In 1964 the first steelpan soloist competition was held in Trinidad. This competition showcased the contestants as being the very best of the pan players. Each steelband had someone who was considered extremely competent and helped to push their steelband to the limits.

During the 1980's some of these talented players began to sell their skills to rival steelbands. This became more noticeable at Panorama. The finals would be awash with pannists playing for several steel orchestras. Such was the level of their skills, they could learn all of the parts of a tune for each steel orchestra in a very short time. They would then perform as though they were a fully fledged band member, hence the name ‘crackshot’.

In 2005, the crackshot took centre stage at Panorama because many of the steel orchestras did not have the minimum number of players required to enter the competition. This led to an increase of crackshots performing in the early stages of the competition so as to take advantage of the situation. This also led to crackshots increasing the fees for any steel orchestra that progressed into the semi-finals and finals of Panorama.

What is the real meaning of a ‘crackshot’?

To some a crackshot is the ultimate pan player.

They have a profound understanding of how to play each instrument in the steelpan family as well as the numerous variations of each type of instrument within the family.

They have a profound understanding of and ability to play non-Panorama music genres.

They do not necessarily sell their skills to other steelbands and therefore can be seen as a loyal steelband member who can play all parts of a tune on any pan as and when required.

Do you know of any crackshot?