One of the biggest music festivals in the world, the German Loveparade, an institution in electronic music since 1989, has been permanently cancelled today after 20 people died in a stampede Saturday and another 511 people suffered injuries at the site of this year’s Loveparade in Duisburg, Germany.
The organizers of the festival, held in the town of Duisburg, have been under scrutiny since the tragedy on Saturday, when thousands of concert-goers tried to exit through a tunnel which was the only entrance to the venue. The head of the German National Police told the NME that he urged Love Parade organizers to cancel the festival last year because the venue was too small. According to AP reports, German prosecutors say an investigation into possible charges of negligent homicide will be aimed “at persons unknown.”
Reports also said that in order to prevent further panic, the festival continued for hours after the stampede, and many continued dancing without any knowledge of the deaths. Associated Press video footage shows attendees climbing over barricades and performing CPR on other fans while music plays in the background.
Loveparade, perhaps Europe’s best known music festival, had received complaints in recent years that their venues were too small for the massive crowds. The 2004 and 2005 Loveparades in Bochum, Germany, and 2009’s Loveparade in Berlin were cancelled out of fears for these concerns. While Loveparade dates back to 1989 in Germany, 16 other cities world wide have hosted Loveparades, including San Francisco and Little Rock, Arkansas, in the United States.
I was very saddened to hear of this tragedy, despite my own concerns about crowd control over the event which I have had since attending Ultra Festival in Miami, and seeing the difficult conditions that arise from an event with that many congregants. My friends and I originally wanted to attend the Winter Music Conference in Miami specifically for Ultra, but we ended up being lucky that we were able to stay in the cab when we saw the crowd at Ultra, coupled with the building heat and Miami sun on a very hot afternoon. Turning a city into an active rave may be a Utopian concept at this point, especially when the lore of something like Loveparade grows each year, and with law enforcement already predisposed against such events where so many drugs wil be consumed, basically, in public, and where police agencies are stretched so thin by such an all encompassing event.
A tremendous amount of new music comes out of Loveparade each year, and we will be sorry to forego it, as we are also very sorry for all the families who lost loved ones and for those who were injured in Germany on Saturday. And we’ll hold out hope that some electronic music festival steps in to fill the huge void that was created by the permanent cancellation of Europe’s most well known festival.
Deejay Tiesto headlined Saturday’s festivities in which the mayhem occurred.