In 2013, we celebrated 50 years of the Trinidad and Tobago Steelband Competition known as Panorama.
Panorama was introduced in February 1963 by The National Association of Trinidad and Tobago Steelbandsmen (NATTS, now Pan Trinbago). It was known then as The Best Road March Steelband Competition. In the same year, 21 out of 24 registered steelbands appeared on stage and were judged by a panel of trained musicians.
However, the Best Road Steelband Competition was not the first steelband competition to be held, nor was it the only steelband competition that was held at this time. The main competitions were as follows:
- In the North, the Best Road Steelband Competition was held on Sunday 17 February 1963 at the Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain under NATTS
- It was won by Pan Am North Stars playing Dan is Man (in the Van) by Slinger Francisco, arranged by Anthony Williams
- In the South, the Best Road Steelband Competition was held on Monday 18 February 1963 at the Naprarimam Bowl, San Fernando, under the Southern Carnival Improvement Committee
- It was won by Southern Marines playing The Road by Aldwyn Roberts
- In Tobago, the Tobago Panorama was held at Shaw Park, Scarborough, February 1963
- It was won by Esso Wonder Harps playing Kennedy by Slinger Fransico
- The first official Bomb competition was held on J’Ouvert morning, February 1963
- It was won by Morvant Ebonites playing Slaugther on the 10th Avenue
- The first nationwide Anniversary Independence Steelband Festival competition was held in August 1963
- It was won by Crossfire playing Juliana Castillana
- Ralph Ryce won the Ping-pong competition playing People of the Islands by Umilta McShines
From all the Competitions, the Best Road March Competition (NATTS) was chosen as the forerunner to Panorama. Panorama has gone on to reach iconic status internationally since many of the steelpan players emigrated to the different parts of the world and continue to increase its popularity.
In 1979 Panorama was boycotted after the preliminary rounds, but although no final competition was held, this has not interrupted the 50 years celebrations.
Panorama now attracts pannists from all over the world. At this time there would also be a number of regular visitors who often take part in the annual competition and also those who descend on the island to take part in the Mas Bands or merely as on-lookers.
Changes to the 2013 carnival celebrations were announced on 12 December 2012 at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain. The main changes were :
- A new ‘Groovy Soca-Monday Night’ steelpan competition to be held on Carnival Monday night
- A change in the route for the parade of bands
- An expansion on the present route
- A reduction in the number of vehicles accompanying each band
- An expansion on time allotted to bands on stage
- The grand Calypso Monarch will now be held on Carnival Thursday
- Small and single pan semi-finals will be held on the night before the large and medium semi-finals
- The final night of prize giving will be prosponed to an awards ceremony on 22 February (the date of the first competition finals in 1963)
The winners of Panorama 2013 were Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe and the members of his band Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove with his composition entitled 'More Love'. Many of the people who attended Panorama 2013 considered it to the 'best ever' and his arrangement to have changed the future of Panorama.
Panorama 2013 was dedicated to Bertie Marshall who died in October 2012.