It is growing increasingly likely that for the second straight year, there will be no new Panorama champion.
But PanTrinbago is still hoping that it can put on a show on Carnival Saturday to please pan lovers, and more importantly bring some much needed financial relief to the the pan community.
“It has been extremely difficult for us paying utility bills for the past few years without any form of income coming in. So as long as we manage this in the right way, it will be an opportunity to provide a form of income for our members so that they can take care of their immediate needs. It is real pressure real real pressure,” said Pan Trinbago President Beverly Ramsey-Moore in a telephone interview with the Business Guardian.
She explained the organisation presented proposals to the National Carnival Commission for safe zone events oriented for the pan enthusiasts across the country. Further discussions concerning these proposals were set to be held on Tuesday.
“Based on Prime Minister’s presentation re: Carnival on Saturday, we should know definitely what aspect of our proposal they have accepted, going forward for Carnival type activities. So, we look forward to those discussions. We are ready in the pan movement to participate and to present all that we have to offer and cautiously optimistic. We really look forward to those events, the three major events that we have presented for Single Pan, Medium, Small and Large bands,” she said.
Carnival has traditionally been the most profitable period for most pan yards across the country, but with restrictions in place, the Pan fraternity has seen their opportunities dry up.
The community also has the challenge of convincing a significant portion of its membership to get vaccinated ahead of these potential events, as other promoters also expressed concerns that low vaccination rates have made it difficult to include pan in their events.
“Yes, our events will be safe zone events. We have sent out questionnaires to our members so we can find out the status of players. The responses were very slow and we recognise that many of them have not been vaccinated,” confirmed Ramsey-Moore, but she has been urging the membership to address this so they can partake in the proposed Carnival events for 2022.
She said there will be some adjustments required, but expressed confidence that the pan fraternity will still be properly represented. Even if the shows are not competition driven as it traditionally has been.
“Even though you don’t have any judging as long as you have a number of a bands performing obviously in the supporters and in the pan community and pan lover’s mind it is the best of the best so it’s the best of the best. They will be performing the music, same music, you will be to be allowed to play a bump tune and a Carnival classic or Calypso classic. And I want to put on our grand show. One of the things that we still look forward to is having that Savannah party in a safe zone,” she said.
“The already vaccinated players and vaccinated audience can attend the show we propose to have, our Savannah party on that Carnival Saturday and that is one of the key events. Once the Savannah is declared a safe zone and infrastructure is in. We look forward to having that type of activity. And you know the players that come, they enjoy the music, they enjoy the vibe, they enjoy the camaraderie. That two plays a role outside of the competition, which is important.”
The adjustment will see reduced maximum numbers for each category so as to fall in line with necessary social distancing and safe zone guidelines.
“With respect to the events that we will be having, there will be no large bands numbers of 120 and so the numbers will not be the same in terms of the max for each category. So I don’t think that will affect us that much. In terms of what we have to offer. It will not be a competition. It will not be a competition for that too. So that too will not really pose a challenge for the bands to come with their stage shows,” she said.
Ramsey-Moore admitted however there would be some challenges concerning implementing the required measures to allow for pan activities to resume at pan yards. But she was also hopeful this could be worked out to ensure that there is income generation for PanTrinbago membership.
“The main challenge for us will be control and practice controls and one of the things that we have on the agenda is to meet with all our band leaders.We are going to have to have really strict protocols, all the protocols, and we are going to ensure that all regions provide the kind of support to monitor what goes on at Pan yards with respect to the numbers. And with respect to gatherings we are not playing with our lives,” she said, as she recognised that the reality was this is an adjustment that would be required given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic at this stage.
“As much as we know that it is not all doom and gloom during this time. We have to ensure that we observe all the protocols because the safety of our members is our priority. But at the same time we understand that life must go on now we have not raised any revenue for bands for the past two years. And anything that can happen to help us to meet our monthly expenses is welcomed,” she said, pointing out that she had her own struggles keeping up with bill payments for her band Katzenjammers.
This pressure has lead to some tension as PanTrinbago is awaiting word, or rather confirmation that the events can go forward. She stressed it was important for activities to return for the entertainment sector sooner rather than later, but safely as well.
“The steel pan community has been really hampered greatly by the pandemic we depend on large crowds. We are part of the live music industry and that has taken a tumble. Nevertheless, we know that this too shall pass and we really look forward to having these activities in a safe zone taking into consideration and taking care with respect to the necessary protocols because as I mentioned before, saving life is your priority.
“We really, really look forward to see a concrete decision because everything is still up in the air,” she said,”But at the end of the day, we have to ensure that no one dies so we have to ensure that everyone is safe and we are encouraging our members to get vaccinated.”
Ramsey-Moore also confirmed that PanTrinbago is also looking beyond Carnival to ensure that there are activities for pan players after the event. She said the organisation was in negotiations with stakeholders and private sector companies to hold virtual events after the “Carnival” season ends.