According to reports in Germany’s tagesspiegel.de paper over the weekend, plans are underway to revive the world famous Berlin Love Parade, 5 years after the 2010 disaster in which 21 people died and over 500 treated for injuries. Although scaled back and subject to rigorous safety and security standards from Berlin police, the organizers have formulated their political demands to be something more specific: It is to demonstrate against gentrification, poverty and exclusion – even the planned free trade agreement TTIP is criticized. At the same time, the demonstrators calling for a “human solution to the European refugee problem” and the preservation of “diverse music and dance events” in Berlin. The range of topics thus covers a lot of interests.
A total of ten cars are expected be set in motion on 25 July by 15 clock at the Karl-Marx-Allee / Warschauer Straße, at the Schilling bridge, it then moves over the Spree and then on the Köpenick road towards the south-east, past the Metro Station Silesian Gate and on to Treptower Park before the convoy after ten kilometers, the last major round around (not through) pulls Green and ends at Puschkinallee. On the route there will be many clubs hosting sound systems from the likes of Tresor, the Sage and the Nasty Coach House.
So what was the Berlin Love Parade?
According to Wikipedia, The parade first occurred in July 1989, when 150 people took to the streets in Berlin. 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 Großer 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.