Orchestral recordings of rock music fundamentally raise the question of their meaning. If this is to be a shallow infusion without added value, pure bombast pop, sugary like cream cake, the answer is simple.
Peter Sommer, head of a "two-man editorial team", is a director and fan of the first rock nights. However, his dream job of directing at Rockpalast was occupied by the man of the first hour, Christian Wagner, who had launched Rockpalast together with Peter Rüchel. Sommer took the detour via the WDR jazz editorial office before finally replacing Peter Rüchel, who had retired for reasons of age, in 2003. "Peter did not leave his chair voluntarily and did not make life easy for me as a successor. There was practically no relay handover. I inherited a one-hour show with live music, which we should continue with little to almost no budget. A jump in cold water."
Sommer made a virtue out of necessity and bid farewell to the OB truck productions that could not be financed on a tight budget. He put together small camera and sound teams who were guests at established festivals, mostly in summer, and authentically captured the rock events there. "Since we didn't put the line-up together ourselves, not every band we showed from now on is what we like about it," says Sommer, who is rock-musically broadly positioned. From Jazzrock to Heavy Metal his range goes. "From Colosseum to Black Sabbath. Only reggae and hip hop aren't my thing. But if that's part of the festivals we broadcast concerts from, we don't close our eyes to that either."
Speaking of Black Sabbath. "That would have been a dream for me if we had been able to film the concert on their farewell tour in Cologne in January. I'm afraid that didn't work out." Despite the myth and cult surrounding Rockpalast, bands like Sabbath have their own interests. The Rockpalast acts more independently in the "Crossroads" series from the Bonn club Harmonie. Twice a year Sommer & Co. invite two bands per evening for several days, which they themselves find exciting and worth seeing. With this mixture, authentic rock'n'roll television has retained its niche position in the TV scene, which is dependent on ratings. "I find inspiration for 'Crossroads' at my favorite festivals like Freak Valley or Herzberg."