Hot music draws thousands to Street Parade

The Street Parade does encourage some excesses among participants Keystone Archive

Nearly a million techno music fans have attended Zurich's 13th annual Street Parade, almost breaking last year's record crowd numbers.

This content was published on August 8, 2004 - 19:08

Over 30 "love mobiles" wound their way through the city streets, pumping out electronic music for mostly young spectators.

This year, groups from Russia, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium, as well as Switzerland and Germany were manning the love mobiles.

Besides exotic rhythms, this year's parade also offered spectators a chance for the first time to quench their thirst with alcohol.

Makeshift bars along the parade route were given permission to sell beer to participants and spectators.

The Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Addiction had earlier criticised the move.

“When the weather is hot, alcohol increases the risk of heart attacks, accidents and violence,” the institute said in a statement.

But Street Parade organisers countered, saying participants had always consumed alcohol, which they either brought from home or purchased in the city’s restaurants.

One partygoer died at an evening event at Zurich's main station. Police said they did not know what caused the death of the 25-year-old Italian.

Main event

As in previous years, Swiss Federal Railways organised extra trains to take ravers to Zurich from all over the country.

Spokesman Stefan Epli said the annual parade was as popular as ever with techno fans of all ages.

“There have always been young and old participants, but most of the diehard fans are between 18 and 35,” he told swissinfo.

This year's parade was dubbed "Elements of culture", said Epli, because “techno music has earned its place on the cultural scene."

"This parade honours the artists who brought us this form of music. Electronic music is now a recognised form of expression.”

Humble beginnings

The first Street Parade was staged in 1992 and attracted 1,500 people. But over the past decade it has grown to become one of the biggest outdoor parties in Europe.

For the first time, a so-called “solar float” travelled along the length of the parade. The float was part of a campaign for renewable energy organised by the environmental organisation, Greenpeace.

The festivities did not end with the parade itself at 10pm. Many clubs in the city pounded to the techno beat throughout the weekend.

A group of ten bars and clubs in Zurich offered partygoers free water, ear protection and condoms as part of a new “Safer Clubbing” campaign.

Staff in these clubs were trained by specialists in the prevention of drug addiction and Aids.

The initiative was developed in collaboration with experts from the Zurich-based drug prevention project, Streetwork.

According to Streetwork, drugs commonly consumed during and after the parade include ecstasy, cannabis and cocaine.

Staff were on hand inside the clubs to help ravers check the content of their pills, while the Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Addiction ran a telephone hotline to answer drug-related questions.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The first Street Parade attracted 1,500 people in 1992.
But over the past decade it has grown to become one of Europe's biggest outdoor events, generating SFr150 million for the local economy.
The Parade had a total budget of SFr1.2 million this year.

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In brief

Nearly a million people took to the streets of Zurich this weekend for the city’s annual Street Parade.

The organisers were criticised for allowing alcohol to be sold for the first time in the event’s 13-year history.

Makeshift bars along the parade route were given permission to sell alcohol.

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In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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