3. Commodification.

Themed experiences that exclude negativity are more memorable1, but does that make them authentic? The Cambridge Dictionary2 defines something as being authentic whenit is real, true, or what people say it is”.

What I associate with it, is that someone is being authentic, when they are true to themselves. However, the Love Parade was reborn as a commodity in 2006, as a street party, and in my opinion thereby lost its roots and meaning. Debord3 states that “..the spectacle is both the outcome and the goal of the dominant mode of production. […] It is the omnipresent celebration of a choice already made in the sphere of production..” (§6), which reflects the shift of the Love Parade from being a protest to a world wide anticipated street festival.

In ‘The McDonaldization of Society’, Ritzer4 talks about a homogenised society. The Love Parade experienced homogenisation through its world wide duplication. Ritzer4 developed four themes of the homogenisation: efficiency, predictability, calculability and control. These four themes have one purpose: to make money, which often leads to sacrificing quality over profit4. I believe that his themes of homogenisation can be applied to the Love Parade’s shift into a commodity. The reborn version of the Love Parade focused on efficiency, which in my eyes ultimately caused a loss of the events meaning. Predictability causes homogenisation4 which was achieved through the world wide adoption of the Love Parades idea, and the expansion of the Love Parade within Germany itself. Calculability causes the sacrifice of quality over quantity for profit4, and the Love Parade has sacrificed quality over quantity, which I believe may have been the cause for the tragic events in 2010. This leads me to the last theme of control over uncertainties4, which can be applied to the risk management of events. Risk management can be defined as “the process of identifying, evaluating, selecting, and implementing actions to reduce risk to human health and to ecosystems” (p.18)5. It appears to me that the organisers of the Love Parade have not thoroughly evaluated the risks of the last Love Parade in 2010, which for the first time ever was staged at an enclosed area, and thereby sacrificed quality over quantity. What exactly happened in 2010 is explained in this video6.

Debord3 believed that “..the commodity contemplates itself in a world of its own making..” (§53) which is the society of the spectacle. Considering his thesis and all other theories applied, made me wonder if the commercialisation of the Love Parade may have triggered the 2010 disaster and if it may have been avoided, not only through adequate risk assessment, but also by letting the protest be a protest, and nothing more.

1PINE, B. J., GILMORE, J. H., 1998. Welcome to the Experience Economy. Harvard Business Review [online]. [viewed 28 October 2016]. Available from: http://rushkolnik.ru/tw_files/4995/d-4994348/7z-docs/4.pdf

2CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY, 2016. Authentic [online]. [viewed 06 November 2016]. Available from: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/authentic

3DEBORD, G., 1994. The Society of the Spectacle [online]. New York: Zone Books. Translation published by Donald Nicholson-Smith. [viewed 27 September 2016]. Available from: http://antiworld.se/project/references/texts/The_Society%20_Of%20_The%20_Spectacle.pdf

4RITZER, G., 1983. The McDonaldization of Society. Journal of American Culture [online]. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 371-379. [viewed 4 October 2016]. Available from: http://fasnafan.tripod.com/mcdonaldization.pdf

5EARL, C., 2006. Public Health Management at Outdoor Music Festivals [online]. [viewed 4 November 2016]. Available from: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/16235/1/Cameron_Earl_Thesis.pdf

6LOVEPARADEDUISBURG, 2010. Official Documentary of the Loveparade 2010 Desaster (ENGLISH!) [online platform YouTube]. [viewed 6 November 2016]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y73-7lFBNE