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Let The Spirit Rise - Summerjam 2010

Let The Spirit Rise - Summerjam 2010

Let The Spirit Rise - Summerjam 2010

By on - Photos by Michael Grein - 10 comments

This year one of the greatest Reggae-Festivals in Europe was celebrating his 25th anniversary. It took place from 2nd-4th July in Cologne at the wonderful area around the “Fühlinger See”.

25 years ago the Summerjam Festival was a very small festival with only four bands playing on top of the Lorelei rock. Within some years it became very crowded and well-known, so they had to change location. Finally, since 1996 the Summerjam found in Cologne a perfect area, already 15 years that it is taking place there. Now around 40 bands are playing and almost 30 000 people are coming every year to celebrate together. One great thing of this festival is that people are coming from everywhere in Europe, most of the people were from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden, Poland and of course, Germany.

The festival area is found on the island in the middle of the lake. On the island are two big stages, the Red and the Green Stage, one Dancehall-Tent and a great bazaar to buy clothes and food from all over the world. The camping area is around the whole lake. But, you have to notice that the people are coming already on Monday or Tuesday to get a good place near the entrances. On Thursday it is already very hard to find a place, a good place is out of question! So take yourself holiday and come few days before the Summerjam officially starts, what is not a problem when the weather is as good as this year – every day around 35 degrees! Fortunately you could cool down in the lake and take a bath.

At the 25th birthday the Summerjam came up with a very awesome line-up. Just to mention a few: Nas & Damian Marley, Gentleman, Capleton, Julian Marley, Mr. Vegas, Inner Circle, Toots and the Maytals and Don Carlos.
A “Welcome Party” on Thursday opened the three days of music.

On Friday afternoon the first bands came up on the stages. The Red Stage was widely in German hands. With Cornadoor & the Soulfire Band, young artists from the north of Germany, the program started. After Cornadoor you could hear some Hip Hop beats from Ohrbooten. The Crowd was already relatively numerous, especially when you consider the hot temperatures. Meanwhile at the Green Stage, where the temperatures were more comfortable because of many trees and their shades, Uwe Banton and Ganjaman opened the festival with some Roots Reggae from Germany. It was up to Ganjaman also to lead the Summerjam visitors through the program on the Green Stage for the whole festival. Martin Jondo took the place of Uwe Banton to play some Reggae and also acoustic songs. For many visitors a small highlight already took place after the two German acts with the singjays Lutan Fyah and Jah Mason from Jamaica. They were backed by the Dub Akom Band from France. A lot of flags have been waved to the energetic singing and dancing of Lutan Fyah and Jah Mason. Lutan Fyah was supported by Izula. One special surprise was that Lutan Fyah lost his turban because of his dancing and for the first time ever, as he said, he showed his impressive locks to the audience. Also Jah Mason was very impressive and the crowd was dancing and hurling their t-shirts and towels like a helicopter. It was easy for Fantan Mojah to take the power and elation of the crowd from the singers before him. He rocked the massive amongst others with his song Hungry. Fantan Mojah was backed by House of Riddim.

At the Red Stage the Austrians Mono & Nikitaman were playing at the same time like Jah Mason. A lot of fans of them were present. Afterwards Dellé, one of the Seeed front men, presented his first Solo album 'Before I Grow Old'. He proved his great talent to perform and elate, also without his famous band Seeed. Dellé was followed by Nneka, a half German - half Nigerian singer. She is not only beautiful, but also strong-voiced and engaged to talk about grievance in politics, especially in her home country Nigeria. The Hip Hop-Soul-Reggae singer invited the massive to sing loudly with her the song VIP (Vagabond in Power) against corruption.

After the younger Reggae singers from Jamaica it was already time for the great Reggae-Legend Don Carlos & Dub Vision on the other stage. Don Carlos was previously present at the first edition of the Summerjam in 1986 with his former legendary band Black Uhuru. He was playing a few of the old Black Uhuru songs, too, but with his own songs he satisfied the crowd completely. In contrast to his forerunners he was playing smoother, as we know and love the Roots Reggae of Don Carlos.
In the meantime the people in front of the two stages were becoming more and more, thanks to the lower temperatures in the evening and of course thanks to the great bands everybody wanted to see.

At the Red Stage it was up to the long expected headliner of Friday: Gentleman. Already for the second time this year he was playing with his band The Evolution in his hometown Cologne to present his new album 'Diversity'. The Summerjam people know him well because by now he was playing for the seventh time at the festival. At the short intermission between Nneka and Gentleman thousands of people streamed to the stage. With the first sounds of the Intro there was no coming through anymore. The second song was one of his classics: Dem Gone. Like at his last concert in Cologne the lead singer of Soja, who will play on Saturday evening, came upon the stage to perform together with Gentleman his song Jah Inna Yuh Life. One further special guest was Christopher Martin. He was singing To the Top with the famous Cologne Reggae artist. The whole concert was recorded and will be published as DVD.

In spite of this big concurrence were a lot of people at the other stage to listen to the Reggae greats Inner Circle. They were also already present at the first Summerjam in 1986. Inner Circle are playing for over 30 years right now. Amongst others their hit Bad Boys and a lot of sing-along music made the people sing and dance.

