Survivors describe painful memories of Love Parade disaster
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Back when it was booming, the Berlin Love Parade grew from an expression of solidarity and freedom after the fall of the Berlin Wall into a giant dance music phenomenon. The Love Parade was the elixir of the early post-Communist era. The sheer size of the parade itself meant it was somewhat loosely organised at best, but once it got going in the mid-afternoon, it was an unstoppable force, crossing the city then melting into a seemingly infinite number of afterparties in clubs, flats and anywhere two people could get together. One of the most common expressions of the parade was the hedonistic clothing, brought on by the youth-loving and tolerant crowd of straight and gay participants. Half the fun was seeing how far people would push it outside of their ordinary daily lives.
In the aftermath of the acid house and techno booms in the late s and early s, Berlin and Frankfurt have dominated conversations about Germany in the international club culture cannon. A sound system was erected, the police agreed to block the street from cars and a spontaneous open-air ensued. The most mythologized Berlin club had modest beginnings. Bar25 eventually evolved into a multifaceted wonderland that offered a spa, a hostel, a restaurant, a cinema, various dance floors and the longest, most excessive parties one could imagine—but only between May and October. But nobody seemed to care. In , a former kitchen of the then-closed airport Munich Riem became the first bona fide techno club in southern Germany. The responsible crew already had three years of experience throwing parties and raves in off-locations, but turning their successful event series into a club proved more difficult than they had anticipated.
The row between Kulturkosmos, organizers of the festival, and police is threatening to cancel the festival for the very first time. The owners have started a petition, which had upwards of 56, signatures early on Monday evening. The police have called for a police presence in the centre of the festival, saying that they are dissatisfied with the organizers' security systems and want to ensure the safety of festival attendees. Aside from a centrally-located temporary station, police have sought permission to have plain-clothed officers walk around the five-day festival. The organizers have hit back, arguing that the requests are excessive and that they are being punished for an abstract threat and pointing out that there has been only one incident of violence in the festival's history. They argue that allowing unmarked officers to patrol the festival would be contrary to its ethos of freedom of artistic expression. The festival averages 70, attendees from all across Germany and the world.
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It was conceived as a political demonstration, with Roeingh using the international language of music as a platform to spread ideas of peace and love. Their message was tied together under the banner of love and with a soundtrack of techno. However, critics of the rave say these philanthropic sentiments remained secondary pursuits, behind the main goal of throwing drug-fueled raves. Whatever its motives, the small but impactful event quickly grew in popularity, reaching its peak in the nineties. The epochal event engulfed West Berlin, in an explosion of sound and colour as jovial participants took to the streets, dressed in their best rave gear, in the name of love. Initially, organisers were able to dodge this cost, as the parade was, in theory, a political demonstration, meaning the state government had to bear the huge bill for both security and mass clean-ups. Attendance at the parade this year was significantly lower because the date was changed with little advance notice.
Christopher Street Day