Berlin Love Parade

In Brief

The Berlin Love Parade was one of the greatest street parties ever! It brought the city to a sweaty standstill every summer for 14 years, before moving on to other venues. In July 2010, the love came to an end with the death of 21 festival-goers in a crowd crush. These tragic deaths, and the 500 others injured, prompted the organisers to declare: "Out of respect for the victims, the Love Parade will never take place again."

The Love Parade peaked in the late naughties, but it came of age in 1999 when about 1.5 million people came together to celebrate the freedom of love and dance music. Up until 2003, Berlin's Love Parade was the place to be, but a clash over who should pay for the giant security and cleanup bill threw cold water on the hot times, and no parade took place again until 2006.

The 2007 Berlin parade was also cancelled, again after disputes with city authorities, but a decision was then made to move the whole shooting match to other venues. Essen and Dortmund took on the full blast of the festival in 2007 and 2008, and attendance figures actually rocketed.

Nobody knows exactly how many people crowded onto the streets of Duisburg for the 2010 parade - estimates range from 400,000 to 1.4 million - but whatever the reality, it was too many. For the first time, the event was held in a closed-off area, and the entrance to the site - a long tunnel - proved horribly inadequate. The 21 fatalities and over 500 injured were crushed in overcrowding on a ramp at one end of the tunnel.

About the Love Parade

An unstoppabble force
The Love Parade Berlin

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. Often, dancers sported bright, glowing colors, including furry leg-warmers and faux-feather boas - mixed with leather and S&M styles. Half the fun was seeing how far people would push it outside of their ordinary daily lives. Of course, one big party creates one big mess, and in some cases, crime - although the Love Parade was always relatively law abiding, despite its size. As early as 1997, the Love Parade went international, with the first offshoots taking place in Sydney, Buenos Aires and Leeds. The event became a regular feature on San Francisco's calendar too, but all these came to an end with the 2010 tragedy.

About Berlin

West and East collide

Berlin after 1989 was an amazing experience. Anybody who was there remembers it vividly and will tell tales of the energy and excitement of the two worlds - West and East - colliding like surf at the beach. But that was 20 years ago and much has changed. The sort of rawness, especially of East Berlin, has given way to a first-class city. Business mingles easily with pleasure and electronic music has evolved into countless forms. From amazing shopping to clubs and pubs, Berlin is still the place to be. If you're planning a visit, our partners can help you arrange your hotel and tours. If you're on the cheap, check out Berlin Hostels, and be sure to read up on the sights and things to do in the city. See you here!