Not only were some of the outfits scanty at Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain, yesterday but so was attendance at the Greens, a live-music venue run by Pan Trinbago, north west of the “big stage” event of the National Panorama semi final for medium and large conventional steelbands.
The Greens’ sprinkling of patrons was in sharp contrast to the packed crowd at the North Stand and Grand Stand enjoying the national instrument.
A woman from East Trinidad, attending with her two children and other family members, told Newsday of her shock at the turnout on the Greens.
“Normally the Greens is packed and you can’t get in. I don’t know what happened this year,” she said. “Maybe it’ll pick up later.”
From 3 pm to 5 pm, Newsday noticed a slight increase in numbers, but the attendance remained sparse.
One attendee told Newsday she liked the convergence between soca and pan music this year. She explained that while soca artistes like Nailah Blackman were performing at the Greens, next door at Panorama many steelbands had this year chosen to play songs by young soca artistes, with the two art-forms thereby “coming together”. She said she was glad for the opportunity for musicians and panmen to earn a wage yesterday. She lauded the fact of the soca artistes being backed by a “live” band, rather than just recorded music.
However another woman told Newsday that having two rival events side by side made no sense. She said soca can be presented anywhere and at anytime year-round, but that yesterday was a special day for steelband which should not be diluted by competition from live soca music.
Among the artistes performing at the Greens yesterday were Blackman, Eddie Charles, Kerls, Abbi, Preddy, Voice, Patrice Roberts, Shal Marshall and the A-Team Band.
At Panorama, Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz complained to Newsday about the many advertising signs for Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) which dominated the advertising banners of rival airline Jet Blue. He said Pan Trinbago has an advertising contract with Jet Blue but not with CAL whose adverts he wondered at. “I don’t know how CAL’s signage is here. No-one cleared that with us, Pan Trinbago. We signed an agreement with Jet Blue.”