Summerjam 2013: Germany’s ode to Jamaica
The 28th Annual Summerjam took place recently in Cologne, Germany. Situated quite aptly on an Island, with two different main stages and a dancehall and roots rock reggae area, more than 30,000 fans from all over the world made their reggae pilgrimage to Fühlinger Lake for their yearly reggae fix. The sounds, the sights and yes even the scents of everything Jamaican were present. The lake, the sand and the sun provided the paradise-like island atmosphere. The setting was perfect, the people were undoubtedly irie and the music was unpretentious, raw, aggressive and infectious, in one word was Jamaican. Credit should be given to the Summerjam organizers for not only running a superb and organized show but also bringing current top reggae stars at the Summerjam festival but also having different genres within reggae represented including Roots and Dancehall.
The festival organizers did not shy away from controversial headliners like Snoop Lion, formerly known as Snoop Dog, who sang mostly old rap hits instead of performing reggae songs, to the disappointment of many hardcore reggae fans. What Snoop was unable to provide to some, several Jamaican artists stepped up to OD fans on. Reggae, real reggae royalties like Max Romeo, Richie Stephens, Morgan Heritage, Ken Boothe, Dean Fraser and Tarrus Riley, among others, including reggae’s adopted son German-born Gentleman did not disappoint fans but electrified thousands into moving to the beat. The younger Jamaican entertainers also did us proud and represented the country splendidly and more importantly above expectations, while Romain Virgo sang about personal experiences, Popcaan and Busy Signal caught us off-guard and impressed as well as wooed the crowd.
Amid the literal sea of faces were thousands and thousands of Rastafarians and dreadlocked couples and families who came from all over Europe. The Jamaican flag was everywhere and the lines leading up to the Jamaican stands for jerk chicken, rum punch and curry goat were the among the longest at the three day festival daily. Persons lined up to get temporary and some permanent tattoos of Jamaica or the iconic Bob Marley’s face all over their bodies, while others sat under the shade of trees to have their hair locked. It was hard not to walk around with an indescribable joy related to being a part of this amazing culture that persons from around the world not only love but also fully embrace. Our lifestyle, our looks, our language, our brand, our Jamaica. On Stage’s Winford Williams was also at Summerjam doing a report on the festival and we spoke at length about the way how festivals such as Summerjam promote Jamaica positively on the world stage.
If a decision had to be made to choose the highlight of the festival, it would actually fall on the first day of the festival, when Max Romeo literally had the biggest dance party ever. When he took to the stage, he had the entire sea of persons doing the Jamaican Ska. Joy and irie vibes enveloped the crowd, and it was another “proud to be Jamaican” moment.
Lori hails from Montego Bay, Jamaica and has lived in Virginia, Washington D.C, and New York, but now resides in Düsseldorf, Germany with her German husband Jens. When she isn´t working on her Seed of Style Fashion page, she can be found on her other page Love Crosses Borders. Love Crosses Borders is an international, interracial and intercultural community which focuses on couples and families and singles interested in love across borders. An online dating site focusing mainly on international love is said to be in the works.