Brushy One String ADD
Festival Report... SummerJam 2022 - Sunday (July 3)
07/03/2022 by Gardy Stein
Feel The Beat! The motto of this year's Summerjam couldn't be more fitting after all this time of lockdown and isolation. Finally, we are outside again, gathering, celebrating and feeling the music we love! Our Reggaeville Festival Report will take you all across this weekend's highlights, sharing photos, videos and stories with you so you can join in, remember or re-live the experience.
FESTIVAL REPORT: OPENING PARTY | DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3
CHECK PHOTOS HERE | VIDEOS HERE | INTERVIEWS HERE
Sunday, July 3rd – Winds of Change
Changes are a part of life and, often, they are a good thing. This weekend definitely was a change from our daily routines, a change most of us have been waiting for all through lockdown and restrictions! Hopefully, the positive experiences made at this festival will help us change the way we treat each other, be more kind and open to different ideas and points of view. The change in weather, at least, brought relief from the hot sun today, as clouds and winds broke its scorching reign.
Team Reggaeville rolls in to the sound of Switch It Up. Protoje and his band occupy the Red Stage for their soundcheck, and since hardly anybody is around as yet, it feels like a private performance. What a way to start this last festival day!
Brushy One String opens the program after the first visitors arrived. A dazzling sight in his flashy golden suit, it's just him and his guitar (as the artist's name suggests, it has only one string!) on the huge stage. He sings a track called Pretty Girl, which flows into an impressive medley with a perfectly delivered Raggamuffin part. Boom! During the following Play Di One String, he starts a conversation with other (fictional) artists called Father Fourstring and Cornel Sixstring, granting us a glimpse of what popular Jamaican comedy sounds like. He definitely impresses his listeners, and the small crowd applauds and shouts for "Zugabe!" ('encore') when he is done. As the schedule is tight, however, Andrew Murphy takes the mic to say good morning to the audience, and announces the next band, Jahneration.
While finishing the Friday report at the press area, a young man visits us to share some postcards he made. His name is Dan Geffert, but he is better known as Sponk, a visual artist who has specialized in graffiti. To support Viva Con Agua and Help Jamaica, he created a unique masterpiece during this festival, a beautiful lion's head, which will be auctioned for the good cause.
Speaking of changes once more: Sampa The Great won't be able to make it to the Summerjam due to problems with her flight, so the local act EES will step in for her. Other cancellations we heard about during the weekend were Jahfro and Bay-C, who weren't able to come due to cases of Corona.
The Red Stage is inhabited by Jahneration, a French duo consisting of Théo and Ogach plus band (Sowad on guitar, Clement on bass, Baptiste on keys and Vincent on drums). Their style is fresh and pleasant, the type of music you can enjoy even without knowing the band's discography. At the moment, they play Hit Song, telling the cheering crowd that "the most important thing is not a hit song, but to be here with you!" As if to seal the connection thus made, the singers climb off stage and move through the audience during the track Pass Me The Mic, shaking hands and taking pictures.
Over at the Green Stage, Sara Lugo gets a big forward for her track Really Like You. The singer from Munich doesn't need much to bring her music across: a 3-piece band and her voice are enough for her to convincingly present songs like The One or Better Way. "Do you believe in love, Summerjam?" she inquires, and loud cheering is the answer.
On my way back to the press area, I squeeze around a truckload of adventurous-looking equipment next to the stage. Pyrotechnics, I assume, but also huge colorful balls that are being inflated on the spot. Asking one of the technicians which act this is for, he says "SDP!", tonight's headliner on this side of the festival. We're in for something different, it seems!
96° In The Shade is what the huge speakers at Stage Red chime at us. Behind me, a man turns to his friend, saying "I know this song! Is this the band that sings it?" Yes, it is. Third World are among the longest-active bands in the business, and their 45th release jubilee of above-named song sits well with Summerjam's 35th staging and 25th anniversary at this location. The group puts on a great show (chapeau to original member Stephen "Cat" Coore), a mix of older hits, and new creations from their 2019 album More Work To Be Done. With a shout-out to all Africans in the place, drummer Tony "Ruption" Williams plays a solo on a huge Djembe drum, and singer AJ Brown closes the set, as has become their tradition, with a goosebumps-inducing rendition of the aria Con Te Partirò (Time To Say Goodbye).
Well, for us this time has not come as yet, so we check out what's going on at the Vibez Village. Every morning, different workshops like Lila's Yoga Jam, Drumming, Henna Tattoo or Flow Arts took place, and right now a fervent table tennis match is coming to an end. Later on, Fabi Benz and the Cologne Youth Rebels will rock the stage, and I'll definitely try to come back here for them!
While enjoying a meal at the seaside, the proximity to the Red Stage lets me enjoy Christopher Martin at the same time. He started his set with To The Top (but without Gentleman), and has by now reached all-time favorites like Paper Loving or Cheater's Prayer (directly followed by Never Cheat). Pull up! The crowd goes wild with Big Deal and Mi Friend Dem, and in his tight black shirt, designer jeans and golden jewelry, Chris looks the part, too. "Earcandy and eyecandy", as @coco-lores84 observes at the relevant Summerjam IG-post!
Meanwhile at Stage Green, we take a trip to faraway New Zealand with Katchafire. This band of eight (all of the members having Maori roots) is extremely successful back home, but here it takes a while before the Summerjam visitors warm up to them.
