Marco Sichau started doing events in 2005 and the Shred Cologne three years ago. With the next Shred coming up next weekend, we wanted to know more about his motivations, the changes for this year’s event and much more. Take a look and get ready for Shred Cologne 2014.
Photos: Alexander Stock
Hey Marco, thanks for doing this with us. Where are you right now and what did you do before you started answering my questions?
I am in the skatepark office right now answering some emails from people all over the world and before that I was in the backyard of the park, building obstacles for the upcoming competition. Feels like I live in this building since weeks.
Please introduce yourself a little bit. How old are you, when did you start blading and when and why did you start with the whole event thing?
I am 32 and started blading back in 1996. Originally I was organizing music concerts in a club beside my studies in 2005, when Ben Harmanus came up with the idea to do his “Hammerjam” Contest in my local skatepark. He asked, if I could help, so I did and that was the moment when I realized I maybe got a talent to arrange things, bring people together and build ramps at the same time. In 2010 there was a lack of blading competitions, so I decided to do my first own event with Alex Stock and one of the best blade crews you can imagine. We called it Revelation Cup and that`s where my story began.
After the Relevation Cup, Shred Cologne was the next logical step. What was your idea behind it when you first started thinking about doing an event in Cologne?
I moved on to cologne for a job and I saw the potential of the city, the scene and the skateparks. I already knew I can do an event and a voice inside of me told me I should try a new project. My idea was to make a cool looking event, bigger than the cup, but not too big. From the past I knew some good working locals like Björn Pakusa, Erik Poss or Chris Piotrowicz, so I involved them into my plans and from that point it the shred was born.
Can you remember your feelings during and after the first Shred Cologne? Were you happy, or did you want to quit forever?
Can I ask you this question please? Haha. You know it the best my friend. In 2012 and 2013 my feelings during the event have been stressful but good, after it you always reach that point, when you say: never again, this is too much for me. To be honest, after 2013 I didn`t want to go on because of many reasons. At that point Sarah said to me, if you stop, I will do it by myself, even if I don`t know anything about blading. Today I am here again doing this event and learned a lot from the first two years. If you have a good team, you don`t have the feeling of this “one man show pressure” anymore. At this point I want to thank Sarah and every member of the crew!
Can you please tell us one funny and one not so funny story that happened during the last years of organizing events?
Not so funny: You trust people, give them a place to sleep and they destroy stuff that you have to pay for. (Another story you can tell as well)
Funny: Crazy stuff that happened the day after Shred 2013 with the dutchies in the location. By the way, this was also one the best moments of that weekend for me. Thanks to Levi, Olga, Rik, August and Thijs!
We wanted to hear a real story hehe.
The event is getting more professional every year. Please tell us what are the most important tasks during the organization process and did your ambitions and goals change year after year, or is the main idea still the same?
In the beginning the most important task is to figure out the whole corporate identity. Means you need to overwork the Logo, the website, the merchandise etc. Everything should look like one good piece.
The next step is to write hundreds of emails to the sponsors & teams, especially to the non-blading companies. After that you figure out every crew member from moderation, to the guy that cleans the toilet. If you found sponsors the hardest and most expensive part starts: design the new obstacles and build them for weeks beside your real job and life with your own hands. This means a lot blood, sweat and tears. All over this time you try to keep everyone updated and try to solve all the other problems like organizing Hotels and flights for working crew and pro riders.
Of course the goal is always to get more professional, always push the quality of the details and we try to get bigger. For example, we got 2 days now and our plan is to get bands and stuff for 2015, but that is just an idea. It should feel like a festival. The good old music, sports and friends thing. You don`t need much more for a good time.
Who is on your team during the event and who is helping you the most in the month’s before the event?
The main people are Sarah, Björn, Erik, Chris, Marcel, Mario the months before. During the event it’s important to have a good host and this is Ray Rhese and for sure a good Dj and here we have DJ A-Lap (Andre Lepszy). When we talk about judging, we got Jojo Jacobi, Bart Laubsch and Freddy White. I can`t name everyone, but in the end it needs 25 people to make this event possible and I want to thank everyone that helps us.
How long are you working on Shred Cologne in total every year?
In one week the Shred Cologne 2014 is going to take place. What are the biggest differences to last year’s event and what can we expect in general?
The obstacles will definitely fit better to skate lines and big tricks at the same time. The Tradeshow and sideshow skatepark will give people the chance to buy and try new products, or to warm up in the sideshow area. At that Area BlackJack Clothing presents the first time a Miniramp “battle my crew” contest on Friday evening. And for sure there is an Afterparty in a beautiful indie bar.
The riders lineup looks great so far. Can I ask you to do some name dropping please?
Sure. We got Nick Lomax, Josh Glowicki, Julien Codot, Dominik Wagner, Scott Quinn, Dominic Bruce, Json Adriani, Daniel Nielsen, Eugen Enin, Frederick Andersson, Jo Zenk, Rik van Huik, and many more , plus we have heard about some special guests… we are not allowed to announce them jet. More importantly we got about 100 riders from 15 different nations. This is just sick for us.
Please fill us in with the short facts real quick: Skatepark address:
Christian Sünner Straße 8
51103 Köln, Germany
Any last words? Why should people make their way to Cologne next weekend?
Because of the atmosphere. If you are looking for a good time, I prove, you will find it on Saturday the 4th in Cologne!
Hey Sarah, how did you get involved with Shred Cologne and what is your job before and during the event?
If I remember it right, Marco just showed up in our office three years ago. He started an internship and Shred Cologne became his project. Back then, we had no idea that it would become that big. Since last year I am the co-organizer beside Marco and my job is everything around the office organization, the skate park organization and I`m coordinating the staff.
You are working with all kind of extreme-sports due to your job at the skate park. What was your first thought when Marco came up with the idea of doing a blading event?
I remember that in our heads we still had this image of the 90s blading movement, but after the first Shred Cologne we knew, that it has changed completely.
What’s your impression of Shred Cologne and blading in general after being involved for the past two years?
Bladers have always have been a part of the location. Sometimes more and sometimes less. Shred Cologne changed the scene of this city at all. It feels like there is a growth of the bladers in this city especially we have more kids in the part wearing blades again. But we also meet bladers from back in the days in the park again, that started blading again.
What impressed me the most was the passion that everyone has for Shred Cologne and the sport. There are so many people that want to help and support us. The atmosphere is so familiar and peaceful although people from all over the world join our location that weekend.
Are you looking forward to when it’s all over again?
To be honest, I am sad when it’s all over. I hope I do not have to persuade Marco to do another Shred next Year again. But we already talked about a New Year`s Shred in January, so I think we will likewise have a SCBC in 2015.