Berlin falls in love again - at 120bpm

A MILLION people, their bodies writhing to the hypnotic beat of techno, crammed into the centre of Berlin yesterday for the world's biggest annual rave.

Since its humble beginnings 10 years ago, when a group of 150 techno fans marched down the Ku'damm, the Love Parade has become an annual ritual, almost always blessed with hot, sunny weather and a good-natured, if somewhat spaced out, crowd. There is a relaxed dress code - as little as possible - you can test your ecstasy tablets at one of the stalls, and dance until you drop. If the three-hour procession, involving 50 sound-pumping floats, is not enough, revellers can adjourn to the clubs where the music will go on through to tomorrow morning.

Also part of the choreography, however, are the rows that precede the event, culminating in threats to take the Love Parade to Paris. This year was no different. The DJ known as Dr Motte, who dreamt up the idea 10 years ago and continues to be in charge, had been refused liquor concessions along the route. That decision, by a local council, was itself the latest twist in the long-running dispute about who should pay for the disposal of the mountains of rubbish left behind.

A few years ago, when the Parade was beginning to get seriously big, Dr Motte had the foresight to register it as a "political demonstration". That means he does not need to pay for waste disposal - nor clean on his vast earnings. The council footing the bill would be quite happy to see the Love Parade somewhere else, say Paris.

But Berlin's mayor, Eberhard Diepgen, is a fan, and saves the day every time. The event draws lots of tourists and, more importantly, helps to re-establish Berlin as one of the coolest places on the planet. "More people in New York have heard of the Love Parade than of Adolf Hitler," an organiser claims.

By the time the procession set off on the road which cuts across the Tiergarten towards the Brandeburg Gate, peace had been restored: the sponsors had been lumbered with the clean-up bill.

It's not only the council that fails to greet the event with total enthusiasm. On the eastern side of the Gate, the annual "Hate Parade", this year rechristened the "F--- Parade", was under way, organised by techno fans who think both the music and the main event have become too commercialised. "When we began 10 years ago, we made music of the kind that others should have," said dissident DJ Wolle Neugebauer "Today the same kind of electronic sauce pours out of every radio station."

But for Hans Pikkemmant, a 44-year-old club owner atop one of the floats, it is still "the greatest event on Earth - the girls take off all their clothes." He had shelled out DM50,000 (pounds 17,000) on his lorry, sound system and 12 bodyguards, and the right to drive all this gear in the parade.

Annika Mayer, aged 19, her body painted and "Music is the key" sprayed across her breasts, had come from the small town of Cochem in the Rhineland for two days of concentrated fun. It was her first time in Berlin, and she tried to store up lots of sleep so as to be ready. "This place is just wild," she said, wriggling her bottom furiously.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

C# .NET Developer

£290 - £291 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Manchester C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform