TOBAGO'S steelbands will take centre stage tonight as the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) hosts its Pan Champs competition at the Dwight Yorke Stadium Car Park, Bacolet.
The eagerly-anticipated event, a highlight of the island's Carnival celebrations, is expected to begin at 7 pm and will feature some 19 bands in three categories: single pan, small conventional band and large band.
Of the 19 bands, five are expected to perform in the single pan category. They are Pan Fanatics (Hookin Meh); Hope Pan Groovers (Rag Storm); Metro Stars (Pan By Storm); Royal Palm Illusion (Pan By Storm) and Natural Mystic (Hold Yuh Bam Bam).
Performing in the small conventional band category are: Our Boys (Hulk); T&TEC New East Side Dimension (Hello); Uptown Fascinators (Hulk); Steel Sensations (Gih Dem Tempo); C&B Crown Cordaans (Sweet Fuh Days); Alpha Pan Pioneers (Calling Meh); West Side Symphony (Bacchanal); Tobago Pan-Thers (Sweet Fuh Days); and Plymouth Bethesda Steel Sensation (Pan In A Minor).
NLCB Buccooneers, who narrowly missed a spot in the final of the Panorama competition on March 2, will perform Madness in the large band category.
The other bands in this category are: Carib Dixieland (Pan On Fire); Katzenjammers (Stranger); NGC Steel Xplosion (Sing In She Party); and RBC Redemption Sound Setters (Iron Love).
Metro Stars (single pan band), Our Boys (small conventional band) and Katzenjammers (large conventional bands) will defend their respective titles.
Salisha James, head of Pan Trinbago, Tobago, told Newsday "slight adjustments" have been made to the prize structure to accommodate the increase in participating bands. All steelbands will compete for cash prizes and the THA challenge trophies.
Tobago's junior bands will be the focus of attention on Monday at the Junior Panorama competition at Goodwood High School. Starting time is 9 am.