The Love Parade first occurred just months before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It was started by the Berlin underground at the initiative of Matthias Roeingh aka "Dr Motte" and his then girlfriend Danielle de Picciotto. It was conceived as a political demonstration for peace and international understanding through love and music. It was supposed to be a bigger birthday party for Roeingh, later "Dr Motte", and the Motto "Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen" (Eng. Peace, Joy, Pancakes) stood for disarmament (Peace), music (Joy) and a fair food production/distribution (Pancakes). Roeingh dissociated himself from the Love Parade in 2006 due to the commercialization of the event.
The parade was held on the Berlin Kurfürstendamm until 1996. For reasons of overcrowding on the Kurfürstendamm, the festival moved to the Straße des 17. Juni in the Tiergarten park in the center of Berlin. The festival became centered around the militaristic Siegessäule in the middle of the park; and the golden angel, atop the column and facing Paris, become the parade's emblem.
Rainer Schaller, president and chief executive officer of McFit and the Love Parade organizing company Lopavent
Many people from Germany and abroad traveled to Berlin to take part in the Parade—over a million attended in the years 1997 through 2000 and 800,000 in 2001. Attendance at the 2001 festival was significantly lower because the date of the parade was changed with little advance notice. 2002 and 2003 also saw lower figures, and in 2004 and 2005 the parade was canceled due to funding difficulties and coordinated opposition from most of Germany's green parties. The parade had inspired opposition on account of the damage done to the Tiergarten by participants, who were provided with insufficient toilet facilities. Opponents allegedly complicated matters for organizers by booking their own events in Berlin and so to exclude the Love parade from being able to register with city police. In 2004, however, a scaled-down version took place which served more as a mini-protest and was promoted with the title 'Love Weekend'. Dozens of clubs promoted the weekend-long event all over the city, with various clubs staying open for 3 days straight without closing. In 2006, the parade made a comeback with the help of German exercise studio McFit.
The Love Parade 2007 was planned for July 7, 2007 in Berlin. However, the Berlin event was cancelled in February as the Senate of Berlin did not issued the necessary permits at that time. After negotiations with several German cities, on July 21, it was announced that the Love Parade would move to the Ruhr Area for the next five years. The first event took place in Essen on August 25. The Parade in Essen saw 1.2 million visitors in comparison to the 500,000 who attended the 2006 parade in Berlin.
In 2008, the festival took place in Dortmund on July 19 on the Bundesstraße 1 under the motto Highway of Love. The event was planned as a "Love Weekend", with parties throughout the region. For the first time the Turkish electronic scene was represented by its own float, called "Turkish Delights". The official estimate is that 1.6 million visitors attended, which makes it the largest Loveparade to date.
The 2009 event, planned for Bochum, was cancelled; a year later, the deaths of 19 attendees at the Duisburg venue prompted the Love Parade's organiser Rainer Schaller to declare an end to the iconic festival."The Love Parade has always been a peaceful party, but it will forever be overshadowed by the accident, so out of respect for the victims the Love Parade will never take place again," Schaller said.
Together with Mayday, Nature One the Love Parade is one of the oldest and largest Festivals of Electronic music.
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