Steel Pan Takes Centre Stage at CARIFESTA XIV

With just two weeks to go, Trinidad and Tobago, along with the rest of the region and beyond, is on the final stretch in preparation for CARIFESTA XIV, the region’s premier arts festival. Trinidad and Tobago’s hosting of the 14th edition of this festival promises to be epic; with over two hundred events scheduled across performing spaces in Trinidad and Tobago between August 16th to 25th, 2019. Audiences will be immersed in the dance, theatre, film, food, visual and literary arts and of course music of the region, as delegates from twenty countries join Trinidad and Tobago to celebrate the arts. Every genre of music has been programmed into what is certainly a most diverse repertoire of Caribbean music, and Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument, the steel pan, takes centre stage.

The official CARIFESTA XIV opening ceremony is preceded by a parade around the Queen’s Park Savannah featuring all the participating nations, including the T&T delegation, who undoubtedly will be chipping to the sound of steelpan. The women take lead with the first Signal Event on Saturday August 17th, 2019 at Naparima Bowl- ‘By Women Only, For Everyone’. The cast of twenty-one (21) women will feature Natasha Joseph on the steel pan along with phenomenal performances from the best in the region including Xavier Strings, Sally Sagram, Rennette Desir from Haiti and Claudette Peters out of Antigua and Barbuda to name a few.

Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument will truly be integrated into all aspects of the festival, from performances in the daily concert series  at the Streets of the Caribbean Grand Market, to T&T’s National Steel Symphony Orchestra providing all the musical accompaniment for ‘Moon on a Rainbow Shawl’ at NAPA on Saturday August 17th, 2019.

The very next day, Sunday August 18th, 2019, two of Trinidad and Tobago’s top men of steel, Dane Gulston and Johann Chuckaree, grace another CARIFESTA XIV stage at Queen’s Hall for ‘Rhythms of the Caribbean’, where they will perform with legends like David Rudder, Mungal Patasar and Pantar, as well as Tobago’s very own Garvé Sandy and regional acts including a traditional Jing Ping Band out of Dominica. Also on that day, the young delegates of the region and T&T will be just across the QPS at Bishop Anstey High School for ‘Riddim and Steel Sunday’, the second in the Forever Young Concert Series. 

The musical flexibility of the steelpan will again be displayed as pannist Gerard Balfour joins a world-class cast including Etienne Charles, Vaughnette Bigford, Nia Golden out of Montserrat and Gérald Kébreau out of Haiti on the 20th August at NAPA for ‘All Jazzed Up’. For those who cannot make it to the main performing spaces, CARIFESTA will go to them in the form of Community Festivals. Several steel bands and visiting delegations will participate in these ‘All that is We’ Community Festival across six communities in Trinidad. 

CARIFESTA XIV has as one of its thematic areas development of the cultural industries, and this edition of the festival will do so through its Symposia titled: ‘Journey ‘Round Myself’. One of the panel discussions on Culture and Education will explore the idea of incorporating culture into school bags through the use of steel pan; while another lecture and discussion features Nestor Sullivan, past president of Pan Trinbago and founder of the Pan in School’s project,  on the topic, ‘Global Steelband and Industry”, which looks at the global possibilities in the further expansion of the Steelpan Industry.  Both events will take place at the University of the West Indies. In addition to these events, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ annual ‘Music Schools in the Community’  Project culminates with the performance of a joint piece with 4 of our local youth steel orchestras and young pannists from across the region.

The region and the rest of the world will be in for a treat at ‘Pan and Powder’ on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019.  There is little which rivals the pleasure of a pan crawl, and through CARIFESTA’S partnership with Pan Trinbago, this unique experience will be recreated outside of the Carnival season. Even more exciting is the fact that the National Steel Orchestra of Guyana and Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra out of Antigua and Barbuda will join some the best steelbands that T&T has to offer including BP Renegades, Massy All Stars, Desperados, and Invaders Youth Orchestra. 

As the curtain begins to close on CARIFESTA XIV, the Island Beats Concert on Saturday 24th August, featuring international stars Shaggy, Kassav and Machel Montano, will open with the national anthem, played on the national instrument, ringing out at the Queen’s Park Savannah, heralding the pride of our heritage. 

At CARIFESTA XIV, we are placing the best of T&T and the region’s culture on display, and the integration of the steelpan throughout the offerings is a testament to its versatility, adaptability and timeless appeal.

Cor. Jerningham Ave. and Queen’s Park East
Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
1 (868) 463-6619

Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies

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Cor. Jerningham Avenue Ave and Queen's Park East
1 (868) 463-6619