Britain's first ever Love Parade takes place in Leeds, and bad weather gatecrashes the party.
In tandem with the long-established ‘political protest’ event in Berlin, yesterday (July 8th) saw Britain’s first ever ‘Love Parade‘ take place in LEEDS’ ROUNDHAY PARK.
Organised by Radio 1, the Leeds event was originally intended to be located in the city centre in the same manner as the Berlin event. However, with less than two weeks to go, the event switched to the out of town venue after police and local businesses raised concerns about the effect the vast and unpredictable influx of people would have on the city’s residents. In addition, there were rumours that the event was going to be cancelled just days before.
“That was just a kneejerk reaction,” explained a spokesperson for Radio 1. “There was always a meeting pencilled in for the Thursday. The police are totally happy (with the security arrangements), as are the council and Radio 1.”
Nonetheless, the event was not entirely trouble-free. While estimates for numbers in attendence fluctuated wildy between 100,000 and 500,000, the shuttle bus service was badly organised and inefficient, with some attendees waiting for anything up to three hours to be transported to and from the site. A seemingly sparse security presence on the site meant that occasional brawls erupted periodically around the fringes of the event, and the grass was littered with shards of broken bottles by the end of the evening. The police, however, branded the event a success, and say that, for the most part, it passed off peacefully. The event saw over 30 floats representing big dance music names such as Pete Tong’s Essential Selection, Gatecrasher, Cream and The Big Beat Boutique. The Radio 1 main stage, meanwhile, saw sets from the likes of Darren Emerson, Sasha, and a live satellite link-up with Paul Oakenfold at the Berlin event. And while the weather was fairly inclement, Radio 1 also considered the event a success. “It’s brilliant!” beamed an efervescent Pete Tong as he stepped off his float for a quick break. However, whether this will become an annual event or one-off remains to be seen.