Up to 600,000 Dance Through Berlin
BERLIN (AP) _ The booming beat of techno music thundered through the center of Berlin on Saturday as half a million brightly colored, energy-filled young people converged on the city for the eighth annual ``Love Parade.″
Police estimated the crowd at 500,000 ``or a little more,″ while organizers said 600,000 people were dancing along the 2.5 mile-stretch between Ernst Reuter Platz and the Brandenburg Gate.
``The feeling here is incredible,″ said one bleached-blond teen-ager from Dessau, in eastern Germany, as he pulsed to the heavy rhythm.
``It’s great,″ raved Noboru Ushiyama, 33, of Tokyo, decked out in fluorescent green and orange. Japan has nothing like the Love Parade, he said, ``but when I go back, maybe I can start one next year.″
The Love Parade began in 1989 with about 150 people dancing behind a Volkswagen van under the motto ``Peace, Happiness and Pancakes.″ It has grown every year to become the world’s biggest gathering for fans of electronic dance music known as techno.
``It’s just a super good party,″ said Barbara from Switzerland, who didn’t want to give her last name. She was among the 250,000 at last year’s parade.
Some 40 trucks with towering loudspeakers provided the beat for this year’s procession, which adopted the motto ``We are one family.″ MTV Europe carried the event live for the first time.
The parade route was packed with people, some of whom climbed lamp posts and streets signs despite the grease smeared on them by police to deter such behavior.
Matthias Schauss, a Berliner who brought his 4-year-old daughter Sophie, called the parade ``very funny,″ but complained about the bottles, cans and other trash the revelers left behind.
The route was changed this year from the Kurfuerstendamm, Berlin’s main shopping thoroughfare, to a less-congested boulevard through Tiergarten park to prevent damage.
After a closing ceremony at the Victory Column, the party was expected to continue until the wee hours at Berlin’s numerous techno clubs.
The Love Parade was not the only mega-music event in Germany on Saturday. Up to 300,000 people were expected for the third annual ``Sound of Frankfurt″ festival, with 50 bands and disc jockeys scheduled to play until the early morning hours along downtown Frankfurt’s Zeil shopping street.