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...On The Greens the party goes on despite pan music

By Michael Mondezie

A soca DJ sound clash punctuated by the inconvenience of steel pan music.
That best sums up the experience on The Greens at the National Panorama semi-final on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
The much publicised and criticised 70-foot pool in the new Pan Splash section of The Greens was under patronised as of 4.30 p.m. on Sunday. One lone swimmer was seen enjoying the vast expanse of water when the Express visited the private ultra-exclusive section.
Event co-ordinator Michelle Joseph, however, said they were expecting the $700-a-ticket venue to be filled by nightfall and defended its inclusion in Panorama.
“I stand by everything that we have said before. I keep saying over and over there was a time North Stand was a nuisance to pan purists and there they are 20 years later a as a staple of pan,” explained Joseph.
Thousands of feters, grouped into several corporate and party crews, revelled under the scorching mid-afternoon sun to their favourite Soca artistes and DJs. At a first glance it seemed a huge victory for Pan Trinbago, scoring that level of youth turn out for a national pan event. But that facade was too quickly unmasked when the house announcer silenced the soca factions to allow the steel to play.
Almost everyone on The Greens chose to utilise this time to top up their drink, visit the food stations and take bathroom breaks. No real attention was given to the steel pan music being broadcasted live on the house speakers present. This pattern persisted throughout the afternoon. In fact it seemed almost routine. People were actually anticipating these “pan breaks” to do the aforementioned.
Joseph, meanwhile, said innovations such as Pan Splash are essential if Panorama is to remain relevant in a competitive cultural market.
“Pan Trinbago has clearly stated that they have to be self-sustaining how else are they going to do it?” she asked.
“We have to teach people how to put the entertainment back into the pan without removing the entertainment from the pan. If you have a new young demographic that didn’t grow up with a pan culture you’ve got to get their attention somehow.”
When asked about the indifference of the young crowd to the actual music, she said, “They’re still respecting when the band on stage and getting quiet. No matter if they do something else when you hear something you can’t un-hear it.”
Soca artistes Machel Montano and Kees Dieffenthaller were scheduled to perform last night at Pan Splash. Both performers were carded to be joined on stage by live steel pan performers. See Page 4.
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