One of the highlights of the annual celebrations of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is the Panorama contest. It is a musical contest that confronts the best metal orchestras in the country while they play a specially arranged instrumental interpretation – marked by original variations – of a popular calypso or soca music melody.
The contest has been held every year since its inauguration in 1963, except in 1979, when it was boycotted as a symbolic gesture of support for the pioneer of the metal band movement, Rudolph Charles, and his struggle to achieve respect and better recognition for musicians
The bands compete in small, medium and large categories. There is also a unique metal category and Panorama competitions for primary and secondary schools.
In recent years, instead of each stage of the competition being held in a large place like Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, the judges have been visiting the “metal yards” – community spaces where the bands have their headquarters – to qualify them during the preliminary round of the competition. These activities always attract a lot of public sponsorship, music lovers visit several courtyards during the season to support their favorite bands and evaluate the competition.
However, the most popular carnival activity related to metallic instruments is the Panorama semifinal, in which enthusiasts of this music can enjoy a wide range of performances from the spectator areas, and even enter and be among the bands in what is known as “The Drag” – an area that leads to the main stage where the bands line up in order of appearance and practice their exercises. The fans also help to roll their instruments – which are mounted on groups of platforms with wheels and awnings – to the stage, where the bands fight for a place in the finals of the most prestigious prize of metallic music.
As every year, photographer Maria Nunes was present at Queen's Park Savannah on February 9, 2020 for the national Panorama semifinals, in which medium and large metal orchestras participated. Here is a sample of the atmosphere with spectacular photos of Nunes, presented here with permission:
The final of Panorama was held on February 22, 2020.