Summerjam Packed In Advance

Contour Music’s Klaus Maack rounded off a year of peacekeeping between Jamaican rap acts and various civil and gay rights groups by celebrating his first advance-sellout Summerjam Festival.

A year after side-stepping a showdown with German gay organisations by getting Elephant Man to sign a pledge saying he wouldn’t use offensive lyrics, Maack told Pollstar violent and homophobic rap is a thing of the past.

"It’s no longer an issue. Those that have done it in the past are realising they have the talent to do without it," Maack explained. "It was something they did when they were growing up. Their minds have developed since then and they’re not using those words anymore."

In January, the Contour chief was among a group of industry chiefs from the black music business who met gay rights leaders including Peter Tatchell from Outrage! to thrash out a very simple agreement.

The rap acts would sign a paper saying they won’t use offensive lyrics and the activists would agree not to protest their shows.

Maack said the acts are happily signing and the rights groups only send a couple of reps to make sure they’re sticking to it.

Although the festival had already sold out five years in a row, this year’s gathering was the first in its 22-year history that its 25,000 capacity had gone in advance.

The German press praised the number of top national dance acts, including Gentleman & the Far East Band, Blumentopf, Clueso, Sebastian Sturm, Nosliw & the Magnetics and Culcha Candela, lining up alongside such established international talent as The Roots, Aswad, Anthony B, Sly & Robbie feat. Bitty McLean, Beenie Man, Sizzla & the Firehouse Crew and Queen Ifrica.