On the way back to the Red Stage, I take a little detour to check out what's going on at the Riddim Tent. Right now, Third World is arriving for their Meet & Greet, and eager fans are already waiting to take pictures and chat with them. Nothing but love for Reggae music! Next to this spot, Toké can be heard and seen on the mic of a make-shift little stage, a nice opportunity for all those who missed his opening set on Thursday.
"Every beaker you donate will help our projects in Uganda!" says a young lady on stage, and a few others hold up a banner of Viva Con Agua. It is of course too early to say how much was collected over the weekend, but the tireless helpers are all over the festival grounds, and a lot of visitors have already thrown their beakers into the blue bins. Next to their group, Hille now takes the mic to express his gratitude to everyone who has supported HELP! Jamaica with a donation or by buying raffle tickets. It's all for a good cause!
For many visitors, the next artist is the reason to be here, and thus the excitement rises. Loud screaming and Vuvuzelas announce the arrival of superstar Shaggy on stage, clad in a bright yellow Off-White sweater and red Rhude pants, and after an introductory medley with his MC Yung Juggz (RSNY), he jumps straight into Mr. Boombastic. The band of four plus DJ creates a resonant live atmosphere into which Shaggy drops all the hits: Summertime, Oh Carolina, Angel (during which the crowd does most of the singing), Strength Of A Woman and Sexy Lady are among the tracks played, each one accompanied by explicit gestures and fun interactions with the audience. In the last part of his set, he also presents newer pieces such as Go Down Deh and Com Fly Wid Me (from his recent Frank Sinatra release by the same name), and the many breaks and pull-ups have accumulated to a little overlay in the schedule. Not ready to say goodbye as yet, Shaggy is about to start the final track when some technicians enter the stage to change over for the following act. The entertainer explodes at this, hurling curses at them that we won't repeat here, and when the technicians leave, he intones Feel The Rush before he leaves stage, visibly annoyed.
Back at our Reggaeville "homebase", a surprise is waiting for me: Debo Ras, who used to accompany the original Raging Fyah as sound engineer and whom I've met several blessed times already, is around for a visit and tells me that he's on tour with Third World right now. That's why their whole set was impeccably mixed!
As the sun is about to set, the final acts have started their shows. On the Green Stage, Vincent and Dag of the German duo SDP energetically inhabit a spectacular stage design (complemented later on by the crazy pyrotechnical gear mentioned before), but since this is a Reggae report, let's turn our attention to the Red Stage.
Here, the InDiggNation band (with Monty and Duckie on guitar, Danny on bass, Paris and Yaadute on keys, Kongz on drums as well as Ziah, Justine Rookwood and Shanicea Phillips on backing vocals and sound engineer Gregory Morris) provide the sonic carpet on which Protoje spreads his message in songs like Flames, Like Royalty or Criminal. Dressed all in white (Yony LA), the singer turns to the audience to tell us that, 9 years ago, he had his first show on this same stage, and he expresses his gratitude to the organizers that they believed in his talent from the start.
After a breathtaking show during which Protoje has called Ziah on stage to sing Rasta Love, sent out greetings to his family who's watching the live stream and delivered the fantastic Switch It Up, he has one more surprise in store for us. Lila Iké joins him and delivers Where I'm Coming From, a track that made her known over here, and after the lighter-lit Hail Rastafari, he brings everyone from the sides of the stage to the front (usually, the spacious left and right sides of the stage are the place where fellow artists, family or crew members chill). His final tracks Who Knows and Kingston Be Wise tickle the remaining energies from the crowd, and the InDiggNation boss even steps into the photo pit to hail the people. During the last minutes of the show, a sparkling firework illuminates the sky – marking the end of this year's Summerjam.
After thundering applause, Andrew Murphy steps up to the mic, guitar in hand. "Brothers and sisters, this has been the Summerjam 2022. I wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart to make me feel normal again for the last three days. Big thanks to the crew, to all the people here who have made this possible!" He closes the festival with the tradition of singing Redemption Song, and thousands of voices join in.
The gratitude thus expressed is felt by us, too. Working behind the scenes lets us realize just how many people are necessary to make such a huge event happen, and the average festival visitor doesn't usually notice the amount of organization and effort involved. Big up all caterers, sanitary workers, medics, security, drivers, vendors, technicians, stage hands and volunteers! What the visitors do realize, however, is the beauty, the joy and the music such a festival brings - big up all singers and players of instruments, too! Asked for their most outstanding experience over the weekend, here are some of the answers given:
"I really enjoyed Gentleman, and the weather. Everything!" (Julie and Markus)
"Difficult question… Guacáyo on Saturday was a beautiful experience!" (Sola)
"I can't really say… there were so many great experiences!" (Basti)
"The special moment was Spice, Stefflon Don, Sean Paul and tonight!" (Ingrid James)
"For me it has to be Lila Iké, she is a lioness out of Jamaica, and as a born Jamaican, we feel so proud to know that out of one small country, we have infiltrated all of Europe and all of the world globally, we fell very proud of all of our artists. Salute to my lions, salute to my lionesses, and thank you!" (Simone Fraser)
"Seeed was amazing!" (Tom)
"Spice, and Shaggy!" (Shushana and Mandy)
"I just told my friend that I really liked to see so many women on stage who are very self-reliant and very body-positive." (Saskia and Olivia)
"Gentleman! He escalated that show. It was maad!" (Mike)
"Protoje was absolutely grand! That was a wonderful closure, including the moderator who sang at the end." (Jens, Christian, Julie and Vanessa)
FESTIVAL REPORT: OPENING PARTY | DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3
CHECK PHOTOS HERE | VIDEOS HERE | INTERVIEWS HERE