Party On, Berlin! | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 13.07.2002
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Party On, Berlin!

Hundreds of thousands of ravers rolled into Berlin on Saturday for the world's biggest techno music festival - DW-WORLD was at the heart of the party.


The Love Parade has become an institution in Berlin

After at least an hour of weaving through the thousands of sweaty, beery bodies, the feeling up on the VIP platform of the Siegessäule, the heart of the Love Parade, is one of relief.

Here, high above the thousands of ravers who have flocked to Berlin, world famous DJs mix with family, friends, and organisors of similar parades from all over the world.

Love Parade crew members, technicians, and security dart back and forth across the platform, oblivious of the teeming masses below, mouthing silent words in head set microphones. Photographers and film crew pace the platform, constantly treading on one another’s toes.

Up on the DJ table, a huge plastic, round cabin perched on a crisscross of scaffolding, DJ Avan L V from Tel Aviv pushes the beats yet one notch faster.

Ravers and DJs from all over the world

For this year’s Love Parade, more than 500 000 ravers from all over the world have put on their gladrags and flocked to the city centre to celebrate this legendary event.

While floats – 45 of them in all – slowly make their way through the crowds to the the Siegessäule for the finishing event, Dr. Motte, one of the founders of the Parade, DJ and famous holder of the annual obligatory Love Parade speech, gets ready to talk.

He couldn’t look less than a DJ.

With his black, thick-rimmed glasses, slight figure, and dark clothing, Motte could be an IT expert, or a (postgraduate) student, if anything. But when Motte speaks to the one million ravers squirming at his feet – the climax of every year’s Love Parade – Dr. Motte is treated by the crowds like a god.

Punching the air defiantly above his head, Motte spits in the microphone "What haven’t we seen: war, terror, lies. That is not our world, we can be happy, and celebrate! We are one family, a family in which language and nations don’t play a role ! Our family is one of thousands, and grows every day!"

"Under this motto: Access Peace!".

The crowds scream, and cheer, the music picks up speed, and up to the Brandenburg Gate simmering in the heat on the horizon, hands wave frantically.

One family

Meanwhile, up on deck, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly: DJs nip health drinks at the VIP juice bar, and swap the latest news from parades in Tel Aviv, Mexico, and Vienna. Paul van Dyk, the world-famous German DJ, does an informal presentation for music television Viva and Ralf Regitz, Love parade founder, runs around with a tiny camera, taking snapshots.

Joshua Smith, San Franciso’s first Love Parade "president" pays a toast to the crowd and sips his dark red Kombucha drink. "Party, and having fun, is all that matters at the Love Parade", Smith says, his dreadlocks bobbing with the beat of the music.

Smith, and his colleague Ron Wong are the makers behind San Franciso’s first Love Parade, due to take place this October. "That is the great thing about the Love Parade", he says. It is something people from all nations can partake in, something which can be exported all over the world. "The main message is to have fun". And to party is a pasttime, which is universal, he says.

Indeed, both up on deck, and down in the crowds – global is the word which comes to mind. Scraps of sentences in all languages can be heard both among the ravers, as up here, on the VIP platform.

"We all have only one language", Dr. Motte tells DW-WORLD, "and that is – music".

With music, he explains excitedly, humans have always communicated. "There were ethnic cultures back in history who celebrated with music and the beating of drums – up to 160 beats per minute - and we are only doing the same!"

Lost for words

Later in the evening, as the sun begins to set, Dr. Motte stands quietly at the back of the platform. Looking out across the wave of dancing people, Dr. Motte says, "it moves me to see so many young people, here tonight. What can I say – it is a dream come true".

His next words are lost in the hammering of the beats. The huge loudspeakers vibrate, and on the trucks figures dance ecstatically in the sunset.

Such is the sound of the loudspeakers that any communication is now only possible by shouting and sign language. Dr. Motte comes closer, and shouts mouth to ear – "who needs words, when you have music to communicate!".