Between the 3rd and 5th of July 1998the 13th Summer Jam Festival took place on the Regattainsel in the Fühlinger See near to Köln (Cologne).
The Number 13 was the lucky number for Contour Music. Since 13 years the organisers tried to manage this festival well but this year was the first one that didn`t make me mourn a lot. Still there were lots and lots of problems but the organisation was much better than in the previous years. Contour did the step to have the European Reggae Festival.
It was a very good decision to make the island in the Fühlinger See the "party island". It became the center of happenings: The festival itself with the main stage right at the bank of the Regatta Bahn, the big festival-tent with the second stage, the soundsystem-tent and the two truck-stages presenting many European soundsystems, plus the wonderful Circus ChangHigh and the bazar. This gave everybody the opportunity to allways chose his individual style of music whenever he got bored on one event.
On Friday night the problems were extremly dangerous at the main entrance to the party-island, and for every visitor - just like in the past years - a horrible situation. I don`t understand why the security were not able to open more gates, the scenes that happened were dramatic! Anyway, later (I mean later!) when we finally got in we were lucky to see Asian Dub Foundation in the festival-tent. They were a great starter and I was absolutely surprised about their perfomance on stage! The soundsystem night started quite slow, the truck-stages were -during the whole weekend- quite empty but in the sound-tent Pow Pow took their chance for their second (official) apperance at Summer Jam
The Saturday is always the day of the main acts at Summer Jam. On the main stage Alpha Blondy, Jimmy Cliff, Third World and the still incredible Steel Pulse performed. Culture reached the venue too late so that their show was shifted to the small tent-stage. This was really sad as Culture were phantastic but the atmosphere as well as the accoustics in the tent were not supporting the roots-sound. The remaining line-up for the tent included great shows of the Senegal/Czecheslowakian Hypnotix, Amharic and the famous Twinkle Brothers.
On Sunday the new stars are presented on Summer Jam: On the main-stage Anthony B -the YoungStar of Jamaicas conscious Reggaescene- performed just before Germanys Top-Reggae-Band Messer Banzani. Both shows were incredible impressive but ut I ask myself, why did they have to change the lineup here (AB was announced to perform after Messer Banzani)? Many people missed to see Anthony B and this was really sad for them as they missed a wicked show! The other acts on the main stage (Lucky Dube, Buju Banton, Dennis Brown, Bim Sherman) were not able to win the fight against the upcoming rain in the afternoon. Buju did a lazy show, surprisingly Dennis Brown did a great performance. In the tent I was able to see the Skatalites. It is so wonderful to see these "old" men still performing such a great sound!
A very good idea was the Circus ChangHigh on the party island. This Reggae Circus from Denmark played all day for everybody and it was a nice relaxing point and a chance for the many small children to get some entertainment as well. This circus hopefully has a future on Summer Jam!
Finally Summer Jam 98 was great, even the sheduled lineup was very close to the final running order. This hasn`t been like this in the last years!!! It was very sad that Beenie Man didn't come and I really missed the worldmusic act that has been on the main stage every year since the very beginning. It seems that Contour and the local organisers finally agree fully with the festival ground at Cologne, but there are still lots of problems to solve, such as the bus shuttle service, the entrance disaster and the chaotic situation on the camp grounds
Anyway, I believe that Summer Jam has a phantastic future, it will be the European Reggae Festival and one day it might receive a similar reputation as the two big Reggae Festivals in Jamaica. Anyway, maybe Summer Jam will lose something special in this process: They presented a lot of different styles in the last years and everybody got the chance to hear some new style of musiv, but, due to the many stages and many different shows taking place at one time the visitor seems more and more to choose the artistes he already knows and therfore misses the surprising acts, which I always loved so much! I hope that Contour may find a positive way inbetween commerce and the real vibes of Summer Jam.
>OU gave us your oppinion about the 98-Summerjam! Please read the comments in the Guestbook Summerjam 1998!
More infos about the festival, pictures and reports of the last years, on our special summerjam-homepage
Reviews on Irie 98 and Chiemsee Reggae Summer at the Festivals 1998 page
More up-to-date infos about what is happening next in Germany at both the German tourdates and the European festivals pages
FRIDAY 3.7.98, start: 21.00
OPEN AIR STAGE, start: 11.00
TENT STAGE, start: 15.00
OPEN AIR STAGE, start: 11.00
TENT STAGE, start: 13.00
The camping fees are included in every ticket! The area is very big and it is not possible for Contour to collect the camping fees. More info about camping etc: The Location
Tickets for the whole festival : 4.-5. July DM 87,50 all inclusive (VVK-price)
Festival ticket bought at the gates: 110,- all inclusive
One day ticket for Sunday only: DM 50,-
Children under 12 years: free admission
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