Love Parade

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Love Parade
Location(s)Various locations in Germany
Years active1989–2003; 2006–2008; 2010
GenreElectronic dance music festival and parade
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Love Parade
Location(s)Various locations in Germany
Years active1989–2003; 2006–2008; 2010
GenreElectronic dance music festival and parade

The Love Parade (German: Loveparade) was a popular electronic dance music festival and parade that originated in 1989 in West Berlin, Germany. It has been held annually in Germany 1989-2003 in Berlin, then again in 2006 in Berlin and from 2007 to 2010 in the Ruhr region. The 2004 and 2005 events in Berlin and the 2009 event in Bochum [1] were cancelled.

On 24 July 2010, a crowd rush at the Love Parade caused the death of 21 people, with at least 500 others injured.[2] As a consequence of this, the organiser of the festival announced that no further Love Parades would be held and that the festival was permanently cancelled.[3][4][5]



Siegessäule, Love Parade 2001
Dancer, Love Parade 2001
Rainer Schaller, president and chief executive officer of McFit and the Love Parade organizing company Lopavent

The parade first occurred just months before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It was started by the Berlin underground at the initiative of Matthias Roeingh (also known as "Dr Motte") and his then girlfriend Danielle de Picciotto. It was conceived as a political demonstration for peace and international understanding through love and music. It was supposed to be a bigger birthday party for Roeingh, later "Dr Motte", and the motto Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen (in English — Peace, Joy, Pancakes) stood for disarmament (peace), music (joy) and a fair food production/distribution (pancakes). Roeingh dissociated himself from the parade in 2006 because of the commercialization of the event.

The parade was held on the Berlin Kurfürstendamm (avenue) until 1996. Because of overcrowding on the Kurfürstendamm, the festival moved to the Straße des 17. Juni in the Tiergarten park in the center of Berlin. The festival became centered around the Siegessäule in the middle of the park; and the golden angel atop the column became the parade's emblem.

Many people from Germany and abroad traveled 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 cancelled because of funding difficulties and coordinated opposition from most of Germany's green parties. The parade had inspired opposition because of the damage to the Tiergarten by participants, who were provided with insufficient toilet facilities. Opponents allegedly complicated matters for organisers by booking their own events in Berlin and so to exclude the parade from being able to register with city police. In 2004, however, a scaled-down version took place 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 three 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 7 July 2007 in Berlin. However, the Berlin event was cancelled in February because the Senate of Berlin did not issue the necessary permits at that time. After negotiations with several German cities, on 21 July, it was announced that the parade would move to the Ruhr Area for the next five years. The first event took place in Essen on 25 August. 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 19 July on the Bundesstraße 1 under the motto Highway of Love. The event was planned as a "Love Weekend", with parties throughout the region. For the first time the Turkish electronic scene was represented by its own float, called "Turkish Delights". The official estimate is that 1.6 million visitors attended, making it the largest parade to date.[6]

The 2009 event, planned for Bochum, was cancelled; a year later, the deaths of twenty-one attendees at the Duisburg venue prompted the parade's organiser Rainer Schaller to declare an end to the festival. "The Love Parade has always been a peaceful party, but it will forever be overshadowed by the accident, so out of respect for the victims the Love Parade will never take place again," Schaller said.[7] The parade was one of the oldest and largest festivals of electronic music, together with Zurich's Streetparade, Mayday and Nature One.


The music played at the events was 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 parade was seen to be louder and more crowded than most concerts. With its water-cooled sound systems on every truck, the parade produced an extremely loud sound floor.[citation needed] After the 2001 arrangement, veterinarians at the Berlin Zoo blamed the parade for giving more than half of its animals diarrhea. Chairman Heiner Kloes said veterinarians told him the heavy bass was to blame for disturbing the animals.[8] The parade consisted of the sound trucks that usually featured local, or important, clubs and their DJs. It had become a rule that only trucks that had sponsors from a techno-related field, such as clubs, labels or stores, were allowed, but advertising space was increased after the 2006 event to offset the high costs of equipping a truck.[citation needed] The trucks were usually open on top and feature dancers, with box-systems mounted on the side or rear.

