Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 13th 2017 Contents SHALIZA HASSANALI
Pan lovers were at the mercy of
scalpers at the Queen's Park Sa-
vannah yesterday after there was
a temporary shortage of tickets at
In addition to tickets not being avail-
able, the semi-finaljudging of the Pan-
orama steel band competitions which
was scheduled to start at 9 am, kicked
off 35 minutes late, because a police
officer refused to allow the judges to
enter the event.
Chairman of the National Carni-
val Commission Kenny De Silva said
yesterday that there were no tickets
available at the savannah's booths be-
fore the show started due to "a bit of
misunderstanding among all parties."
This led to a group of scalpers selling
tickets at black market prices.
Grand Stand tickets which the NCC
sold for $200 were sold by scalpers for
$300, while North Stand which was
priced at $350 went for $400.
Last week, Pan Trinbago took the
NCC to court over its decision to col-
lect gate receipts for the competition.
On Thursday, Pan Trinbago and
the NCC agreed to a compromise for
collection of revenue from ticket sales
in this year's Panorama competition.
This decision was during a hearing of
Pan Trinbago's judicial review lawsuit
Culture and the Arts Minister Nyan
Gadsby-Dolly's to allow NCC to collect
the gate receipts from the competition.
In turn, NCC agreed to continue to
collect revenues through its ticketing
agent and to place all proceeds in es-
crow until the substantive lawsuit is
Yesterday, De Silva admitted NCC
was faced with a temporary ticket
problem while he condemned the
scalpers' illegal operations.
"We will leave the protective ser-
vices to deal with those scalpers. We
can't legislate the law. It has to be the
relevant agencies," De Silva said.
Although the scalpers have been
making a killing on jacked up ticket
prices for years, De Silva said they
can't seem to get rid of them.
"They are becoming more and more
difficult," De Silva said.
By 5 pm, De Silva said North Stand
was 90 per cent filled, which translated
to 7,000 patrons.
The Grand Stand, he said, was
"sparse" which was not unusual.
De Silva said NCC was expected to
collect "a couple millions dollars" from
"This is one of the biggest crowds I
have been seen in years. As the night
progresses it would get bigger as people
are waiting for the large band category.
We have done very well. It is a good
Panorama semi-finals," De Silva said.
Yesterday, acting president of Pan
Trinbago Richard Forteau refused
to comment on the unavailability of
tickets, saying that their organisation
had neither printed nor controlled the
sale of tickets.
"That is NCC's role. I don't know
what went wrong. That is a question
you should ask the NCC. That is out
of our hands,"
Questioned about the 35-minute
delay, Forteau complained that this
was caused by a police officer who did
not want to move a barrier inside the
savannah to allow the adjudicators in.
"So this kept the competition back
for a half an hour or so," he said.
While thejudges were debarred from
gaining entry, Fascinators Pan Sym-
phony the first small band to play wait-
ed patiently on stage in the blistering
sun until the matter was sorted out.
"Even though we got off to a late
start we will make up for it. We will
ensure that the 58 small, medium and
large bands flow smoothly today. We
don't anticipate any issues going for-
Forteau said he expected the compe-
tition to conclude by 1.30 this morning,
while many felt that this time would
not be achieved since it took four small
bands one hour to cross the stage.
At 3 pm only 20 bands had played for
the judges. The medium bands were
took the stage shortly after 5 pm.
At 6.30 pm the North Stand was
filled to capacity and patrons were
advised to move to the Grand Stand
to ensure the safety of all.
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Pan fever takes over Savannah posse
The North Stand at theQueen's
Park Savannah was packed to
capacity with pan enthusiasts
and tourists by 6 pm yesterday
and patrons were being advised
to head over to the Grand Stand.
Thousands came out came hear the
melodic sounds of 58 small, medium
and large steel bands competing in
the Panorama semifinals.
There was no pan party on the
Greens this year.
Toting a cooler of alcoholic drinks
on his shoulder, American national
Jeff Baldwin, who is no stranger to
our shores, said what drew him to
Trinidad was Panorama.
"I came here in 2007 after hearing
about your greatest show on earth.
I played mas that year, but what at-
tracted my attention was your pan...
your national instrument. It has an
infectious beat," Baldwin said, while
listening to small band Laventille Ser-
enaders on stage.
Since then, Baldwin has been a
regular visitor to the North Stand,
which he described as a big party with
rhythm sections competing against
one another and people having a good
"I just love the vibes. You can't
get this no where else in the world,"
Baldwin said with conviction, while
guzzling a Carib beer to quench his
Baldwin comes to T&T for the
semifinals and finals of the pan com-
petition. He was able to inveigle one
of his friends Bob Gobart, a German,
to join him this year.
"He's (Gobart) is a newcomer, but
he is already smitten by what he is
hearing on stage. I have no doubt he
will come back next year," Baldwin
First-time visitor Gail Ford, of Bar-
bados, who was liming near Pan Pos-
se 2017 sponsored by Carib Brewery
said she was not expecting so much
noise from the pan.
"I got a rude awakening when I
came here. I know I will get a head-
ache with the noise and drinks...but
I going to continue jamming still,"
Trinidadian Devon Butler who was
surrounded by friends near the NLCB
Posse said despite the downturn in
the economy he was amazed at the
crowd turn out.
"I thought less people would have
been here today but this shows that
Trinis love their Carnival. Nothing
could stop them. Trinis just love to
fete. You can't stop that. It in their
blood," Butler said.
Butler's friend Dave Seepersad, of
Marabella, shook his head in agree-
ment, saying that he came to free up
"I don't usually go to the all inclu-
sive fetes for Carnival. This is where I
does spend my money. If I can't get a
North Stand ticket I not going Grand
Jennifer Patter, of San Juan, who
described herself as pan lover said
even though the Government had
urged citizens to tighten the belts, it
was evident that no one was taking
heed of that advice.
"Recession or not people going
Panorama. I already put aside my
money to buy my ticket for the fi-
nals," Patter said. ---SH
Frontline players from Fusion Steel Orchestra during their performance of Magic
Drum in the medium band category during the National Panorama semi-finals at
the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. yesterday PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Scalpers profit from confusion
Ticket shortage at pan semis
Frontline players from Tobago Pan-Thers during their rendition of Cheers To Life in the small band category during
the National Panorama semi-finals at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday PHOTO: ANTHONY
Of the 28 large and medium bands that
competed at the Panorama semi finals
yesterday only 20 (10 in each category)
will move on to the finals at the Queen's
Park Savannah on February 25.
In the small band category, of the 30
that crossed the stage in the semis, only
14 will make it into the National Small
Conventional Band Finals to be held at
6 pm at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on
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