Welcome back to our 2nd part. The legendary parade shall return, but this thrilling plan has also a long and also thrilling history. Too much for a single article, so here is the second part of two.
Dennis Sy & Thomas Tischhauser
By 1999, the Loveparade had grown to be a mass event, with up to 1.5 million visitors attending that year. However, in that year there was an extremely unfortunate event. A 27-year-old man was stabbed to death with a knife.
Critics and even more critics
With so many people attending the event (the number of visitors making up almost half the population of the city of Berlin), there city’s infrastructure was put under considerable pressure in the years surrounding the millennium. The criticism of the event and the strain that it put on the city grew louder and louder, and a state of emergency was put into effect during these years when the event was taking place.
By 2001, things were not going well. That year, the date had to be postponed by one week, which had caused considerable additional costs. Then, the Loveparade was stripped of its title as a political demonstration. As a result, the Love Parade GmbH had to pay the costs of cleaning and security for the event, which were enormous costs due to the huge number of visitors who attend the events. As a direct result, more and more sponsors pulled out of sponsoring the Loveparade.
Bad vibes and cancellations
In the years following (2002-2003), things began to take a sour turn, as record labels could not afford to pay due to ever-increasing fees. More and more record labels began to cancel from participating in the Loveparade. The 2003 edition still took place, but this was mostly due to the Berlin fair company, as they expected good income from catering. However, the visitors did not come away with the same impression as they had before. Many people were disappointed by the event and by the barriers, increased surveillance and the perceived decrease in freedom at the event.
Consequently, the 2004 and 2005 editions of the Loveparade were cancelled. Sponsors were non-existent, and fixed costs amounting to several hundred thousand Euros were not paid. As a result, the managing director Fabian Lenz resigned.
In 2004 several discotheques joined forces and organized a ‘Love Week’ with various special events. In addition, Partysan organized a protest to try to save the Loveparade (about 10,000 people attended).
Return of the Loveparade GmbH
By 2006, the Loveparade Berlin GmbH was back and they announced the return of the Loveparade (which was take place on the 15th July 2006). The motto of this year was ‘The love is back’ Additionally, the number of genres that were being played at Loveparade expanded dramatically. For many people, this was the absolute death blow to the Loveparade, as it was the sign that it had become completely commercial.
In 2007, according to the Loveparade Berlin GmbH, there was no permission granted from the authorities for the event to go ahead (at least none until early that year). As such, it was announced that the event in Berlin would be cancelled that year (according to the Loveparade Berlin GmbH). However, the real reasons why it did not go ahead remain a mystery – it has been suspected that there was a dispute between Mr. Schaller and the Lord Mayor of Berlin.
Loveparade without Berlin
Despite the announcement of the cancellation in Berlin, Mr. Schaller remained in good spirits about the size of the crowd that could be drawn – he even said that he expected the Loveparade to still go ahead. But in a different city (at the time, Stuttgart, Leipzig, and the Ruhr area with Essen and Dortmund were put forward as potential candidates to hold the Loveparade 2007).
In June 2007, it was confirmed that the 17th Loveparade would be moved from its birthplace in Berlin to Essen – and the festival took place that year on the 25th August 2007 in Essen. By 2008, however, the Loveparade had moved again – this time to Dortmund. According to the organizers, police, and the Lord Mayor, it was estimated that 1.6 million people would descend on Dortmund for the Loveparade in 2008. However, research has since contradicted these figures, estimating that only about 900,000 people attended that year.
In 2009, the Loveparade in Bochum should have alerted people to what was to come of the legendary Loveparade. That’s when people should have realized that the event had turned into something far from its original idea and conception (being for the love of music), into something that was just about money. Back then, the 2009 event was cancelled due to the lack of space in accommodating the number of attendees, and the then chief of police, Thomas Wenner, who was instrumental in the cancellation that year, was forced into early retirement. In fact, it was lucky that this happened that year, that there was a forewarning for what the Loveparade would look like in the future. Otherwise, this would only have been brought forward another year when people were really looking forward to the 2010 edition.
Nevertheless, many of those in charge should have taken notice! In the prior year, 1.6 million people were said to have attended the event in Dortmund and the following year people are expected to turn up for an event on that size in a city that does not have the capacity for it. That does not make any sense.
In the year following, the organizers then moved the Loveparade to Duisburg. There, the event was fenced and there was only a single entrance and exit to the site, for the first time ever. This turned out later to be fatal. If the organizers had heeded what Mr. Wenner had been saying, then the event should never have taken place that year. For the very fact that several WWII bombs had been discovered and then defused on the grounds behind the fencing after the event, the event should never have taken place!
As a result of greed and very poor planning, 21 young people (who had their whole life ahead of them) died in an accident that year. Those who lost their lives will forever live on in our hearts and nobody will forget them!
Shortly afterwards, it was announced that the Loveparade will never take place as it was again.
A movement with, and a brand, with good intentions – that which stood for love, joy and so much more (and that tried to achieve peace through its actions and movement) was destroyed after almost 20 years by recklessness and greed. Even now, the scars and the grief that that accident caused still remain (10 years later).
But Berlin would not be Berlin if its people did not bounce back. On the 25th of July 2015, the first march as a procession of love through the city of Berlin was held. This did not see itself as the successor to the Loveparade, but more as a political demonstration, which would set an example to the world, advocating for more compassion, charity and social commitment.
The parade is back
And this year (10 years after the tragedy of 2010), there was some very exciting news. Mr. Loveparade himself, and his partners, announced a new parade and a new not-for-profit organization named ‘Rave The Planet’ (which will take place on 9th July 2022 in Berlin).
This is a throw-back to the beginning of the Loveparade. Since the beginning of this year, everyone has been able to contribute to help revive a piece of history, by making a small donation to the future of this new event. There has been a fundraising initiative, as well as the creation of a model of the ‘Straße des 17Junis’ from the Siegessäule to the Brandenburger Tor – the organizers made it possible that anyone could buy a figurine that will be placed in this model so that anyone can be a part of history!
I can only wish the team around Dr. Motte the best and I hope that the Loveparade (with its other names, and other forms) can live on from its original concept and continue to inspire the world.