What started off as a birthday party/150 men demonstration for peace, happiness and equal food distribution for all in 1989 in Berlin, tragically ended two decades later with the death of 21 people, due to major security and logistical issues, at one of the worlds biggest street festivals that drew 1.5 million visitors in 19991 and 1.6 million visitors almost a decade later in 20082.
The ‘Love Parade’ took place as a demonstration for something positive rather than against something negative, under a yearly changing apolitical motto to celebrate the good¹. It rapidly grew since its first demonstration in 1989, which first led to problems with the senate of Berlin in 1994 as it believed the demonstration does merely follow political motivation any more, and mainly focuses on the entertainment of its attendees¹. After its first peek event in 1999 with over 1.5 million attendees, the organisers experienced financial issues due to a decrease in numbers, and ultimately caused the organisers to cancel the demonstration for two years in a row in 2004 and 2005¹.
The difficulties with the Berlin senate and the vast change in attendance numbers led to a relocation of the demonstration to a bigger space in Berlin City, and a few years later to different cities in Central-/Western-Germany. The first step towards commodification was made when the commercial company Love Parade GmbH was founded in 1996¹. After its two year break, the Love Parade officially returned as a street festival¹. The commodification of the demonstration/festival caused an increase in attendance which mounted in the most successful event for the Love Parade in 2008 with over 1.6 million attendees². The tragic events of the last Love Parade in summer 2010 brought an end to an era and leaves me questioning if the commodification3 of the event might have been the trigger?
1MAYER, F., 2002. Origins, commodification, and significance of Berlin’s Love Parade [online]. [viewed 28 October 2016]. Available from: http://www.grin.com/en/e-book/9037/origins-commodification-and-significance-of-berlin-s-love-parade
2SPIEGEL ONLINE, 2008. Techno Festival Breaks Record With 1.6 Million [online]. [viewed 28 October 2016]. Available from: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/love-parade-dortmund-techno-festival-breaks-record-with-1-6-million-a-567018.html