THE SOFT PARADE

Skies are grey, attendance is down...the polar opposite of Brighton then...

On the same day that FATBOY SLIM brought chaos to BRIGHTON BEACH, the BERLIN LOVE PARADE went ahead on Saturday (July 13) under grey skies and an attendance estimated at 400,000, well down on last year’s one million.

The event, which is in its 14th year, saw its popularity peak in 2000, when 1.4million people partied through the streets of the German capital. However, that was also the year that many Berliners reckoned the event became detached from its countercultural roots, especially when ‘Big Brother’ contestants were seen on one of the floats organised by the city’s clubs.

Some observers have suggested numbers may be down because Berlin is simply partied out following the gay Christopher Street parade and World Cup Final celebrations over the past month. The event was also undoubtedly affected by the storms that had swept Berlin four days before the Love Parade, killing eight people.

This was undoubtedly a more commercial Love Parade than before, dominated by trance and floats sponsored by clubs from outside the city. The atmosphere was good-humoured, although drug casualties were plentiful.

However, it was in the after-parties in the city’s clubs over the weekend that the spirit of the original Love Parade was to be found. East Berlin club Ostgut saw dark techno terrorists Church Of Euthanasia rocking a dramatically mixed crowd, while Sunday’s Berlin Calling event was a showcase for DJ Hell’s electroclash uberlabel International DeeJay Gigolos, suggesting that the Love Parade’s ultimate destination is back underground.

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