When you get an invitation to play on the main stage at one of the country’s main world music festivals, and it is on your doorstep, well, you accept! The Steelers, Treviglas College’s steel band opened the main stage at Tropical Pressure 2017 on Sunday 16th July, which was the festival’s Caribbean day.
Having enjoyed two days of Latin and African music, the festival crowd grew and grew and danced their socks off to the 45 minute set. Having regularly played festivals for the past three years, the band delivered their riotous set of familiar songs, rearranged with a Caribbean sound. Included in the set were new arrangements of Blame it on the Boogie and the 2016 summer smash, Cake by the Ocean, which featured one of our new members on drum kit, Rafferty, who more than handled the job of keeping the big band together.
The band knew straight away that something special was happening at Tropical Pressure when, from the off, the whole stage crew started dancing. They didn’t stop for the whole set, whilst saving their best moves for Monkey Man. After the gig, the production team came straight over to congratulate the band on their performance, describing the crowd as the biggest they had seen for a first band in the history of the festival. The band were rightly proud.
After the gig, the band were booked to lead a steel band workshop at the festival for anyone who wanted to try playing pan. The workshop quickly resulted in the participants playing an arrangement of Iko Iko and then went on to play parts of an arrangement of Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode. With the support of The Cornwall Music Hub and their Jumbie Jam trainer pans, it was possible to have 30 people trying a bit of pan whilst at the festival. These experiences, for the public and for the Treviglas students in the band, are really valuable and so much fun!
The day after Tropical Pressure, the Steelers went on to play on the stage at the Stithians Show. Continuing in the spirit of these incredible performances, the show crowd absolutely loved the music we made – so much so that both BBC Radio Cornwall and Pirate FM broadcast parts of the performances. There were many highlights from Stithians for the band including the huge crowds, the ice-cream and the other performers we shared a stage with, but the best moment was seeing one of our very own players dancing in the middle of the crowd on a picnic table.
The Steelers have also recently performed at Mawgan In Pydar School’s Summer Street Party, a local wedding and as part of St. Columb Major Academy’s Arts Week, where one student said that working with the band was the best day of his life!