The River of People - der Zug der Liebe 2015
After five years of mourning it was finally time for a fiesta. After the tragedy in Duisburg, for five long years techno fans from around the world mourned not only the victims, but also the party—the Love Parade had been suspended forever. But this year, like a phoenix risen from the ashes, the event was reborn, transformed into Zug der Liebe / Train of Love. Despite the fact that others were responsible for the event organization, the formula remained similar. Public expectation was running high, thirsty in their demand for a real spectacle after such a long break.
I’d never been a part of any of the previous Love Parades. I had been both too young and too broke to even think about coming to Berlin to participate in the fun. However, on July 25, when fate finally aligned, presenting me with the opportunity to be one of the participants, I raced eagerly for Friedrichshain to finally see—what is this, this event shrouded in legend?
1) ATTENDANCEIt was really crowded. Approximately 26,000 people signed up for the event on Facebook. We all know how it is, that not everyone uses this “Book of Faces”, and certainly not all elderly people, who surprisingly came in their droves. Depending on journalistic sources, the number of attendees varies. One source mentions 10,000 participants, another says 25,000. One thing was certain, the event drew in a tremendous crowd, a real river of people. And even though it was bustling, even chaotic at times, I felt very safe. Nobody was pushing, nobody was getting pushed, and everybody had a place to dance freely. People embraced openly and spontaneously, smiling widely. Even people waiting for public transport at bus stops became partakers in the fun.
2) VOLUMEIt was really loud. About twenty platforms with every kind of techno music that you could imagine served up the bass along the entire route of the march. To try to detail the genres one by one would be pointless—you’d have to be there to hear it all. Once or twice the sound of two platforms would intermingle, but it was easy enough to stop and wait on the back, or catch up to the front, to balance out the rhythm.
3) COLORIt was really colorful, and not just because of the sun, which according to weather forecasts would fail to make an appearance. The crowd was incredibly diverse, and paradoxically not congruent to each community. Groups marched together not only happily but also harmoniously. The number of people in age 50+ was a big surprise— certainly at a techno party.
A drag queen alongside a family with a child sleeping peacefully in a pushchair. Sailor-tattooed hipsters alongside girls dressed as fairies with a leopard pattern on the shoulders. An eclectic compilation, which meant that we danced and frolicked even better on this one afternoon united as never before.
4) LOVEIt was really great. It might seem like a five-hour walk in the steady rhythm of bass could get boring after a while, but really, it was loads of fun not only having the opportunity to observe people sharing with them as well in this communal moment of joy. Now, to while attempting to avoid pathos and artificial delight, there’s the sense that everyone who was there must have at some point felt the same thing—love, that for which we were marching. Love was truly present.
“Love is in the air …” John Paul Young once sang, and this afternoon it was spread evenly in the air along with the sound of bass.
By Martyna Poważa / Photos by Anna Tkacz