PanJam: The SteelBand Jamboree set for July 24, 2022!

From a fundraising idea for school fees, to the preeminent steelpan event in Guyana 

What started out as a fundraising event to fund law studies, has now grown into one of the most anticipated events for pan lovers in Guyana, with the potential of one day becoming the premier steelpan event of the Caribbean.

24-year-old Reon Miller has created a product that is now being emulated by others in the country, as its potential and uniqueness is quite evident. 

Reon Miller performing at the first PanJazz in 2018

In 2018, while he was a Law student at the University of Guyana, preparing to commence Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, Miller came up with the idea to use his talent to raise money to pay through law school. Being one of Guyana’s prominent pannists, he decided to host a concert that headlined steelpan music, mixed with jazz instruments. The success of that concert saw the birth of the unorthodox brand ‘PanJazz Concerts‘ created by Reon Miller. 

“Back then, I was pretty young and didn’t even know what I was doing, but I was doing well according to people, as I was receiving positive feedback on the production. So I just kept doing it since then, and every year got better. 2018 it was at Herdmanston Lodge and we had about 100 people; then 2019 we were at Umana Yana with approximately 250-300 people; and then last year at the Arthur Chung Conference Center that had about 200 people because of COVID measures. None happened in 2020 because we were in the middle of a pandemic,” Miller said. 

Abel Stokes

This year however, will see one of the greatest editions of PanJazz history, with a more dynamic and diverse fusion of genres. Given the change in concept, this year’s edition is branded ‘PanJam: The SteelBand Jamboree‘ which will take place on July 24th, at Black Magenta, Georgetown Club.

PanJam is different. We will be focusing on various Caribbean genres of music, with Soca, Reggae, Chutney being the main themes for this event. For the first half, we’re gonna have a string band, with local artists performing soca, reggae and chutney hits. Thus far, we have confirmed one of Guyana’s leading female Soca artiste, Tennicia DeFreitas, now going as ‘Nekeita‘, we have Abel Stokes, Roy Stewart and more,” the young creative disclosed. 

But it is the second half that has the main feature that will set this edition apart from the others.

CAL Parkside Steel Orchestra

“The second half is what has the biggest excitement and one that I myself am highly anticipating.There will be two large steel bands set up side by side on two different stages, the Police Force Steel Orchestra, and the Caribbean Airlines Parkside Steel Orchestra. These bands will be performing local hits and singers are gonna come and sing along with the bands. BUT, they’re going to be going tune for tune, battling each other like a clash of the bands. I think this concept is going to be quite exciting,” Miller said.

 Guyana Police Force Steel Orchestra

The resounding success of the previous PanJazz experiences, leaves no shadow of doubt that this year will be mesmerising. The young creative assured that the team will certainly deliver to expectations, as the ultimate goal is to bring an exquisite steelpan experience and foster more appreciation for the art form from the general public.

“As a plan player, the feeling is definitely euphoric. We call it a band spirit, that feeling we get when we play. It’s a deep connection to the instrument and the music. A feeling of immense joy and appreciation that you are part of something beautiful, something innocent and something that is really going to blow the minds of people who are witnessing it. This is why you do this. And while lot is being done for pan in Guyana, a lot more could still be done, and this concept definitely adds to highlight the instrument in a way that a lot of people have never experienced before…

All the pan events in Guyana are mainly focused on involvement, PanJam: The SteelBand Jamboree, focuses on an experience for the audience. This is tailored to bringing the instrument to suit the needs of the people in the audience. That in itself creates a room for the Guyanese public to appreciate the instrument more,” Miller opined.

He also noted that while the ultimate goal is to bring an exquisite steelpan experience to the Guyanese public that they can appreciate and enjoy, and always look forward to on a yearly basis, this year will see the commencement of the PanJazz Scholarships.

“This was started to help me pay for my studies, now that I’ve completed Law school, it’s only fair that part of the proceeds go to someone else who plays steel pan, to pay their school fees too,” he said. 

There are other expansion plans in the pipeline, but Miller wishes not to disclose at this time.

Kabisa, Gupta Distributors,, Roje’s, Au Moyeu, M&M Snackette, Virtual Solutions Guyana, Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sport and Potsalt Media & Communications are the sponsors for PanJam: The SteelBand Jamboree. 



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