Organizers had expected only 1.2 million revellers at this year’s “Highway to Love” celebration, but more electronic music fans than ever before packed the 2-kilometre stretch of road set aside for the famous parade.
Some 5,000 police, fire, sanitary and city workers were out to keep the 40-float parade running smoothly, and only 177 participants were briefly detained for mostly alcohol-related incidents, police reported on Sunday. Twenty-three people were arrested for drug possession.
The regional North Rhine-Westphalia VRR public transport system scheduled an extra 500 train runs to accommodate the swarms of costumed party-goers that packed the city’s main drag, the B1 motorway.
A 7-hour closing party on Saturday evening included musical artists Underworld, Martini Brös, Dubfire, and DJ’s Westbam, Paul van Dyk, Carl Craig Hell.
The Love Parade left Berlin after several years of increasingly bad-humoured arguments about whether it still qualified as a political demonstration – and who was going to pay for the clean up.
Although its appeal was still growing, the once edgy parade has lately been heavily criticized as having become corporate and losing its original direction. Repeated threats by organizers to move it elsewhere were finally carried out and parade moved to the Ruhr where it will tour the region each summer.
Last year an estimated 1.2 million people graced Essen with their techno dancing and delighted newspapers by providing images of scantily-clad women and male ravers.
In the coming years Bochum, Duisburg and Gelsenkirchen will host the Love Parade.