The parade was a place where some exhibited and enjoyed other people's exhibitionist tendencies.[citation needed] Some attendees enjoyed carrying around toys such or other items such as dummies (pacifiers) or face masks. Often the crowd was imaginative in terms of clothing (or lack thereof) and appearance.

One famous picture from the 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"[citation needed].

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, Marusha 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.

During the weekend of the parade many clubs held special events and parties and booked well-known DJs. Parties ranged from clubs with one 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.[citation needed] Or they enjoyed it with other "ravers" in the park right next to the parade route.


The parade was quite peaceful for an event of its size, seeing few arrests. In 2008, for example, charges were pressed for six robberies, three sexually related offences and forty thefts. Twenty-three participants were caught with drugs and forty-nine were charged with bodily harm. There were 177 parade visitors provisionally arrested by the police.[9] 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.

2010 accident

At the 2010 Love Parade in Duisburg, the number of people attending allegedly reached 1.4 million – the original expectation was around 800,000 – whereas police believed around 400,000 people were present.[10] 21 people were killed, and more than 500 injured, in an incident near an overcrowded tunnel leading into the festival. At least 20 casualties resulted from suffocation, caused by crowd pressure.[citation needed]

So far nobody has been held financially responsible for this tragic event and the gathering of at least twice the capacity of people at the Duisburg grounds, and German authorities are no longer searching for those who took large profits.

Safety experts and a fire service investigator had previously warned that the site was not suitable for the numbers expected to attend.[7] Rainer Schaller, the festival's organizer and chief executive officer, later said the festival would not continue in future, thus ending the festival.

A preliminary investigation of the ministry of the interior placed heavy blame on the organizers around Rainer Schaller. Schaller in turn claimed that errors by the police in controlling streams of visitors led to the accident.[11]

Love Parade International

There are similar festivals in other cities like Zürich's Street Parade, Geneva's Lake Parade, Rotterdam's FFWD 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. On Saturday 8 July 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 which was to have seen a parade through the streets of Newcastle before ending up on Town Moor but was cancelled after the police refused a license: BBC Radio 1 still hosted a more contained event, however.[12] Since then no Love Parade had taken place in the United Kingdom.

Loveparade 2007 in Essen.

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 23 September 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. 2009 was the biggest success of LOVEVOLUTION (formerly Lovefest/Love Parade) with over 100,000 people. 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.

Internationally, spin-off Love Parades have taken place in:

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 the case of a commercial event however, the organizer must cover these expenses. For a large event like the Love Parade the costs are quite high: an estimated €300,000 to €400,000.

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 was a dispute 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.[citation needed]


Every German parade has had its own anthem.

1997Dr. Motte and WestBamSunshine
1998Dr. Motte and WestBamOne World One Future
1999Dr. Motte and WestBamMusic Is the Key
2000Dr. Motte and WestBamLove Parade 2000
2001The Love CommitteeYou Can't Stop Us
2002The Love CommitteeAccess Peace
2003The Love CommitteeLove Rules
2006WestBam & the Love CommitteeUnited States of Love
2007WestBam & the Love CommitteeLove Is Everywhere (New Location)
2008WestBam & the Love CommitteeHighway to Love
2010Anthony RotherThe Art of Love

