Powerfully amplified music from 37 sound trucks wound up hundreds of thousands of ravers into a frenzy Saturday, July 19 on a blocked highway in the city of Dortmund at Germany's annual Love Parade.
Techno fans celebrate during the Love Parade 2008 music festival in Dortmund
Driven by electronic dance music, the spectacle has gained a reputation over the past two decades for loudness, laxness, weird dress, marathon dancing, and, by some accounts, widespread use of the drug ecstasy.
Organizers said 15 of the bands came from abroad, including from Australia, South Korea, Ukraine and Turkey. Each band occupied a float. The amplifiers required cooling to stop them overheating.
"It's a wow," giggled Austrian raver Doris, 33, in a purple wig, giant sun-glasses and a very small dress as she gyrated past, taking yet another swig from her can of beer in the bright sunshine.
Michel, 21, from the south-east of Germany, was just audible as he described how he and his girlfriend had arrived in Dortmund on the eve of the parade with nowhere to stay and had danced much of the night in a club.
"We made new friends who let us sleep (with 10 others) in a two-bed room at a bed-and-breakfast hotel. Real nice people," he said.
The parade was being held in the west of Germany for a second year after leaving Berlin, where the annual spectacle began in 1989.
Mobile Love Parade pulling in the punters
Organizers predicted a turnout of 1.2 million at the event on a section of national highway which was closed to traffic by city authorities and gave this year's parade its motto, "Highway to Love."
DJ WestBam, first up of 250 disc jockeys compeering and mixing the music, opened the event with his new Highway to Love "hymn."
Promoters said the parade could be seen live by satellite broadcast in 53 nations of the world.
The event continued all night in city clubs and other dance venues in Dortmund, a big industrial city in Germany's Ruhrgebiet metropolitan sprawl.