On June 2nd, the city of Detroit will play host to the 2nd Annual Michigan Steel Drum Festival, the only Michigan festival to focus entirely on the breadth of music composed for steel drums. The steel drum, or "pan" as it's known in the Caribbean, is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago where it was invented in the mid-twentieth century. The instrument was first introduced and popularized in the state of Michigan by the Trinidad Tripoli Steelband in 1973. Numerous community organizations, high schools, universities, and professional ensembles throughout the state have since taken up the steel drum. The Michigan Steel Drum Festival will feature a total of twelve Michigan-based steelbands. These groups will perform a wide variety of music on an amazing range of 55-gallon steel drums—including the rumbling six-drum bass pans, the powerful triple cello pans, the resounding double guitar pans, the lyrical double second pans, and the clarion single tenor pan.
The Michigan Steel Drum Festival is being produced by Island Foundry Productions. The festival will take place on Saturday, June 2nd at the Hockeytown Café, where live steel drum music will be heard from 2pm until 2am. In addition, a DJ provided by WD Production will spin island blends between each band's performance and traditional Caribbean food and handicrafts will be available for purchase. Festival merchandise and CDs of the performing groups will also be on sale. Admission for the entire day of concerts is $10.
“There’s been a growing interest in Caribbean steel pan music throughout our state," says Mark Stone, Special Instructor in World Music at Oakland University. “Many people will certainly be surprised that all twelve groups are from Michigan. I think they'll be even more surprised when they hear the incredibly diverse music performed by these Michigan steelbands. The festival is a unique opportunity for people in the Michigan steel drum community to come together and share their passion for pan.”
The Michigan Steel Drum Festival will feature the following bands:
• Southpaw Isle Steelband
• The Gratitude Steel Band
• Steelheads Steelband
• Third Coast Steel
• Oakland University’s Pan-Jumbies
• St. Louis High School Steel Drum Band
• Caribbean Pans Of Joy Steelband