List of Love Parades

Dancer in cyborg costume, Love Parade 2001
1989BerlinFriede, Freude, Eierkuchen
(Eng.) Peace, Joy, Pancakes
1990BerlinThe Future Is Ours2,000
1991BerlinMy House Is Your House And Your House Is Mine6,000
1992BerlinThe Spirit Makes You Move15,000
1993BerlinThe Worldwide Party People Weekend31,000
1994BerlinLove 2 Love110,000
1995BerlinPeace on Earth280,000
1996BerlinWe Are One Family750,000
1997BerlinLet the Sunshine In Your Heart1,000,000
1998BerlinOne World One Future800,000
1999BerlinMusic Is The Key1,500,000
2000BerlinOne World One Loveparade1,300,000
2000LeedsRadio One – One Love300,000
2001BerlinJoin The Love Republic800,000
2001Newcastle upon Tyne (cancelled)
2002BerlinAccess Peace750,000
2002Mexico City
2003BerlinLove Rules750,000
2004San Francisco
2005San Francisco
2005SantiagoSal a la calle y baila (eng. Get out there and dance)100,000
2006BerlinThe Love is Back1,200,000
2006San Francisco (as LoveFest)
2006SantiagoEl Baile es de Todos200,000
2007EssenLove is everywhere1,200,000
2007CaracasLive the Love!80,000
2007San Franciscoas LoveFest89,000
2008DortmundHighway to love1,600,000
2008RotterdamOlympic Edition500,000
2008San Franciscoas LoveFest[13]120,000
2008CaracasKeep the Love Alive!
2009Bochum (cancelled)
2009San Franciscoas LovEvolution[14]150,000
2010DuisburgThe Art of Love1,400,000

The "Participants" figure is the estimate given by the organizers. Police estimates have been as much as 30% lower. The numbers of the Ruhr Love Parades have probably been tripled.[15] Accurate counts are not available since entry is free and uncontrolled. The mayor of Dortmund and the police confirmed the number of participants in Dortmund.[16][17][18]

See also


  1. ^ [dead link]"Loveparade 2009 Fällt Komplett Aus" (in German language). Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). 15 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Love Parade report blames organisers for stampede – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2010). "Organisers Blamed for German Love Parade Deaths — Survivors of a Stampede at a Free Dance Music Festival in Germany in which 19 People Were Killed Have Blamed Organisers for the Deaths". BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Mara, Darren; Levitz, David (25 July 2010)."Prosecutors Launch Investigation into Love Parade Tragedy — German State Prosecutors Have Opened an Investigation into the Stampede that Killed 19 People and Injured Hundreds at the Love Parade Music Festival in Duisburg — But Questions Remain as to What Caused the Tragedy". The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse (via Deutsche Welle). Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  5. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2010). "No More Love Parades, Organiser Says — The Love Parade Will Never Be Held Again, Organiser Rainer Schaller Said on Sunday at a Highly-Emotional Press Conference". The Local. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Volmerich, Oliver (21 July 2008). "Feucht, fröhlich, friedlich". Ruhr Nachrichten, Dortmunder Zeitung: pp. DOLO1x1 , in German language
  7. ^ a b Connolly, Kate (25 July 2010). "Prosecutors Investigate 'Ignored' Safety Warnings after 19 Die in Love Parade Crush — Organisers Allowed Just One Entrance to Music Festival Grounds for Expected Crowd of 1.4 Million, Witnesses Say". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  8. ^ visited 25 July 2010.
  9. ^ Anon (21 July 2008). "Friedliche Party". Ruhr Nachrichten, Loveparade 2008 Dortmund: pp. LPDO1 , in German
  10. ^ "Love Parade Tragedy: No Resignations, Just Unanswered Questions – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International". 24 July 2010.,1518,708676,00.html. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Jetzt 21 Tote durch Loveparade-Katastrophe – Deutschland & Welt – Rhein-Zeitung".,-Jetzt-21-Tote-durch-Loveparade-Katastrophe-_arid,117302.html. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "Tyne – Love Parade". BBC. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Staff writer (21 July 2008). "Loveparade Bricht Besucherrekord" (in German language). Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Staff writer (undated). "1,6 Mio. Menschen Feiern in Dortmund" (in German language). Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  18. ^ Staff writer (19 July 2008). "Loveparade in Dortmund — Raver-Rekord im Ruhrgebiet" (in German language). Tagesschau. Retrieved 27 July 2010. [dead link]

External links