In the Dancehall-Tent the festival visitors could watch the games of the soccer world championship in the early evening. On Friday it was Ghana’s match, whom everybody kept their fingers crossed. After the soccer matches hot dancehall vibes filled up the tent. For example the Soca Twins, Serani and the Kingstone Sound from Cologne celebrated their hot rhythms till the early morning hours.

Before the concerts on Saturday began everybody was taking the obligatory bath in the lake and a talk with the tent neighbors -the perfect possibility to get a relaxed start in the day. At 1p.m. the beginning at the Green Stage made Die Orsons, German Hip Hop, and after them Jahcoustix, respectable Roots Reggae mixed up with Blues and Soul, continued.
At the Red Stage it was up to D-Flame to start the program, which is playing a mixture of Reggae and R’n B. The audience was not yet very crowded, but with the announcement of Rootz Underground as a hot tip it filled up fasten. It was their first time at the Summerjam and they and the crowd enjoyed it evidently, so you can be sure that it was not the last time! When they came to the close their great Reggae sound was mixed up with some Crossover elements what the people noticed enthusiastically.

While the concert it looked as though we were in for a storm, you could see dark thunderclouds everywhere. The third act Danakil from France had to play already in the rain. A lot of people were running back to their tents to make them save for the storm. But in spite of the rain many visitors stayed to listen to the French band supported by General Levy. And this numerous people who stayed were enormously word perfect. On the other stage the running order of Miss Platnum and Balkan Beat Box was changed, so that East European sounds with Miss Platnum came up. Afterwards Balkan Beat Box was on the run with a mixture of Balkan sounds, Dub and Hip Hop. An additional concurrence with the Germany-Argentina soccer match was taking place in the afternoon. But after the winning of Germany and the short heavy rain, which cleared the air, people were coming back in good mood.

On the Red Stage the Easy Star All Stars from the United States gave us some Pop-Classics changed into Reggae songs. For example the Beatles classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was changed into Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band. As replacement for Tony Rebel and Queen Ifrica came Luciano and Turbulence on the stage. Luciano “the Messenjah” was quite a few times at the Summerjam. And also this year he fascinated the massive. At the Green Stage you could listen after the trip to the Balkan again to Reggae music with the Spanish band Morodo. They are no longer only known in Spain!

After Morodo T.O.K from Jamaica gave us some strong Dancehall sounds. It looked fascinating how the people celebrated T.O.K with their dances bursting with energy. The band was wearing German soccer shirts because of the winning soccer match. Soja, who followed, from the United States are already known in Germany as the support of Gentleman. But they made sure that they are not only a supporting act. Mr. Vegas & Thugz Band played as the headliner of the Green Stage on Saturday. With him some really hot and crazy Dancehall vibes came to the Summerjam. A lot of hot-dancing Dancehall-Queens showed their talents - both on the stage and in the crowd. Towels like helicopters were everywhere – a great final show of this day.

The day was not yet over on the Red Stage. With a lot of joyful anticipation the massive was waiting for Julian Marley, Capleton and Nas & Damian Marley.
Julian Marley was the first of these three acts playing parallel to T.O.K. If Bob Marley wasn’t alive at the festival until now, he came upon the stage with his son Julian. The first song was Rastaman Vibration and a few other Bob Marley songs followed. Although he performed a lot of great songs of his own, songs of his father seemed to be expected of the massive and were celebrated more. Maybe because of everybody knew the lyrics. Possibly it is a hard lot for Julian to get out of the shadow of such a famous father. Nevertheless Julian Marley did a great show in front of a very big audience. While the concert Damian Marley entered the stage to sing the song Violence together with his brother what gave rise to a storm of enthusiasm.

After Julian Marley it was Capleton’s run. “The Prophet” or “King Shango” delivered the ultimate. He was dancing and jumping untiring on the stage. That Day Will Come and Jah Jah City were only two great songs amongst others he performed. Capleton gave the massive a really big show. Fortunately the weather was cooling down a little bit, so that the people could dance themselves hot with helicopters and flags all around. It was surely one of the best shows of the Summerjam this year!

Finally, at half past eleven the time for the absolute biggest headliner of the whole festival came up: Nas & Damian “Jr Gong” Marley. At Gentleman’s concert it seemed that there is no place left to stand, but before this hot expected concert the area around the stage was so crowded – you never have seen something like that before. Between all the food and drinking places people were standing on tiptoe to see just a little bit. With the entering of the stage Nas and Damian Marley sang the song As We Enter. Every one of them was performing a set of his own, but also a big part was held up together. It was one of the most expected projects of this year – the combination of Hip Hop and Reggae with these two greats in their field. But sometimes it seemed to be too much Hip Hop. Also while Nas and Damian’s concert Damian’s brother Julian entered the stage to sing with them. With Could You Be Loved they let one more time live up Bob Marley.

On Saturday night three absolute Dancehall soundsystem greats were celebrating in the Dancehall tent. Pow Pow Movement did the start, followed by Sentinel Sound and last but not least Sir David Rodigan gave the Summerjam his honor. These were really the best conditions for a long, big party night.

