nostrand Pan Symphony will simultaneously parade from Piccadilly Greens, up Charlotte Street, across Keate Street, down Frederick Street to Woodford Square.  

At the Square, patrons will be treated to a steelband concert featuring the steel orchestras performing alongside calypsonians. Witco Desperadoes will be joined by SuperBlue, while Black Stalin will perform alongside bpRenegades and Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove will be joined by Denyse Plummer. Scrunter will perform with the Trinidad All Stars. Showtime is 8 p.m.