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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 July, 2003, 19:18 GMT 20:18 UK
Love rules at Berlin parade
Germany's capital has come alive to the sound of techno music as the famous Love Parade returns to Berlin for another year.

Hundreds of thousands of people have descended on Tiergarten park for the 15th annual festival.

DJs including Pete Tong, Felix da Housecat, Paul van Dyk and the festival's founder Dr Motte are among 250 playing on 50 carnival floats.

There had been fears that the festival might be cancelled after last year's event made a financial loss.
Ravers at Berlin Love Parade

But corporate sponsorship and a deal with the Berlin Convention Centre to provide beer and sausages saved it.

From humble beginnings as a small street party of 200 people in a divided Germany in 1989, the festival expanded rapidly. Numbers have dropped, with some saying it has become too commercialised.

"There seem to be fewer people coming here each year. I think this is going to die soon," 20-year-old reveller Tino Karde told Reuters news agency.

"I don't know why though. Techno music is getting better and better."

In its heyday in the 1990s, up to 1.5 million revellers flocking to the hedonistic rave, which is known for its heavy techno soundtrack.

Tradition

Organisers say the parade has stuck to its alternative, sub-cultural roots.

"It always depends on what the guests do," spokeswoman Adina Popescu said.

"The tradition is of electronic music, and that changes every year."

Although the Love Parade began with a political edge, which organisers say still remains, authorities removed its status as a political demonstration in 2001.

This meant organisers had to take on the cost of clearing up the mountains of rubbish left behind in the city at the end of the event.

This year, more than three miles of fencing has been erected to protect grassland.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Ray Furlong
"It's the world's biggest techno party"



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