During the Carnival season Steel bands compete against each other for the title of Panorama Champions. This competition is broken down into preliminaries, semi finals and finals. The Panorama Semi Finals has become a highlight event on the Carnival Calendar drawing thousands to the Queens Park Savannah. Patrons flock to the North Stand, North Greens and Grand Stand joining various Pan Posses or Pan Crews to drink, eat, wine, and LASTLY listen to the Steel bands compete. We break down Panorama Semifinals for the newbies who have never attended.
Link to my 2013 Pan Semis review: http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/?p=5315
* Grand Stand, North Stand or North Greens choose your area wisely.
Grand stand is a covered seated area where dignitaries, Government officials and other senior persons tend to converge. You will not find any pan crews or pan posses in this area but you might find your grand parents seated here.
North Stands is a covered area where persons who wish to actually see and listen to pan choose to go. Historically this was the “anti grandstand” or the party stand. Over the years the party could not be contained so a separate area was created for the partiers. The North Stand of today still has several pan crews and pan posses representing making it the ideal stand if you are a pan lover who still wants that party atmosphere without the disturbance of DJ music, live performances and incessant Rhythm Sections.
North Greens is an open uncovered area littered with tents of various pan crews, stages for live performances of Soca Artistes, Rhythm sections and lots of sponsored booths with cool zones and entertainment. This is THE party area, you do not see or even hear pan to be completely honest, as most people are focused on intent partying. It is all about the lime and the entertainment here.
*What is a Pan Crew/Pan Posse, know the lingo.
A Pan Crew or Pan Posse is your all inclusive Panorama experience. Persons who join a crew or posse pay a stated price (some include the cost of your pan ticket others do not) and get a t shirt/vest/baby T with the Pan Posse or Crew’s name/logo, food, drinks and souvenirs such as cups and bandanna. All Pan Posses and Crews are not made equal. You will find a mix of crews and posses hosted by Corporate bodies (Bmobile, Unit Trust, Nestle etc), Party Promoters( Caesar’s Army, Jamboree, Scorch etc), Mas bands (Red Ants, YUMA, Fantasy etc) and individual posses (Fashion IS, Pink Panther, Pandemonium etc.) all at a varying price ranges. Corporate Posse’s usually cater to employees first so you need an employee to register you for the package, other posse’s advertise and are sold via committee.
*Pan Crew/Pan Posse are not all created equal.
You can choose to join a popular crew/posse who offer more than just your basic drinks and food or you can choose to go with a cheaper crew/posse if it suits your budget. Location is also a factor with the pan crew/posse of choice as the popular ones tend to have a location to the front of the greens with upgraded amenities. You might find that some of the crews/posses have seating, stages, DJ, rhythm section and soca stars stopping by to perform drawing the crowds and in effect making it THE party area of the North Greens. Other crews may be further back in a “quieter” area away from all the action. Please note you are free to roam and lime by ANY of the crews/posses you just cannot get food and drinks as each one has their individual wrist bands to identify members.
*Joining a Pan Crew/Pan Posse is not mandatory.
Maybe you like to do your own thing apart from a homogeneous group or you do not wish to spend the extra money for a crew/posse package. Whatever your choice, you can most certainly go to Pan Semis without joining a crew or posse. Walk with you own cooler/drinks and food which is a POPULAR option for the North Stand, get some friends to join in and make your own crew if you wish. And if you choose to go with your two hands empty, no cooler to tote or babysit, there are food and drinks on sale at the venue as well.
*Dress code in is in effect for Pan Semis
There is an unofficial dress code for Pan Semis and that is shorts or jeans with your crew/posse t shirt/baby T/vest/tube top and comfy footwear. Ladies tend to save their most ridiculous short pants for Pan Semis and men wear all versions of shorts, from cargo to manpris.
The well initiated also know that you do NOT wear your pan crew/posse t shirt/baby T/vest/tube top AS IS when you collect. You have to shred, stitch, slash , embellish and modify that into a suitably sexy garment for Pan Semis as well as add matching accessories to set you apart from the other clones.
Additional staples are head wear,sun glasses and comfortable footwear as you have to navigate the terrain of the Savannah , no heels please. Of course you can wear anything you choose but remember it is hot and dusty so you want to be comfortable at all costs. I will also add that if you have anything in your wardrobe that is too “skanky” to wear anywhere else you can safely wear it at Pan Semis, outrageous outfits also see the light of day.
*It’s a LONG day, pace yourself.
The competition for Pan Semis starts at around noon and does not end until the last band beats the last note. This can go until way past midnight. If you choose to arrive early pace yourself with the drinking or you may just turn into a sloppy drunk by afternoon. I have seen many many people over indulge and end up passed out in the Savannah, do not let this be you. The ideal time of arrival depends on if you want to see/hear your favourite bands play from the North Stands. If you are going for the party in the North Greens you want to arrive early enough that you get to see everyone and be seen but not TOO early if you plan on leaving after sunset.
*Get your Panorama tickets EARLY.
Every year we run into the case of tickets selling out and scalpers having a field day at the Savannah. The venue can only cater to a certain number of patrons so once tickets go on sale get your ticket EARLY. As stated before, if you are joining a pan crew/posse that offers the ticket in the price this saves you the headache of securing tickets on your own.
Stick with your friends at Pan Semis especially if you are a visitor. Make trips to the toilets in groups or pairs, ladies. Do not accept drinks from ANYONE. Do not wander around the Savannah alone at night. Park as close to or even in the Savannah if possible, if not find a secure paid car park close by. Assign a designated driver or arrange group transport. DO not pick fights with your significant other or their known “outside” women/men at Pan Semis. I have seen fights where the entire crew jumps in for a serious beat down. Not cute!
Whether you choose to go North stands or North Greens Pan Semis has earned it’s popularity because it is a great time, great lime. The North Greens is like a massive roving all inclusive fete festival where you get to socialize with loads of people. The North stand offers the added enjoyment of actually being able to hear the bands play. It is an experience that you have to partake in to appreciate, go and have fun!