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Plan to bring world for pan conference

38 steelbands invited for next year’s event
Published: 
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Web Designer Aaron Besson gives an overview of the International Conference and Panorama’s (ICP) Web site during the launch of the ICP at Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

In an effort to establish T&T as the home of the steelpan and showcase the national instrument on the world stage, Pan Trinbago will host a steelband conference next August, which will see 38 steelbands from across the globe converge at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Acting Pan Trinbago president Bryon Serrette spoke of the plans for the inaugural conference yesterday, following the launch of the International Conference and Panorama (ICP) Web site at the Central Bank Auditorium, Eric Williams Plaza, Port-of-Spain.

Serrette said the estimated cost of the conference was $25 million. And while the pan body is currently in talks to solicit funds from Government and the private sector, Serrette said they have embarked on a number of fund-raising initiatives aimed at whipping up support from corporate sponsors. The Web site will facilitate the smooth registration for visiting delegates, as well as provide an interactive experience for users who can browse photo galleries, learn about local pan icons and glean information about related activities.

Scheduled to be held from August 5 to 7, 2015, the competition will showcase the formal history of the steelpan, its creation and evolution, the economic and industrial development and subsequent impact. Revealing that they were currently in the process of negotiating with steelbands around the world to attend the conference, Serrette said the Web site would ensure a “smoother” flow of information and was one of the first steps in that process.

Asked where the idea for the conference had originated, Serrette explained that Pan Trinbago hosted the Panorama competition yearly, which was an integral part of the carnival landscape, hence they were seeking to “establish T&T as the home of pan the world over and set up a world organisation for pan here, so what better way than to bring the steelpan playing world here.”

Stating that they had already met with representatives from the national airline carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL), the Ministry of Tourism and the hoteliers association, Serrette said another round of meetings would take place soon to finalise packages, comprising airfare and accommodations. “They are very much interested in the project,” Serrette assured. He added that each team participating in the competition would be limited to 60 players, with 75 per cent of them required to be nationals of their home country.

The remaining 25 per cent can be foreign players, selected from anywhere in the world. Serrette said: “We have done that to level the playing field because some of our steelbands perform with 100 and 120 players sometimes. In this way, no steelband coming from any part of the world will feel overwhelmed.” The steelband conference will be held every four years and Serrette hopes it will attain the same stature of other competitions, such as the World Cup and Olympics.

During her opening remarks, head of the ICP secretariat, retired permanent secretary Roslyn Khan-Cummings, said the steelpan had the potential to “become the primary non-energy export with its natural linkages to tourism, manufacturing, community development and entertainment industries.”