Today is not a happy birthday or a Happy Divali for lead female vocalist of the Indian/Chutney crossover band Karma, Nisha Bissambhar.
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‘Party stand’ the place to be
Pan Semis, in a nutshell.
We are proud pan lovers. Pan supporters and all round #Pannites. Every year, our tradition is to be at the North Stand gate for 6 am. We start the pelau at 3 am, we pack the vehicle, we’re ready to rock and roll by 5.30 am. We set up, we take a selfie, we eat breakfast, we take our first drink and welcome a great day of music, love, friendship, rekindled bonds, laughter, sweet pan.
What was different this year? Let’s start with our arrival. We reached the Savannah, North Stand gate, unpacked our coolers, placed them by the gate were greeted by the most pleasant security guard. He greeted us, welcomed us, told us about his training at the Hyatt. Other guards came to chat, banter started. We were happy to share and swap stories. He took the time to explain to us about their glass bottle rules, and that at 4 pm, if you exit the North Stand, you will be required to purchase a new ticket. Fresh picong started. In hindsight, we understood the reason for this.
Next up, 8.55 am, a smiling NCC official strolled to the gate, loud cheers by the Babash lime and a crew of Clay bartenders, as the gates were opened on time. They checked our coolers, scanned our Sun Tixx Caribbean/VIA tickets (massive props for Sun Tixx on working with NLCB to provide such a well-executed solution for purchasing of Carnival event tickets!), scanned our persons and we were on our way to our annual Panorama semi-finals with great expectations of a fantastic day!
On reaching the staircase, western end of the Stand, to our great surprise, there were no illegal, unsightly caution tapes cordoning off “crew” areas, Applause! Standing ovation, Pan Trinbago! We set up our coolers, took the mandatory selfies and dived in to breakfast “part two!” The time was approximately 9.10 am!
Start to finish. We left the North Stand after Desperadoes played their winning arrangement. During the day, customary “relief breaks” required a stroll to the facilities, the cleanest, air-conditioned exec facilities we have ever witnessed in Panorama. Clean grounds maintained by Cepep, free-flowing areas all around the North Stand, exemplary TTPS presence. We felt safe. We felt appreciated for the $350 we spent.
Fifty-eight bands. Imagine, $350 gets us in to an event, where we can be with our friends, family, enjoy the best pan music from our islands, live, in a revelry that is just part of our DNA! It is a tremendous feat to get these bands co-ordinated, on and off the stage and keep the entertainment flowing as witnessed on Sunday.
Kudos to the organisers and logistics teams. Now, if you want to watch this from your sofa, your eyes will hurt, you will get sleepy, maybe the TV ads will bore you. Perhaps the broadcasters should up their game with the broadcast, engage their audience better.
Provide entertainment of their own, make their advertisers’ spend worthwhile for the viewers. Who knows? However, watch this awesome spectacle live? Well, we find it difficult to complain.
At about 6 pm there was an announcement that the North Stand had reached its capacity and that ticket holders awaiting entry, would be redirected to the Grand Stand—by any standard an upgrade—but we do understand that the “party stand” is the place to be, especially if you are meeting friends here.
Be that as it may, if the North Stand is full, I 100 per cent agree that the facility should not be jeopardised, Fire, HSSE, TTPS, whoever else needs to make that decision, made the right one.
Sorry, but if the North Stand fall down, nobody Jammin Still. Talk your talk all you want.
Finally, kudos to the organisers. Babash had a great time. Desperadoes won. Semis was amazing. Until finals!