The last festival day began for many visitors with carrying their tents and stuff back to the car before the program on the stages started again.
The Green Stage was once more in German hands. Nu Sports did the beginning followed by Jamaram from Munich. Jamaram knew how to handle with the crowd and they woke up the ones who were tired from the day before in the early afternoon and made them dance. After Jamaram one innovation came upon the stage with the Bavarian band LaBrassBanda. They played music for brass instruments and did the Rap in Bavarian slang and all this in traditional leather trousers. LaBrassBanda really brought drive in the audience – lets overlook some small communication difficulties because of the Bavarian dialect. The well-known formation Blumentopf, also from Munich, was performing after LaBrassBanda. It was again time for German Hip Hop, what we could hear at the Summerjam this year quite often. But Blumentopf is a guarantee for good music and good atmosphere. Unfortunately the American Gil Scott Heron couldn’t come to the festival, as it was announced, so Max Herre played a little bit earlier. The former Freundeskreis lead singer played as usual some gentle music. This was for the pleasure of most of the girls and couples who came in a romantic mood. Before the Green Stage was closed earlier as intended, the organization of the Summerjam festival could motivate again one typical carnival band from cologne, named Brings, to do the final act for the weekend. If you like German carnival, you’ll also like Brings. To find a band spontaneously was great, but how can you manage carnival music together with the Summerjam?

M.O.C. Paoli started the program at the Red Stage. Smoke was the second act; two of these Italian guys were former band mates of Alborosie. Afterwards again a French band was on the run. Sinsemilia could inspire the audience with a mixture of quick Reggae sounds with a wind section and French chanson. Not only for the numerous French visitors was it a pleasure to see them. Andrew Murphy, who was leading through the program of the Red Stage the last three days and also the last 25 years, announced the next band with a lot of enthusiasm. For the first time a Soca band from Trinidad and Tobago entered the stage at the Summerjam. Machel Montano gave the massive Soca as its best. They were optically supported by three dancers in golden tight costumes and again two male dancers with feathers at the head and shoes with elastic springs. The performance of every member of the band was very powerful – like the music. The crowd was hurling everything they could get. In almost everybody face’s you could see the sweat. In contrast to the hot Soca sound Midnite was playing a very soft, but expressive Roots Reggae. This made it possible to calm down and to manage the near end of three fantastic days of music. But before the end of course Toots & the Maytals were playing. The Jamaican trio around Frederick “Toots” Hibbert is playing for more than 40 years Reggae. They “do the Reggay” – this song of the legends Toots & the Maytals gave the Reggae its name. These legends were the perfect act to close a wonderful festival with a lot of known songs to sing with.

The closing of the Summerjam 2010 was crowned by a big firework over the festival area and the collective singing of the Redemption Song under the leading of Andrew Murphy playing the guitar.


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Read comments (10)

Posted by Lee Abel on 07.16.2010
Great photos!

Posted by Zoubairi on 07.16.2010
I would like to be there me and al martyrs like David Isaacs but you are there so we live in you.
Zebra Marley

Posted by Malaika on 07.17.2010
Gut gemacht leiber Mischa!

Posted by Paris on 07.18.2010
Somebody knows the name of the singer which sang the evening of Saturday (at Free party after Nas and Damian Marley, not in the Dancehall Arena, at the Entry of Festival) ? Thx
Maybe it's Fireblack (I think so) but I don't found the song with in the chorus One rasta.. eyaaa Thank a lot.

Posted by Michael on 07.19.2010
There was FAYA SOLDIA singing near the entry at the camping, but not only on Saturday. He was there all the time with his tend, CDs ...
Don't know. Just recognized him!

Posted by Keith Wallang on 07.27.2010
I was there too at summerjam 2010 and no im not from europe but from a very small town called Shillong which is in the state of Meghalaya, India. I arrived straight at the festival from Frankfurt airport with my backpack and no tent or sleeping bag or nything like that BUT in the spirit of reggae music and its natural good vibes 2 Germans I bumped into happily took me with them to their campsite and gave me space to crash and store my bags, THANKS, Mr.Pauler and Mr.Adi, hope one day I can do the same for you :)
One Love

Posted by Haku` on 07.27.2010
It seems great.

Posted by Loys on 07.27.2010
Been there from the island of Malta....hope I can return every year. The best festival I have ever been so far!

Posted by Gargamel on 07.31.2010
I speak just english sorry but I want the photographie number 76 please michel grein give me a picture......summerjam2010 is ............wa

Posted by CruiserULB on 08.03.2010
Let the spirit rise ?
Das mag ja bei der musik zutreffen...
Dafur das ich montag dort war bis montag darauf und fur jeden tag 10 at camping bezahlt habe und die wassertanke erst mittwoch aufgefüllt worden sind.
Genauso wie die wassertanks schon samstagmorgen leer waren und nichtmehr befullt worden sind....
Und dann nen spruch wie let the spirit rise ..... Lol was haben sich die veranstalter nur dabei gedacht. waren warscheinlich nie auf einem festival ausser im burostuhl!!!

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