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Culture

The Love Parade is Dead, Long live the Love Parade

Berlin's annual homage to the techno music scene is not what it used to be. But more than 500,000 danced at the 15th Love Parade Saturday and cleanup crews had enough work.

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Still full of love, after 15 years.

The cold, sober morning after Germany's annual techno love-fest is when Berlin takes stock of the effect hundreds of thousands of giddy ravers can have on the city's historic Tiergarten park.

Orange-clad street sweepers - also the official color of the Love Parade - picked up more than 100 tons of trash this year, 50 tons less than last year. That figure came although the numbers at this parade were estimated by some as larger than in recent years.

Around 500,000 people attended the 15th annual Love Parade, which started as a more-or-less spontaneous homage to the techno scene a few months before the fall of the wall in 1989. The parade along the stretch of road that runs through the Tiergarten, began attracting more and more people from across Europe and as far away as Japan in the 1990s.

Love Parade in Berlin

Raverin Yvonne tanzt auf einem der Lastwagen der 15. Love Parade am Samstag, 12. Juli 2003, in Berlin. Hunderttausende Fans der Techno-Musik werden erwartet. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns) --- Raver Yvonne dances on one of the trucks of the 15th Love Parade in Berlin, Saturday, July 12, 2003. Hundreds of thousands fans of Techno music are expected to join the event. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns)

At its height in the late 1990s, the parade attracted more than 1.5 million people. The declining numbers of recent years combined with calls by techno scene veterans that it had passed its prime, made for an uncertain future for this year's parade.

With the help of a financial injection from corporate spoonsors and Berlin's Convention Center, the dozens of DJ and dancer-laden trucks were able to make their way through the Tiergarten once again.

"Of course we don't have the Gigantic (attendance) of the late 1990s," said parade spokesman Ralf Regitz. "But three-quarters of a million people is a healthy number and a good basis from which to plan the future."

The party goes on

"Forward even, backward never," shouted Dr. Motte, one of the few remaining Love Parade founders.

Love Parade in Berlin Straße des 17. Juni

A girl dances in front of the evening sun during the Love Parade in Berlin, Saturday, July 10, 1999. Men in skirts and women in furry Day-Glo bikinis bounced, Saturday, to the techno throb of the Love Parade, the annual all-weekend rave billed as the world's largest street party.

The colorfully-clad, and dyed-haired throngs heeded his call, partying from 2 p.m. into the night. Then, some of the intoxicated partyers climbed into cars and left, running straight into police check points.

"It's shocking in what sort of condition some of the drivers are in," a police spokesman told the German wire service dpa.

Hundreds of officers arrested dozens of people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in states surrounding Berlin, according to police.

Though attendance at the parade this year matched the minimum of what organizers said they would need in order to hold it again next year, the parade's future remains in doubt.