Festivals

Freedom Sounds Festival 2020 – new date and line-up

It couldn't happen in April, so we keep our fingers crossed for September. Ravenous after the first summer without festivals in many years, we will be more than willing to go on a trip to Germany.

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Freedom Sounds Festival in September baner

When last December I was writing about the 8th edition of  Freedom Sounds Festival, I couldn’t even imagine that a pandemic would cancel the first half of 2020. Some of the music events planned for that time were postponed to next year. Promoters of Freedom Sounds decided to bet on autumn and chose the first September weekend for the new date of the event. Tickets bought for the spring date remain valid, but the line-up had to change. Read more to find out how much.

Freedom Sounds Festival new line-up

Who’s going to play at Freedom Sounds Festival in September? One of the most thrilling additions to the line-up are Potato 5. The band was responsible for the ska explosion in Great Britain in the 1980s. “Ska Explosion” is also the title of their debut EP from 1983, produced and published by Gaz Mayall. Plus, they reminded the world of Laurel Aitken by recording an album with him in 1987. Two years later, after their concert tours in the USA and Japan, the band played their last gig. After over 30 years, they will reactivate to perform in Cologne. Before you get all excited and start packing for your autumn trip, read a fresh interview with Potato 5 members by our friends from Reggae Steady Ska.

One of the festival’s headliners is Adrian Sherwood – DJ, producer, founder of On-U Sound Records. In reggae community he’s known for his live dub sets and collaboration with Judge Dread, Black Uhuru and Prince Far I, and in the world for cooperation with Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Peter Gabriel, and Asian Dub Foundation, among others. At Freedom Sounds he’ll play a special DJ set and mix live on stage Jeb Loy Nichols and The Westwood All-Stars soul-reggae set.

The coronavirus has canceled most of the spring and summer music events, so the September festival will be one of the first occasions when artists will be able to play live songs from their albums released in the first half of the year. That will be the case for the Swiss Kalles Kaviar, the Belgian Proyecto Secreto, and the rocksteady vocalist Alpheus.

Freedom Sounds Festival promo photo Alpheus, Potato 5, Adrian Sherwood
Freedom Sounds Festival promo materials

Just like last year, the festival promoters prepared a special set. Previously, Natty Bo and The Top Cats played a tribute to Prince Buster. This time musicians from different bands (including Victor Rice, Nico Leonard, and members of Soothsayers) will perform together in a Tribute to Tommy McCook, interpreting the songs of the Jamaican saxophonist and one of the founders of The Skatalites.

Classics ska and rocksteady tunes will be played by Dr. Ring Ding, who will be accompanied by The Easy Snappers. On the second day of the event, Di Doctor will show his second side and serve a sound system reggae and old-school dancehall set.

Lovers of more eclectic sounds will enjoy the sets of Soothsayers, combining reggae with dub, afro-beat, and funk as well as of Maroon Town, who dip reggae in a funky and Latin sauce. As a matter of fact, there will be plenty of funk in Cologne this year, because The Mighty Mocambos will also play at the festival.

The autumn edition of Freedom Sounds also managed to include several artists who were to come to Cologne in the spring. This is, for example, Victor Rice Septet, who will promote their leader’s new album, and soul musician Alexis Evans. Italians from The Bluebeaters and their countrymen, The Uppertones, have also confirmed their presence and the latter have recently released a new album. You can also expect a solid dose of reggae from Conscious Culture and a chance to see some fine young musicians performing with the Youthsayers Outernational Orchestra.

And last but not least there are local mento enthusiasts Los Apartamentos, who joined the line-up by popular demand.

Freedom Sounds – info

Freedom Sounds will run from September 4 through 6, 2020. The festival takes place in Cologne, in the buildings of the former vinegar factory – Essigfabrik. A weekend ticket costs €52 and a day ticket €32. Students and teenagers have discounts, and children up to 12 years old enter the party for free. Detailed information can be found on the festival’s website.

If you’d like to know how was it at Freedom Sounds in the previous years, check out our YouTube channel, where we published some videos from previous editions.

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