THOUSANDS of pan lovers flocked to the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain yesterday to get a dose of sweet steelpan music during the long anticipated National Panorama medium and large band semi-finals.
It was clear from early on in the competition the event was going to be one bursting with energetic performances, as the bands, one by one, sought to get the judges approval to move one step further in taking home handsome financial prizes.
Winners in the large band category are competing for $1 million, while those in the medium band segment are competing for $600,000. In yesterday’s competition there were 14 competitors in the medium band category and 15 large bands.
At 12.20 p.m. the first of the competitors in the medium band category, Courts Sound Specialist, took to the stage performing Russell Cadogan’s “Poison”, followed by Pan Elders and their rendition of Lord Nelson’s “All Ah We Is One Family”. The competition was due to begin at noon.
During the early part of the competition, patrons slowly but steadily trickled into the location. Most of the North Stand remained empty during the first hour or so, but by 3 p.m. the stand was almost packed to capacity.
Some pan lovers who did not have tickets to enter the savannah gathered on the drag to get a view of the proceedings.
Ticket scalpers roamed the savannah looking for potential ticket buyers who wanted to attend the competition.
One of the artistes whose music seemed to be a favourite in the medium band category was David Rudder. Four of the bands selected Rudder’s music as their choice in the competition.
Defending champs NLCB Buccooneers, Melodians, Petrotrin Hatters and NGC Steel Xplosion all selected his music. They played their rendition of “Madness”, “The Hammer”, “2013” and “Dust in Dey Face” respectively.
Melodians however, went beyond the eight-minute time limited allowed to the bands by 12 seconds. The bands were judged on four criteria: arrangement, general performance, tone and rhythm. By 4.30 p.m. however the medium bands had all performed and it was the turn of the 15 large steelbands to perform. First up was Caribbean Airlines Invaders with “Jam It”. The competition was expected to go late into the night.