Last weekend kicked off the Reggae summer festival season in Germany and most of Europe, against the wonderful backdrop of Fühlinger Lake, Cologne, Germany. The Line-Up was more diverse than ever before – with a delicate balanced mix of classic reggae acts, modern Hip Hop and Dancehall. Reggae greats like Jimmy Cliff, Anthony B and Johnny Osbourne rocked the same stage as known and unknown reggae artists from around the globe. The festival appeared to be ready for the same kind of success and crazy summer young and free vibes as previous years, notably last year with perfect Jamaican type weather…..but that was the one thing that the very capable organizers could not have prevented. It rained nonstop and then rained some more. Tanning on the banks of the lake from last year was replaced by jumping up and down in rain boots in small muddy puddles that settled everywhere. And strangely enough, unlike most festivals or events in Jamaica that would just have proclaimed it to be a “rain out” and call it a day, the 30,000 festival goers, refused to make no amount of rain “reign” on their parade.
There were a few non-Jamaican performers that were authentic as it gets, in terms of replicating the Jamaican accent (and swagger) on stage although possibly never having even touched our shores. Acts like Nneka, Seeed, Maxim, Tyro, Irie Révoltés, Dub Inc, Chinese Man, Die Orsons and silky smooth crooner Milky Chance really should be invited to some Jamaican events held in Jamaica. Jamaicans are known for embracing other persons from other cultures quite readily, and the reggae summer festivals can be compared to a love song to the Jamaican culture and land from the rest of the world.
Barrington Levy is the exact same powerhouse of a performer that he has been for over two decades, the audience was just delighted with his stage antics. The performances were top notch especially from the Jamaicans artists even from relative newcomers in the business like Christopher Martin. Amazing performers Tanya Stephens and Anthony B where the main acts for the first two days of the show and did not disappoint. The great legend Jimmy Cliff though closed the show on Sunday night, he sang new hits and old, danced like he was a teenager and fed thousands energy in spite of the rain.
The three day festival ended with traditional fireworks despite the heavy downpour.