Over 25.000 Reggae fans celebrated the 18th edition of the annual Summerjam in Cologne, Germany on July 4th-6th 2003. Every year people travel from all over Europe to enjoy three days of "Love, Peace and Reggae Music". The venue, which has camping ground facilities, was sold out.

At the beginning of the first festival day the patrons were busy putting up their tents, meeting friends, checking out the craft market and international food stalls and generally getting into the vibe. After the first highlight of the festival, people gathered to the sound system tent, where many great sound systems from all over Europe spinned the hottest tunes and their dub plates .

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Enthousiastic fans feeling the vibe.

Baby Cham, Tony Rebel and Israel Vibration did their shows on the first day. Baby Cham performed his well known old songs and a few new burners. Tony "If Jah Is By My Side" Rebel and Israel Vibration turned the Friday into a relaxing day, while mostly German artists such as Patrice and Seeed played the biggest of the two stages.

Friday 8:20pm. When Patrice appeared on stage, girls hearts were beating faster, and most of the Reggae fans instantly started to move their dancing feet. Patrice is not only well known in his native country, also in the rest of Europe, primarily France, the shy slight man causes excitement when he enters the stage. During his performance he bewitched the moving crowd with his striking voice.

Friday 10:15pm Seeed: The highlight of the evening. Singer Ear couldn't make his usual stage moves due to an injured leg. Thus he had to groove in a leather armchair on the stage. Seeed performed mainly pieces from their new album "Music Monks" which can be recommended to every German/Patois understanding fan. At the end of their performance they did a small "Dancehall Queen" competition with the help of the audience.

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Saturday proved to be even more exciting. One by one Jamaican top artists entered the main stage, starting with Junior Kelly, followed by Anthony B, veteran Beres Hammond, the platinum selling dancehall star Sean Paul and veteran Jimmy Cliff.

Both Junior Kelly and Anthony B brought a very beautiful show and wonderfully heated up the audience for the evening of the year in Germany. Despite his age Beres Hammond convinced with his powerful, energy-loaded show. In the end he made that the listeners got goose-flesh due to his harmonic singing. Monstershow!

Sean Paul gave everything and roughly covered a distance up to 10 kilometres by moving around on stage. He was supported by two very pretty ladies who looked as good as in his music video. Finally Jimmy Cliff came on stage to round off the evening. He delivered the audience his probably best known songs including "Reggae Nights", "The Harder They Come" "I Can See Clearly Now", "Johnny Too Bad", "Wild World" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".

On the second stage performed Toots & The Maytals, Sam Ragga Band, D-Flame & KP Crew, Ganjaman and finally L.M.S., the youngest siblings of the Morgan Heritage family. They did a very nice show, which was spiced with Hip Hop flavours. Afterwards the people danced all night in the yellow and white sound system tents with POW POW Movement, Budadub and Sentinel feat. Anthony Locks.

The last day of the Summerjam festival started with Jamaican Papa Curvin and the Alpha Boy School. In the evening came "The Royal Family Of Reggae" Morgan Heritage and performed hit after hit such as "Reggae Bring Back Love", "Don´t Haffi Dread", "Trodding Jah Road" and many more. Particularly the improvised composition for the Summerjam at the end of their show impressed very much. After them came the German singjay Gentleman. He performed a perfect show and the massive jumped like crazy. His combination tune with Morgan Heritage, "Man Of My Own", was another highlight of his performance. The closing shows of Max Romeo and Mikey Dread was a silent slip after three straining but beautiful days.

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Despite many thousand visitors no-one needed to be afraid of "flat" feet. Everyone created space for each other. One saw complete families at the festival grounds because the Summerjam is so peaceful. So it could happen that a father was building a Spliff under a tree while his child was amusing itself with other Rasta kids on the playground. Since the existence of the Summerjam was endangered at the beginning of the year because of the extensive drug consumption, the town council has announced stronger controls. The people took note of it, but this, however, didn't really stop anyone to comfortably smoke Ganja while listening to the music.

There haven't been only two stages, the tents did their stint too, to give all visitors a perfect feeling again. The festival area reminded of an own little island. Thousands of reggae fans had pitched their tents around the lake. Some had even taken furniture with them like sofa, table and chairs. And when something was missing it was no problem, because one could buy everything on the Summerjam market: discs, videos, T-shirts, percussion instruments, bags, trousers, lamps, jewelry etc..

The pleasant atmosphere was very impressive again this year. Visitors and artists were extremely peaceful. And there were no really "dead like" drunks as well. In the end the people simply enjoyed the Reggae Vibe. Even the people of the Security at the Summerjam were very kind. "Peace, Love and Harmony", thats just what the Summerjam is made of.

Article & Photos : Maik Räuber & Michael Freytag

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