Solid Steel - Parades

For many people steel bands are best enjoyed as part of a carnival parade. ‘Steel band’ and ‘carnival’ are inseparable concepts for them.

A musical performance delivered by a band that’s mobile has potentially more impact and we are in high demand as a steel band who can be the surprise element at conferences, town parades, sporting events and the like.

Although we can play statically on a moving float we are more often requested to play with the steel drums or ‘pans’ (the authentic Trinidadian term!) hanging around our necks and our video publicity on this page principally shows us mix and mingle at Royal Ascot in 2013 - playing and strolling through an enthralled crowd.  When we entertain in this way, the cameras come out and there’s a smile on everyone’s face! 

Solid Steel Band on a carnival float

Playing steel pans whilst being driven on a carnival float is great fun for us and for the audience of bystanders watching us. Our musicians always get a bit competitive with other floats and give lively performances whilst in a carnival procession! We also keep the tempo of the music high to raise that energy even more. 

The bigger local amateur steel bands with 20 or more band members are the more obvious candidates for the big city carnivals like London’s Notting Hill or the carnivals in Leeds and Manchester. 

We often get booked for more provincial carnivals as a 4-piece or 5-piece steel band, but with a PA provided onboard the float to project our sound further.

Solid Steel Band marching on parade

The ‘pan roun’ neck’ method of playing the steel pan - with the pan suspended on a strap from the neck of the player - is the oldest, most authentic method and loved by all. The original demands of pan-playing at Trinidad Carnival naturally led to the development of a mobile method that wasn’t restricted by an immovable pan stand.

However, because the pans that professionals play today are generally larger and heavier than before, many modern pan players prefer to play on stands. Solid Steel will always be a band that welcomes being hired as a mobile steel band that can parade in short sets and as such complement or make an excellent alternative to a New Orleans styled trad jazz band.

Solid Steel Band strolling

Our steel band is also a great option for those considering a strolling band similar to a Mexican Mariachi band. When we stroll with the pans around our necks we offer great versatility. We can weave our way through crowds and audiences providing the close-up experience that only mix and mingle entertainers can match whist creating a carnival atmosphere.

Yet we can also deliver a much quieter performance serenading people dining- moving from table to table playing and singing lilting Caribbean ballads such as 'Yellow Bird' and 'Island In The Sun'. We once gave this more intimate style of performance 6 nights a week for 3 months around the tables of the Tiki-styled restaurant at the famous Sporting Club in Monte Carlo.

10 reasons to book Solid Steel as a mobile steel band

  1. A carnival float is a wonderful moving stage by which thousands of  onlooking bystanders will have their attention grabbed by our expert steel band very visibly playing some super lively calypso and soca music.
  2. A carnival parade in the UK doesn’t feel truly multi-cultural without a steel band in it!
  3. Our steel band in appropriate numbers for the event can be the ideal band to lead a procession- be it the size of a wedding procession, a carnival procession or something in-between.
  4. A marching Solid Steel band (and ‘marching’ is really what we call ‘chipping’- a controlled foot shuffle to the music’s tempo!) almost inevitably leads to an audience forming a conga line behind us!
  5. When a steel band strolls it also mingles with its audience and there is naturally more interaction with the audience, who may choose to form a conga line but are just as likely to start to dance or even start to limbo! So, generally speaking, the band is more entertaining.
  6. Our steel band has a lot of experience of strolling as a trio in a small indoor environment like a restaurant and serenading diners- Mariachi-style. Because Solid Steel can sing as well as play we’re an even more suitable alternative to booking a Mariachi band than other strolling steel bands.    
  7. Street performances really look ‘street’ when a steel band is strolling or parading outside at street level. It looks like the authentic mix and mingle performance of street buskers and is ideal for high street performances to shoppers.
  8. The ‘surprise’ element of the arrival of Solid Steel with the steel pans around their necks has a big impact on an audience. Consequently, we’ve played at the presentation of the award of a free Caribbean holiday at many a conference in the past!
  9. In indoor environments like shopping centres or outdoor situations like outside sporting arenas the crowds cover large areas and a mobile steel band can be the ideal way to ensure everyone gets to hear our live music.
  10. A ‘pan roun’ neck’ performance is a very niche performance. Only 1 in a 100 steel band players nowadays will have any experience of doing it. So if you want a novel act that still offers a wow factor, Solid Steel are one of only a handful of UK steel bands that offer this kind of performance.

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