Love Parade

Love Parade

The Love Parade (German: "Loveparade") is a popular festival and parade that originated in 1989 in Berlin, Germany, and is held annually since then.

Internationally, spin-off Love Parades have occurred in Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Acapulco, Vienna, Cape Town, San Francisco, Leeds, Sydney, Santiago, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest.


The Love Parade has its roots in the spirit of a changing Europe. In 1989, it was first celebrated four months before the demolition of the Berlin Wall. It was started by the fresh Berlin Underground under the initiative of Matthias Roeingh aka "Dr. Motte". It was held as a political demonstration for peace and international understanding through music.

Until 1996, the parade was held on the famous Berlin "Kurfürstendamm". Since by then, not only the Kurfürstendamm was overcrowded but the streets and even railway tracks near the Ku'damm too, the parade moved to the "Straße des 17. Juni" which is near the Tiergarten Park in the center of Berlin by the Brandenburg Gate and provided plenty of space. The center of the parade is the "Siegessäule" in the middle of the park, and the golden angel on top of the column has become a symbol of the parade.

Many people from Germany, Poland, and other countries travel to Berlin to take part in the Parade—over a million attended in the years 1997 through 2000 and 800,000 in 2001. Attendance at the 2001 festival was significantly lower because the date of the parade was changed with little advance notice. 2002 and 2003 also saw lower figures, and in 2004 and 2005 the parade was canceled due to funding difficulties. 2004 did however host a scaled-down version which served more as a mini-protest, and was promoted with the title 'Love Weekend'. Dozens of clubs promoted the weekend-long event all over the city, with various clubs staying open for 3 days straight without closing. In 2006, the parade made a comeback with the help of German exercise studio McFit.

The Love Parade 2007 was planned for July 7, 2007 in Berlin. However, the Berlin event was cancelled in February as the Senate of Berlin had not issued the necessary permissions at that time. After negotiations with several German cities, on July 21, it was announced that the Love Parade would move to the Ruhr Area for the next five years. The first event took place in Essen on August 25. The Parade in Essen saw 1.2 million visitors in comparison to the 500.000 who attended the 2006 parade in Berlin.

In 2008, the festival took place in Dortmund on July 19 on the Bundesstraße 1 under the motto "Highway of Love". The event was planned as a "Love Weekend", with parties throughout the region. The official estimate is that 1.6 million visitors attended, which makes it the largest love parade to date. [Citation
last = Volmerich
first = Oliver
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Feucht, fröhlich, friedlich
newspaper = Ruhr Nachtrichten, Dortmunder Zeitung
pages = DOLO1x1
year =
date = 2008-07-21
url =
, in German

The next parades are planned to take place in Bochum, Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg.

The music played at the events is predominantly electronic dance music: in this case mainly Trance, House, Techno, and Schranz music. Attempts to introduce other music styles, such as hip hop, have failed. Hardcore and Gabber music were part of the parade in early years, but were later removed. They are now celebrated separately on a counter-demonstration called "Fuckparade".

The love parade is seen to be louder and more crowded than most concerts. With its water-cooled sound systems on every truck, the parade produces an extremely loud sound floor.Fact|date=July 2008 The parade consists of the sound trucks that usually feature local, or important, clubs and their DJs. It has become a rule that only trucks that have sponsors from a techno related field, such as clubs, labels or stores, are allowed, but advertising space was increased after the 2006 event to offset the high costs of equipping a truck. The trucks are usually open on top and feature dancers, with box-systems mounted on the side or rear.

Love Parade is a place where some exhibit and enjoy other people's exhibitionist tendencies.Fact|date=July 2008 Some attendees enjoy carrying around toys such as pacifiers or facing masks. Often the crowd is imaginative in terms of clothing (or lack thereof) and appearance.

One famous picture from the Love Parade is people sitting and dancing on streetlamps, trees, commercial signs, telephone booths, which gave the event's nickname "the greatest amateur circus on earth".

The Love Parade has been quite peaceful for event of its size, seeing only little arrests. In 2008, for example, charges were pressed for 6 robberies, 3 sexually-related offences, 40 thefts. 23 participants were caught with drugs and 49 were charged with bodily harm. 177 Love Parade visitors were provisionally arrested by the police. [Citation
title=Friedliche Party
newspaper=Ruhr Nachrichten, Loveparade 2008 Dortmund
, in German
] Arrests are usually related to drug crimes and most other incidents feature mostly people passing out due to dehydration or hyperthermia. In 2000, after the parade, a girl under the influence of ecstasy was run over by an S-Bahn after she had been leaning on the door too hard.

