Steelbands will be on the road for the Toronto carnival

By Lincoln DePradine

Pan Fantasy Steelband will be on the road for 2018

An agreement has been reached that ensures steelpan music will form part of the entertainment  package for the 2018 Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

This follows a meeting last Thursday with officials of the Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) and the Festival Management Committee (FMC), the organizers of the carnival, as well as representatives of various local steelbands.

Up until the meeting was held, some bands were considering not participating in the annual OSA-organized Pan Alive show that is scheduled for Friday, August 3. The OSA board of directors, according to a representative of one of the bands, is “illegal’’ since it has not held  an annual general meeting and election of officers since 2015.

A proposal, submitted to the FMC, to channel funding directly to steelbands, rather than through OSA for the 2018 carnival, was agreed to at last Thursday’s meeting.

Steelbands put on two major performances each year for the carnival: at Pan Alive and at the Grand Parade and a commitee of band representatives has volunteered to organize the show.

At another meeting held on Monday, it was decided that Pan Alive 2018 will not be a competitive event. It will be a jamboree-style show, with patrons deciding on a “People’s Choice” award.

“All the bands are taking part,’’ OSA treasurer Terrence Wilson told the Caribbean Camera.

Wilson explained that the FMC does not fund “competitions’’, but said OSA could still award prizes to participating steelbands from tickets sales from the show that will be held at Lamport Stadium in Toronto.

The annual Pan Alive competition has been dominated in the last half-dozen years by the North York-based Pan Fantasy Steelband, winners from 2012 through to 2017.