IT was supposed to be a one-off event, but from as early as 4 am people gathered for the ninth edition of the Shell Invaders Steel Orchestra Republic Day J'Ouvert celebrations at the Invaders pan yard, Tragarete Road, Port of Spain on Sunday.
The event began in 2015 and even during the covid19 pandemic it did not stop, as it was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. This year's theme was the Apache Invasion, following the 2022 theme of Sailor Invasion.
Chairman and managing director of Invaders Steel Orchestra Michael Dinchong, said they tried to satisfy the requests of their supporters. He said, "It was so enjoyed by the public that they just kept demanding and asking...we have been going for nine years, although it was supposed to be a one-off thing."
Seven steelband sides, mostly from Woodbrook, entertained the public making a lap around the Queen's Park Oval in St Clair. In celebration of the Republic Day holiday, many patrons wore red to show their patriotism.
"We have pan sides mainly from the Woodbrook area. Outside of the Woodbrook area would be Desperadoes, but you know they were in Woodbrook. They just wanted to come back and further down the road was (Rescott) Power Stars, but basically the bands in Woodbrook (are participating)," Dinchong said.
Desperadoes, housed in Laventille for decades, have moved around since 2015. They first moved to Queen's Park East, before moving to Tragarete Road. In April, "Despers" got a new home at George Street, Port of Spain.
Shell Invaders, TT Police Service Steel Orchestra, Proman Starlift, Brimblers and Hadco Phase II were the bands which were also part of the Republic Day event.
Following the pan on the road, people gathered in the Invaders panyard for an after-party, which included music band Road Block Steel Orchestra and defending panorama champions BP Renegades. Road Block tried their best to get the patrons dancing by playing different genres of music.
Among those supporting the annual event were former Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz, Trinidad All Stars pannist Dane Gulston and TT's first Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford.
The organisers, in an effort to battle the hot conditions, set up a cool zone for patrons while food and drinks were available.