PANNISTS are in an 11th-hour rush to get vaccinated to meet a deadline to play at the Taste of Panorama main event – a designated "safe zone" – on February 26.
Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore told Newsday on Tuesday, "Many of our players are not vaccinated. This event is causing a number of them to hustle to get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) so they can be on stage on February 26."
Ramsey-Moore said steelbands will participate in two events in Trinidad including a retro-style event for single-pan and small steelbands coupled with traditional mas characters on February 19 at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. A big pan "shoot-out" event on February 26 is also scheduled for the Savannah.
However some uncertainty hangs over a pan event planned for Tobago owing to high vaccine hesitancy on the island, including among pannists, she said.
"We are awaiting a response."
Meanwhile, Ramsey-Moore said nightly registration of bands will continue up until Wednesday, but so far all of Trinidad's 15 large bands have indicated they will participate. These include Exodus, Desperadoes, Skiffle Bunch, Fonclaire and All Stars.
While admitting the size of each band may have to be reduced because of players who are unvaccinated, she said, "We don't have much of a challenge. We will have the required numbers to go to the Savannah to put on a show."
She said medium-sized bands will also participate in the February 26 show.
"I did a walk through of the venue. It looks great, it feels great. It'll be a fantastic show."
While it is all a challenge to pull off, she said she was "very excited" about the upcoming shows.
Newsday asked if the $30 million budget for the National Carnival Commission (NCC) was enough from Pan Trinbago's viewpoint.
Ramsey-Moore, an NCC member, vowed, "I'll ensure no band loses out."
With a $25,000 cash injection just to mobilise an average steelband, she said each band economically benefits its community, benefiting not just players but also tuners, arrangers, welders, graphic designers, truckers, trailer men, and even those who powerwash the panyards and pan racks.
"You're talking about the downstream. It provides business for a number of people in the community."
Ramsey-Moore said bands will receive both a mobilisation fee and an appearance fee. Those pannists playing in the February 26 event will each receive a performance fee, she assured.
"I'm excited about it. Yes, of course there is covid but it is not all doom and gloom.
"We just have to take care and be safe. You can't jump up and bounce up and wine up, but you can sit and enjoy sweet pan music, the sweetest pan in the world."