Panache, now it in its fifth year, increased everything but its price. The big people party, held on Emancipation Day, moved from Bellevue, St Michael to a new location at the Barbados Polo Club, Holder’s Hill, St James.
The area provided more space for parking, more space for dancing, more space for mingling, more space for the added food stations and more space for bars. Along with the additional space came a larger number of patrons causing the all-inclusive premium event to record its biggest crowd ever.
Organiser Faye Wharton Parris said the new location allowed them to make the venue what they wanted it to be.
“We recognised that our numbers were growing a bit and so that was part of the reason for moving from the location we were at. With so many things going on, it is not easy to find locations, but we have worked here at the Polo Club with other events before. They are comfortable working with us so we approached them and they were fine with it. The Polo Club is an open landscape, and it gave us the opportunity to lay it out as we wanted to.”
The owner of Premium Event Services admits that patronage of the event has been extremely overwhelming.
“We have made the food area bigger, the bars bigger, brought on more staff and it really is just to make sure that the experience is what people want. We realised that [with] every ad we placed, the reach was far greater than last year. I think people are now recognising the name and the brand and what it stands for.”
Wharton Parris said to maintain the brand experience of their patrons they were forced to turn back some people.
“We have had to turn back a lot of people. When we say we are sold out, we are sold out. Up to this evening I got a call from someone [who] had someone coming in from Trinidad and wanted to come. People came to the door and said it wouldn’t make any difference if you just sell three more tickets, but it does make a difference in terms of the experience that people have.”
She continued: “We are building a brand and the expectations of the [patrons] are very high. So we need to make sure that [if] we go up in numbers that we can manage it in terms of our delivery.”
The event planner is hopeful that the keen interest in the event would help facilitate a second event outside of the Crop Over season.
“We are toying with the idea of doing something on New Year’s Day. We have the Panache fan club so usually we would tease them and get their feedback,” she said.
Along with an extensive menu and long list of drinks on offer, patrons were also treated to live entertainment by RPB and Edwin again this year. Betty B was part of the entertainment package as well.
RPB sang sweet, groovy soca songs such as If Ah Sweet Ah Sweet, I love It and Alive. But it was his Boat Ride which had the crowd rocking left and right. Edwin came on later in the night and he too had the party goers swaying but this time it was for his song Sak Pase. The crowd leaned from side to side as he invited them to join him in doing the dance. They also moved in unison when he performed “De road is mine”… He had earlier performed Wet Me, Pump Me Up, Crank It and a few other favourites.
Sweet sounds of Alvin Toppin aka DJ Soca Superman continued to rock the crowd till the last man standing. (IMC)