By Shareen Gray (Steel Pan Trust)
Photographer Robbie Joseph (Pan Podium)
United Kingdom | Tuesday 28 November 2017: 8:08 GMT
The Tabernacle in west London was the venue for celebrating 10 years of Pan Clash on Sunday 22 October. It is fitting that a whole new generation of steelpan soloists took part this year in the Over-16s category. Some of them were only 10 years old when this competition began. The champions this year included Lola Peach in the Under-16s category. Lola is also a part of the Kingsdale Foundation School, champions of Classorama (our school steelband competition) in July. Over-16s competition winner Ebow Mensah was the champion last year in the Under 16s a fantastic achievement on his part. He will receive his first British Association of Steelbands (BAS) Award this year as a result. Other prizes included £500 cash and four tickets to the British MOBO Awards.This very enjoyable evening included performances from Carlene ‘Sweetwrist’ Etienne, Debra Romain and Alexander D Great. The event had a natural high as so many people recalled the length of time they have been a part of this event. British comedian Kayleigh ‘Loudmouth’ Lewis said to me, the founder of Pan Clash, “You bought me to the stage before I was even a comedian and believed in me before I knew I loved a mic and a stage. You saw something in me 10 years ago and continued to watch me grow into the stage woman I am today! Not everybody has the friends or platform to do what they love and instead of beating down on people you prefer to lift them up and I am forever grateful!” The evening ended with my closing speech and gifts of flowers and a bottle to the presenters Tubbs and Kayleigh ‘Loudmouth’ Lewis the faces of Pan Clash steelpan musicians Samuel Dubois and Thomas Sinclair for supporting the event in many ways from the beginning, and Debi Gardner of BAS, who has supported this event since 2007.