The Pan Association is hoping that despite not staging the Panorama steel band competition since 2019, the event will return next year better than ever.
On Thursday, Cabinet confirmed that the popular contest – a long-time Carnival staple – will not be held during this year’s festivities despite the government pledging to provide resources to participating bands.
Pan Association spokesman Robin Margetson explained that there are a number of insurmountable hurdles preventing the event taking place this summer.
“I think March or early April, we were already heading towards a no Panorama situation. The timing was still possible to have a Panorama then, but it would have been difficult because coming out of the pandemic the bands had not been playing out at hotels as often, so they would not have been generating that steady stream of income.
“They have their finances heading into a Panorama. Plus, half the bands still remain unsponsored. So, it’s not like they have a sponsor that they could link with to cushion the expenses,” Margetson explained.
He added that even beyond the financial constraints, the mental state of the players was also a factor in the final decision.
Margetson went on to say that the belief circulating in some quarters that the cancellation of Panorama arose due to a rift between the Pan Association and the government is also not true.
The pan artform had been enjoying a major resurgence prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and while Margetson admits that the long pause may impact participation and support, he believes enough is being done to keep interest high amongst players.
“All the activities that we hope to roll out should be able to include a number of them. Even though there is no Panorama, we should have room for them on the road.
“The various concerts that we will have between now and then, we hope to involve as many of them as possible to keep their interest, plus work on the new persons and make sure we get them ready so that if we have to lose anybody, hopefully we will have enough time to train others to pick up that slack,” he said.
The Pan Association has planned a series of events beginning on June 25 with ‘Pan D Gardens’ in the scenic Botanical Gardens.
This fundraising event is in aid of medical support for pan icons Victor ‘Babu’ Samuel and Devon Batchelor.
There will also be a pan show where local steel bands will perform on the Sunday night prior to Monday J’ouvert at the Antigua Recreation Grounds, as well as a handful of other events.