Friday, September 29, 2006

Earthquake! Building Shake!(Like is Panorama)

The words were never more true than this morning. I am sure most of you know by now that we here in Trini experienced a pretty strong tremor today x 2!!! (tbc 6.0 on the Richter scale). An earthquake of this size causes at most slight damage to well-designed buildings and can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At my home some glasses jumped out the cabinets and at work a water pipe cracked.

However in the aftermath, I got to thinking....where else have I felt such a sensation???Hmmmm....The North Stand in Panorama Semis maybe??? Lol. Now this has always been a serious concern for me, being in the building industry. I am completely obsessed with how structures and materials fail. It is a very real concern, as some of you will remember the now notorious "Real Unity" Machel Montano Anniversary concert where the VIP stand collapsed and injured several people .

Everytime I go into that North Stand and see the type of system used to erect it , I am a bit uncomfortable. Worse yet, when you see the ridiculous amount of people squeezed in there, I get nervous. People bringing in fully laden coolers , full bars etc. Well when the band start playing, the riddem sections start jamming and 10,000 people start jumping at the same time the sensation is very much like what we experienced here this morning. I mean, I wining same way but......! What I want to know is, does the government/contractors take any steps to determine the max. loads that the North Stand can take? Does anyone seriously monitor how many people are in that stand at any one time? Ok so now and then the Fire Services make noise and stop people from going up, but they are not how they know how much is too much ppl?

Well the plan is that a new Cultural Center is to be built in the Savannah (see pic). Due to political red tape (bobol again) this project has yet to be started. Plan was, that it was supposed to have begun immediately after Carnival 2006 and that the parade of 2007 would have no stage to cross (noooooo!!!). Well so far , it looks like we still have the old stage that we have had for close to 50 years. However the stands will have full seating, not an open plan like the current North Stand. Which means no more riddem sections and no more bars. There is actual a movement of people who are rejoicing this impending change as they feel it takes away from the true purpose of the competition. Who in the North Stand does really go to hear pan in Panorama? I am definitely somewhat guilty in this respect.

In my North Stand Posse's defence, I believe that this tradition has become an inherent part of our culture. It has actually introduced a new generation to the art of Panorama. Yeah so I first went for the lime, but it does not mean I don't appreciate the performances. I actually developed a new respect for the pan as our national instrument. Playing in a band in Panorama is still on my list of things to do. (Big up Carnival Jumbie Dad again who do it all). Nonetheless, I do believe some regulation is needed at this point. People's North Stand Posses are getting a little out of hand. Not just in terms of numbers but with the large drums and bar equipment and musical equipment that they are bringing in.

So I hope the tradition stays on but please let the earthquakes stop!!

N.B please note doorframes and stairways are dangerous places to seek shelter in an earthquake.

  • Real Unity Concert Collapse

  • Earthquake Safety Tips

    saucydiva said...

    Well I was at the Machek concert when the stage fell (never went to another one after that!) and I remeber standing infront of the stands BEFORE the collapse and watching fellas going under it to try and prop it unp with pieces of stell/scaffolding. When the stage fell I thought for sure they were dead! I was right there in VIP and could not take all the drama! One of my friends fell off the stage and bruise up her whole left side!

    Anyway, when I go pan I don't EVER lime to the top of the North Stand, every year they does say it go fall down so I does be to the front by the last few steps, there is an exit there so it easy to run in case of fights etc.

    My friends like to call me paronoid but I does think of everything holistically, seeing the big picture and preparing as best as I could accordingly. Carnival time I does even walk with my mace (shhh).

    Oh and I for one don't go for the pan in Panorama though I did enjoy exodus this year, every man in the North Stand was jumping! Is a good thing it did not fall down.

    Carnival Jumbie (Diva) said...

    Well I glad to know you survived intact!! That must have been so scary! I can't imagine what I would have done if I was there. Put its very true what you say, every year they say the North Stand going to fall down, yet no one actually does anything about it! I just hope I not around (knock on wood) if that ever happens

    squeezle said...

    You know, I thought it was only me who was paranoid about the state of the North Stand. At least now I know my fears were not unfounded.

    In recent years, I've only gone to Panorma finals (yeah, I'm one of the few who actually go to listen to the pan) and the crowding is not a big issue then. But I've seen pictures of the crowd at semis lately, and lawd-ah-mercy, my backside woulda be right there next to Saucy, looking to bolt for the nearest exit if things got too shaky!