Selected for the Crystal Gail Holder Achievement Award, is Ashley Gateson. Ashley has passionately proven herself as an all-round technical player, teacher, and arranger which prompted her to spearhead her own Steel Band ‘Pan Up’ from the tender age of 20 years old.
This nomination was put forward due to her relentless work ethic and charismatic nature, combined with the implementation of teaching, encapsulating the attention of and motivating others she comes into contact with, through enthusiastic and motivational music.
She started playing pan with Paul Dowie in primary school and rose through the ranks playing through her school band. She then progressed on to Stage Side, playing at events, workshops, making TV appearances, participating in the UK Panorama Championships and featured in the winning side, that claimed the 2007 Junior Panorama Championships.
The peak of this in 2010, was travelling to Trinidad and Tobago to play for Cal Invaders in the National Panorama Competition, alongside playing for the junior side Woodbrook, who actually won the Junior Panorama title that year.
In 2011, Ashley decided to leave Croydon Steel Orchestra and joined another group, aiding them through teaching and mentoring junior pan players, later she amassed her own collection of Steel Drums for her own band.
In 2013, she joined Mangrove Steel band and had a great time doing Panorama and stage side, only to leave to start her own Band... PanUp. She conquered and overcame personal doubt and continues to develop and grow each passing day.
In 2013/2014, she started to arrange her own songs and mustered the courage to go out and hold Steel Band and percussion workshops even going as far as introducing Steel Pan to the Beavers and local Girl Guides.
In 2014/2015, she accompanied Metronomes Steel Orchestra and joined Stage Side travelling with them to various events, whilst juggling all the charity work and gigs with PanUp.
PanUp gets its BAS accreditation and works with large charities such as Great Ormond Street, Chestnut Tree and The Royal Variety, playing pan at various venues around the East Coast.
Refusing to allow personal injury at work to delay her, she continues playing at Panorama events, and still manages to teach and support PanUp.
Ashley has spent time dedicating countless hours to adapt and pursue new ventures and honing her craft, working with mass drum bands and presenting steel pan to a wider audience all at the same time.
She has also been approached by Stephen Lloyd the MP of Eastbourne, to lead Eastbourne Carnival, but due to being told on short notice, she had to settle for a ‘pan round the neck’ event with percussion support.
Ashley has now moved to East Sussex and has moved PanUp to the East Coast establishing the band in their new location.