The North Park at the Queen’s Park Savannah got mixed reviews from patrons at yesterday’s National Panorama semi-finals for medium and large bands. The facilitieswere introduced this year by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) in an effort to increase profitability at Carnival events.
Some patrons complained about the lack of information on the new rules and policies at the venue.
Tony Griffith, organiser of a rhythm section, said when he and other organisers arrived at the Savannah to set up the area to be occupied by their group or “posse” they met locked gates. When they were eventually let in, they were given confusing information about whether bring coolers, glass bottles, tables, tents and other party supplies would be allowed as was traditionally done at the North Stand.
“While we applaud the Government for the little changes, we thought they could have structured it better and given people more information on how this whole thing really laid out,” Griffith said.
He said the confusion over the official policy for the North Park may have contributed to the lower than average crowds in that area at the start of the competition. However, he admitted that the crowds usually increases later in the evening.
“We thought as we are paying more money now we would have gotten more value for our money, but it did not work out that way,” he said.
Trade unionist Joseph Remy also expressed concern about the area.
“While I understand the economic circumstances, I still think a lot more could be done to make here more convenient and to allow people to enjoy the North Stand atmosphere. It is not like it use to be,” he said.
Some patrons did not seem too bothered and instead chose to explore the new surroundings, which consists of three large viewing platforms within an enclosed courtyard in the space where the North Stand was previously erected.
“Change is inevitable. People need to stop being so difficult and try to enjoy themselves,” one man said.
The concerns about the location were acknowledged by Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsay-Moore who said in a brief interview with Guardian Mediathat the measure preventing patrons from setting up tables on the viewing platforms was introduced to ensure they could safely accommodate all patrons. She said after minor miscommunication earlier in the day, the issue was rectified.
In her speech before the start of the competition, Ramsey-Moore said this year’s Panorama exemplified Pan Trinbago’s thrust to bring “prosperity to pan”.
“Our mission is to inspire and empower our members to create wealth, whether it be money or social wealth,” she said.
Yesterday’s competition began promptly at its 1 pm scheduled start, with minimum delays while bands set up and dismantled for their performance.
While there were issues in the North Park area, the Grand Stand attracted its loyal following of steel pan enthusiast who were more interested in the performances than the party-like atmosphere in other parts of the venue
The competition, which had the theme Celebrating Our Cultural Icons, was in honour of pan arranger Ken “Professor” Philmore and calypsonians The Mighty Shadow (Winston Bailey) and The Original De Fosto Himself (Winston Scarborough) who died last year.
In all, 14 medium bands and 14 large bands performed before the judges vying for a place in the Panorama finals on March 2.
- by Derek Achong