THE EDITOR: There is a notion by some that the steelpan is not a millennial/zoomer interest; that the steelband industry is dying a slow death. However, over the last fortnight I spent several evenings at Renegades's and Exodus's panyards. If I were to buy into the negative narratives of pan's dwindling influence on our culture I would have been shocked to see the support received for these bands.
In Tunapuna, just the notion of Exodus possibly playing its Panorama arrangement during practice is enough to bring out a crowd, filling the concrete stands and igniting the atmosphere with a partying spirit. Further west, a mere preliminary practice is enough to pack out entire blocks of Charlotte Street with locals and tourists desperately trying to get close to the steel orchestra.
The crowds have not been few nor have they been one-dimensional. Sitting down with my shark and fries, overlooking the Exodus arrangement, you can see young and old, local and otherwise, both genders and all races coming together for the one purpose of enjoying steelpan.
From my observations, this is not a strictly Exodus and Renegades thing. From Siparia to Tobago, the nation has come out to be part of the steelband atmosphere.
Therefore, it would be an exercise in bad faith or deception to peddle that steelpan is dying, that Panorama is dying. After an excellent competition in 2023 and solid preliminaries semi-finals and finals, Panorama is alive and well. Steel pan is flying high.
Steelpan is TT and TT clearly still loves its steelpan.
UWI, St Augustine