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.