The History Of The Rebel Jam

"Everything involved had to have a legacy." - Andy Zeiss

27 Jul 2019

Rebel Jam Bmx Spread

Rebel Memories by Andy Zeiss (First posted November 2014)

It takes a lot to pull-off something 'different' with a BMX contest, yet when long-time friends Andy Zeiss and Mike Emde became disillusioned with the nature of the European contest scene some 10 years ago they put their German heads together and managed to come up with a format that was fun, credible and actually unique. Ahead of this year's upcoming re-birth of the Rebel Jam in London UK, we thought it would make sense to catch up with Andy and find out a little more about his personal Rebel Jam memories since that first event at the Berlin Mellowpark back in 2005.

2005 - Berlin / Mellowpark


Video Vault: Props – Rebel Jam 2005

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"Let's get the rebellion started! Mike Emde and I created rebeljam because we wanted to shake up the current event scene in Europe. We wanted to focus on the riders and the community more than the average event would. The Mellowpark was the perfect location for the kick-off. One of our ideas was to always leave something of value for the local scenes – ramps, obstacles, maybe just the wood. Everything involved had to have a legacy. It was crazy to have so many big names in Berlin that year. It still makes us proud when we see pictures from the first two editions – Corey Martinez, Van Homan, Gary Young, Nathan Williams, Corey Bohan, Brian Foster, Chris Doyle, Tony Hamlin, and so many others you didn't get to see at most European events at the time. And not to forget Ruben Alcantara, who won the bunny hop contest!"

Rebel jam BMX 2006 bus tour

Union Approved? Some heavy names on the first bus tour. Photo by Ricky Adam

Rebel jam BMX 2006 bus tour sandy carson

Sandy Carson adding to some Berlin history via the Rebel jam cultural tour. Photo by Ricky Adam

2006 – Berlin / Mellowpark

"After a great first year it was clear that this wasn't meant to be a one-night stand. Berlin hosted even more riders in the second year, and we organized an awesome photo art show in an industrial building next to the Mellowpark. One memory that sticks with me is the bus tour we did. We wanted to show everyone the beautiful side of Berlin so we hired two double-decker sightseeing buses. It quickly turned into a party on board – booze, fire, objects flying out, windows popping out, you name it! The best part of the story is that the bus company just charged us a minimum for damages and always called twice a year to say that they wanted to do it again (laughs)."

Brian tunney bmx rebel jam 2006 RA

Berlin Love parade? Aaron Ross, Brian Tunney and Josh Stricker get in on the act. Rebel 06. Photo by Ricky Adam

tony Hamlin crew r bmx rebel jam 2006 RA

Tony Hamlin did a win. Photo by Ricky Adam


Video Vault: Props - Rebel Jam 2006

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josh stricker bmx rebel jam 2006 RA

Josh Stricker. After hours rain dance warehouse wallride session. Photo by Ricky Adam

tony hamlin bmx rebel jam 2006 RA

Tony Hamlin. size of a cow. Rebel 06. Photo by Ricky Adam

2007 – Berlin / Mellowpark


Video Vault: Props - Rebel Jam 2007

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"Sadly this was our last year in Berlin. The Mellowpark was dealing with permit and venue problems and we didn't want to push them into an uncomfortable situation. Plus we thought it would be good for the event to travel. A huge part of BMX is traveling, so why not? Still, a big shout out to Jens and the Mellowpark crew – they will always be a huge part of what rebeljam is today."

harry main BMX rebel jam 07 KC

Harry Main, Rebel 07. Random fact: this was Harry's only ever print photo in DIG. Photo by Kay Clauberg

rebel jam bmx 07 Sven Sprosse Lehmann KC

The 2007 jam was hectic. Sven 'Sprosse' Lehmann, a local from Berlin, doing it right. Photo by Kay Clauberg

2010 – Portugal / Portimão


Video Vault: Props - Rebel Jam 2010

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"After two years, of let's say a 'creative break', the time was right to bring rebeljam back. We heard about the local scene in Portimão, which was struggling to fund new ramps, and we got in touch to discuss our project. Soon it was decided – rebeljam was going to the beach! It was different than in Berlin for sure, but that's also what made it special. We wanted to create new things and never become repetitive. We learned a lot during our first international experience – about working mentalities as well (laughs) – but in the end the event was rad, and Portimão had a brand new park afterwards, which they still maintain and ride today."

Alex kennedy rebel Jam BMX 2010 VP

AK shark hop in Portugal 2010. Photo by Vince Perraud

MEDIA rebel Jam BMX 2010 VP

L-R: Jam co-founder Mike Emde, X, Kay Clauberg and Vince Perraud. A heavy media selfie of sorts.

2011 – Netherlands / Eindhoven


Video Vault: DIG at Rebel Jam 2011

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It ain't much if it ain't Dutch.

"Another first-timer – we were going indoors! Holland has one of the raddest BMX scenes, and VANS wanted to give something back. When we got in touch with Pim van de Bos at 040 in Eindhoven in early 2011, they were going through a few issues with the city and their current indoor park. It was way too small for an event like rebeljam, but just across the road we found a great place. The only difference here was that, after the event, we couldn't leave the park where we built it, but all the dismantled wood got used for a fresh start-up of today's 040 BMX Park in Eindhoven. That event was a special one for me – it was one of the biggest we did, with insane riding and great parties. And we had flatland for the first time, in the award category as well. It was awesome!"

Dan lacey BMX 3ice rebel jam 2011 RA

Laceyw ith a wild 360 ice in 2011. Photos by Ricky Adam

2012 – Spain / Eurocamp

diogo santos bmx rebel jam 2012 FM

Maybe the first time we spotted this guy. Diogo Santos, backwards crook. Photo by Fred Murray

dan lacey bmx rebel jam 2012 FM

Lacey. Tooth - over tooth in 2012. Photos by Fred Murray

"After Axel Jurgens opened his doors for Eurocamp, it was clear that we needed to be there. Axel had always been trying to get us over for a visit to check it out, so when Mike made a trip there with his Carhartt team in 2010, I took the chance to join. I was hooked! You just can't beat that place. If you're into park or trails riding and into having a good time on the beach in summer, or in off-season, this is the place to be. Eurocamp already had a solid ramp set up thanks to the Nike event in Barcelona in 2010, so we committed to step it up even more. Axel and the Eurocamp crew recreated some of the old set up and attached about 50% of new elements. The entire place got overhauled and by the time it was ready, all riders came over and we celebrated a one-of-a-kind rebeljam. Flatland was again part of it, set on the beach with an unreal vibe, hosted by Darryl and Catfish."


Video Vault: DIG at The Rebel Jam 2012

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2014 – UK / London

This year seen the Rebel Jam come to London UK for the very first time on November 21-22nd and in another first it was a 100% street event with a course designed by Brain Kachinsky. There was also a '21 years of DIG Magazine' photo gallery at House of Vans which you can see a lot more about here too.


Vans Rebel Jam 2014

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To be Continued...