About the Creative City: 

Port of Spain is known internationally as the birthplace of the steelpan instrument, calypso music and Carnival. Music lies at the heart of Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city and is expressed through the indigenous musical genres of calypso, chutney and soca. While celebrating traditional music, Port of Spain has a progressive approach to producing and recording modern compositions. In recent years, the city has invested in cutting-edge infrastructure, enabling its music sector to grow and provide both economic and social benefits. Employing over 3,000 people, the music industry generates around US$ 10 million for the region.

Port of Spain is home to the major Festival of Carnival, a cultural phenomenon that has generated global interest and influenced the founding of 300 similar carnival celebrations in cities around the world. This festival celebrates Port of Spain’s traditional steelpan music and hosts a number of live performances from both local and national bands, as well as providing a platform for new and upcoming artists. Furthermore, the Pan on the Avenue event held annually in August, is a main city event that involves a procession of steel bands and has attracted the support of residents and businesses within the urban community. 130 steel bands have participated in this event over the last five years, with 100 awards given to the steelpan arrangers, promoters, musicians and community personnel.

Port of Spain supports the emergence of the creative industries with a blend of public-private partnerships in entertainment, music literacy and festival programmes. The commitment to sustainable cultural practices is evidenced by the value placed on the national instrument, the steel pan, and the adoption of a national Pan in Schools music programme. A recent investment of US$ 70 million in the National Academy for the Performing Arts and in developing a performance space in the City, underscores the commitment the city has towards providing the infrastructure and extending free performances to the public.

Added Value: 

As a Creative City of Music, Port of Spain envisages:

  • promoting exchanges of best practices, expertise and industry know-how with other Creative Cities of Music;
  • connecting the city of Port of Spain with other UCCN cities that have a mutual interest in the music of calypso and the drum culture of Trinidad;
  • including the city’s music heritage sites in cross-cultural tourism programmes and promotions;
  • endorsing music heritage as a driver for sustainable urban development through city-adopted policies for festivals and communities, with the city’s music festivals as the principal component; and
  • strengthening exchanges on creation, production, distribution and enjoyment of cultural goods and services between all the UCCN member cities in particular the Creative Cities of Music.
Member since: 
Carla Foderingham, Focal point of Port of Spain, creativeportofspain@gmail.com