“Pan Splash” was a success and will be back in 2015!
This, yesterday from Michelle George, official spokesperson for the entities behind the concept area (Jus Juices, Aqua Fun Park and the Blue Waters Group of Companies), which was introduced as part of “The Greens” section during the National Panorama Semi-Finals on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
The competition saw 14 medium bands and 15 large bands performing before thousands of fans in the competition which is organised by Pan Trinbago. The move to have the “Pan Splash” which was reported exclusively in last Thursday’s Express, was heavily criticised by steelband arrangers as having nothing to do with pan and as being disrespectful to the national instrument.
Contacted by the Express yesterday, George said despite the negative publicity and public controversy surrounding the initiative, the organisers were encouraged by the interest shown and had already indicated their willingness to return with the initiative next year. She said:
“We suffered from a lot of bad publicity, which I think is more about the way some people feel about the phenomenon that is The Greens itself —and not necessarily the pool or the Pan Splash idea.
“However, based on the amount of interest, curiosity and questions that were generated, I have already been advised that all things being equal on the business and logistics end, Pan Splash will definitely be returning in 2015...and for the record, we broke even! We knew what we were getting into before hand and what numbers we needed in order to avoid a loss and we’re happy to have achieved our objectives safely and successfully.”
George expressed the belief that once the “novelty” of the initiative was gone, by next Panorama, the real issues would be addressed by all the detractors. She said:
“I think a lot of people used the pool as a forum to gripe about The Greens. We understood that coming into this and we took our licks, but to them I say: ‘What are you going to gripe about next year?’ We stood up bravely and took our blows, whilst people hid behind their issues and used the pool to create a bacchanal. Next year, you will have to find something else to hide behind though because this won’t be a novelty anymore.”
George thanked Pan Trinbago and all the relevant authorities for their support throughout the day and said the organisers remain “undaunted” after achieving a “standard that was unparalleled”.
“In spite of all the negative chatter and assumptions, we were able to deliver on everything that was promised our patrons and the only people using the pool yesterday were those willing to function under the rules and regulations. Many people wanted to use the facility but were unwilling to remove their make-up and lime gear etc., so they had to be denied access to the pool. We were very clear about the rules upfront and we stood by them throughout the day. Many children came and were allowed to swim for free and the only logistics issues we encountered were those that were beyond our immediate control.”
George added that live entertainment had also been provided as promised and said that area served as an additional source of interest to many patrons and visitors on the day. She said:
“We had performances from Rhapsody, K Rich, Preedy, Denise Belfon and a newcomer who asked to grace the stage on the day—Sharada—and she was quite good. The Attorney General came and spent a bit of time. Minister Bharath came and took photos with people and was very complimentary to our organisation. Dr Tim Gopeesingh as well... Lots of people were curious and came in… Machel came but did not perform because he had other obligations and ran out of time, but nevertheless, he still took pictures and signed autographs for his fans. Overall I’m proud of the product and even under pressure it was not compromised in anyway. Everything that was under our control, we provided. On behalf of the organisers, we must thank Pan Trinbago and Mr Serette, as well as Lyle and AMCO for supporting the initiative and working with us to ensure that everything ran smoothly.”
Speaking with the Express at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, Pan Trinbago’s vice-president Byron Serrette said, “I feel The Greens was successful, yes, Pan Splash was not well patronised but it was an experiment.
“I feel the bigger disrespect to pan was on a day when all this music was performed on stage, the media chose to focus on a pool.
“What was I to do with the thousands of young people who came to the Greens? The North Stand has its 9,000, the Grand Stand has its 3,000 and the Drag was filled to capacity. I created a space for them to be a part of the Savannah Party. Pan Trinbago will continue to strive to make the Panorama a better and safer event as time goes by,” Serrette said.
Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz said he was happy with the competition Sunday at the Savannah. “I am quite happy with how it turned out. We were finished by 11 p.m. I have no concerns coming out of Sunday’s event. A review will be discussed at our executive meeting. I want to thank the bands for their cooperation and effort,” Diaz said.
Diaz, however, declined to comment on the new Pan Splash all-inclusive section of The Greens.