Neon body paint, thong vests and no-frills four-to-the-floor beats return to the streets of Berlin this weekend as legendary techno event Love Parade makes a comeback in the German capital after more than 15 years.
Saturday’s open-air event has a new name – Rave the Planet Parade – but is being organized by some of the same people who put together the first Love Parade on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“The original spirit of the Love Parade has not been present since 2003,” said founder Matthias Roeingh, aka Dr. Motte, the electronic music magazine Resident Advisor. “Now is the time to reactivate this spirit and make it tangible for everyone.”
The Love Parade, under its old name, was halted in 2010 when 21 people suffocated and 652 others were injured in a mass disaster in Duisburg’s Weststadt district, where the event had been relocated after the sale of the naming rights to a chain owner of gyms in 2005.
The new non-profit parade starts at 2 p.m. and runs 7 km across the German capital, from Kurfürstendamm in the west to the Großer Stern roundabout in Tiergarten, where a final rally will take place.
Originally scheduled for 2021 but postponed due to the pandemic, the event was funded with small donations that allowed donors to buy mini raver figures added to a model parade on display in Berlin-Mitte and “Fundraver” livestream DJ -Sets.
Organizers said the parade was registered as a demonstration with 25,000 participants – a far cry from the 1.5 million who paraded through Berlin at the height of the Love Parade in 1999, but also a larger crowd than the 150 ravers at the opening event.
Around 150 electronic artists will perform on floats representing Berlin, Sweden, Belgium, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine and the Netherlands, among others. A UK move is being organized by Save Our Scene, a campaign set up to keep Britain’s independent electronic music scene alive during the Covid-19 crisis.
If the original motto of the Love Parade, Peace, joy and pancakes (“Peace, Joy, Pancakes”) was cheerfully nihilistic, the Rave the Planet Parade presents itself in a slightly more serious guise.
Organizers told the Guardian they have stayed in touch with the friends and families of the Duisburg crush victims and, after consulting with them, decided against holding a memorial service.
Instead, political demands in German and English will ring out from loudspeakers every hour, sometimes seriously, sometimes with a wink.
These include demands for an end to the decades-old “ban on dancing” on Good Friday, an unconditional basic income for artists and cultural workers, and the recognition of Berlin’s techno culture as an intangible cultural heritage in the UNESCO inventory.
The plan for Sunday is to recruit volunteers to track down ravers and collect rubbish. Confetti, organizers warn, looks pretty but isn’t biodegradable.
The Techno Parade is celebrating a comeback in Berlin around four months after the Berlin nightclubs reopened in early March after almost two years of closure and strict hygiene regulations.
During the Clubland shutdown, many young Berliners discovered makeshift parties in the city’s public parks as an acceptable alternative and seem to have gotten a taste for outdoor clubbing: the Berlin Senate is debating a ban on alcohol in parks to curb the ongoing partying.