The finale of the demonstration is by the so-called "Abschlusskundgebung" which are half-hour sets of the world's leading top DJs such as DJ Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, Carl Cox, Armin Van Buuren, DJ Rush, DJ Hell, Westbam, Drum Connection, Miss Djax or Chris Liebing. During this time all trucks (usually about 40) are connected to each other and set online to the statue of victory where the turntables are. This is one of the few chances a DJ can ever have to play for a crowd of about one million people.

At the weekend of the Love Parade many clubs hold special events and parties and book well-known DJs for this occasion. Parties range from clubs with a hundred mostly exclusive guests, to almost raves with several floors and ten thousand dancers. Many people used to come to Berlin only for the parties and miss the parade in order to sleep.Fact|date=July 2008 Or they enjoy it with other "ravers" in the park right next to the parade route.

Together with Mayday, Nature One the Love Parade is one of the oldest and largest Festivals of Electronic music

Love Parade International

There are similar festivals in other cities like Zürich's Street Parade, Rotterdam's FFFW Dance Parade and Love Parades in Vienna. In 1997 a Love Parade was held in Sydney, Australia. Unlike its overseas counterparts, however, it was a smaller "rave party" version of the festival, held at the infamous Graffiti Hall of Fame in Redfern. In 2000 a Love Parade was held in Roundhay Park, Leeds, United Kingdom sponsored by BBC Radio 1. In 2001, the official UK parade had moved to Newcastle upon Tyne but was cancelled after the police refused a license: BBC Radio 1 still hosted a more contained event, however. Since then no Love Parade had occurred in the United Kingdom.

After being held in the North-American Continent for the first time in Mexico (2002), in the fall of 2004, the Love Parade was held in San Francisco. They had held their inaugural Parade in September 2004 with 37,000 attending. The parade was held again in San Francisco in September 2005 as a rousing success drawing over 50-60,000 people. In 2006, the parade was held on September 23 and was renamed Love Fest because the Loveparade Berlin organization did not renew any of their worldwide licenses not already under contract so they could focus on their own event. The first Love Parade in Santiago was held in 2005 and gathered over 100,000 people; the 2006 version gathered over 200,000 people. The first Love Parade in Caracas was held in June 2007 and gathered over 25,000 people.

Legal issues

Under German law the state has to pay for security during political demonstrations as well as cleaning up the streets after the demonstration. In case of a commercial event however, the organizer has to pay for all this. For a large event like the Love Parade the costs are quite high: an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 Euro.

The Love Parade was initially held as a "political demonstration" to save costs; however it is organized by two companies set up just for the Love Parade. The name of the demonstration, Love Parade, is a registered trademark and the organizing companies have been busy getting license fees for the use of their name. This not only included merchandise and CDs but also fees for participating clubs, vendors of soft drinks and the like along the streets and even broadcasting fees for the TV stations MTV and Germany's counterpart, VIVA, along with, for the first time, Germany's RTL 2. Love Parade 2006 was the first time in that Berlin's RBB did not broadcast direct from the Siegessäule.

Due to this there were arguments between the organizers and the city of Berlin every year about the status of the Love Parade and who should bear what costs. Finally in 2001, the courts ruled that the Love Parade had to be held as commercial event. In 2004, the organizers claimed they do not have the necessary funds anymore to host it again. Since there are numerous other Love Parade-like but commercial events in Germany, there are speculations that the funding is not, or at least is not the only reason, for the cancellation, the other being the fast dropping number of participants.


Every German parade has its own Anthem.

List of Love Parades

"Note": The "Participants" figure is the estimate given by the organizers. Police estimates have been as much as 30% lower. Accurate counts are not available since entry is free and uncontrolled. The mayor of Dortmund and the police confirmed the amount of Participants in Dortmund. cite news| url = | title = Loveparade bricht Besucherrekord | date = 2008-07-21 | accessdate = 2008-07-21 | publisher = | format = News article | location = Germany] cite news| url = | title = 1,6 Mio. Menschen feiern in Dortmund | date = 2008-07-21 | accessdate = 2008-07-21 | publisher = | format = News article | location = Germany] cite news| url = | title = Raver-Rekord im Ruhrgebiet | date = 2008-07-21 | accessdate = 2008-07-21 | publisher = | format = News article | location = Germany]

External links

* [ Love Parade 2008 in Dortmund - Official Site]
* [ Berlin Life: 'The Death of Dance?' A history of the Berlin Love Parade]
* [ San Francisco Love Fest (formerly Love Parade San Francisco)]


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