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No more Love Parade
July 25, 2010 4:40 AM   Subscribe

The Love Parade has been happening for over two decades but this time there was a stampede and many people died during the Love Parade so now there is no more Love Parade.
posted by twoleftfeet (51 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This kind of weirdly framed, and you need to maybe not argue with people in your own post twoleftfeet. -- cortex



 
Is this why we can't have nice stuff?
posted by Samizdata at 4:55 AM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't help thinking that the death of 19 people is more important than the permanent cancellation of the Love Parade. Seems a strange way to frame your post.

Witnesses said officers... closed the end of the tunnel emptying onto the festival grounds after they become overcrowded around 5 p.m. They told revelers over loudspeakers to turn around and walk back in the other direction. But the entrance to the tunnel did not appear to have been closed and people continued piling in, sparking a panic and then a deadly crush.

Just terrible. The worst concert/festival disaster since 9 died during Pearl Jam's set at Roskilde back in 2000.

...................
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:57 AM on July 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Authorities faced tough questions at a press conference over why hundreds of thousands of people were funneled through a single highway underpass. They provided few details.

I fully expect a criminal investigation into this. This was gross negligence. Crowd management is not rocket science.
posted by mek at 4:57 AM on July 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry that a festival that people liked has been discontinued, but isn't the slightly more relevant part of the story that nineteen people were killed?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:58 AM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


.
posted by sveskemus at 4:59 AM on July 25, 2010


.
posted by robcorr at 5:01 AM on July 25, 2010


Strange framing. I hate crowds and so would never willingly put myself in a situation like this. Tragedy for those killed.
posted by fixedgear at 5:05 AM on July 25, 2010


I can't help thinking that the death of 19 people is more important than the permanent cancellation of the Love Parade. Seems a strange way to frame your post.

Obviously this many deaths is a tragedy. But a festival that gets over a million people together deserves to live, even if one year poor planning didn't handle that many people.

They'll have to change the name though.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:08 AM on July 25, 2010


The tragedy is that Crowd management is not rocket science, there have been other similar tragedies, and yet from time to time we still read stories like this about young kids being suffocated in a crush of their peers trying to get in to some see music. Really senseless, useless deaths.

The December 3, 1979 Who concert tragedy in Cincinnati, Ohio, ranks as the most horrific rock concert incident in the United States. Eleven rock fans were crushed to death and scores injured because of gross crowd management failings. In many ways, this disaster lives on like other terrible moments befalling a community. People recall the nightmare in disbelief; many have personal stories to tell. A landmark report on concert safety, Crowd Management: The Report of the Task Force on Crowd Control and Safety, was published in 1980 by a special Cincinnati citizen task force. The critically acclaimed report contained many recommendations designed to prevent a repeat of the disaster.

What I remember in the wake of the Cinncinnati tragedy was the end of festival seating, many more cops on horses, and a much less fun concert experience.
posted by three blind mice at 5:09 AM on July 25, 2010


The December 3, 1979 Who concert tragedy in Cincinnati, Ohio, ranks as the most horrific rock concert incident in the United States.

Uh. What about the fire at The Station nightclub during Great White's concert? That killed a hundred people and injured 230 more, which would seem to qualify as worse than one in which 11 were killed and dozens injured.

Plus they died listening to, you know, Great White so it's worse on that score alone.
posted by Justinian at 5:15 AM on July 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here's a helpful list of the World's worst football (soccer) stadium tragedies. Nobody's canceling soccer (football), right?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:21 AM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Crowd management is not rocket science.
Damn close to it though.
posted by unliteral at 5:23 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Most revellers remained unaware of the incident and kept on dancing as authorities kept a lid on the news to avoid further panic, a decision which angered some survivors on Sunday.

"What's crazy is that the party carried on. That's just not right. People kept on dancing even though they might have had friends who had died," said 31-year-old Lubbert from Hanover.

"At the end, the organisers even said 'thank you for a great day'."


It seems to me that an event in which 19 people lose their lives and the organizers carry on as though nothing had happened deserves to be thoroughly re-evaluated, if not cancelled. And not just a name change either.
posted by blucevalo at 5:27 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


A simple visualisation why something like this happened in Duisburg and not in Berlin. A picture of the tunnel where it happened.

We also have our nutjob right-wing media personalities likening the "sex and drugs orgy" Loveparade to Sodom & Gomorrha and declaring the catastrophy a divine punishment. (via)
posted by ts;dr at 5:31 AM on July 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


What is not rocket science is that when you get 1.4 million people together in a restricted space, things like this will happen. Stampedes have killed people in every venue that gathers people together in this kind of density. Seriously.

According to that article in the last 30 years, 3,000 people have died by stampede in the Hajj, so I guess we'll see that cancelled next, right?
posted by localroger at 5:41 AM on July 25, 2010


...................

and one . for the parade itself, a version of which I happened upon accidentally in Budapest (surely, that one will continue?) and brought great joy.
posted by squasha at 5:45 AM on July 25, 2010


twoleftfeet: are you aware that future Love Parade have been cancelled by the organizers, not by a fun-hating reactionary hegemony?
posted by caek at 5:47 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


BTW, I was not intending to be an ass with my comment.

These deaths are sad, and tragic, and I wish they didn't happen. I just wish people would be able to pay more attention to their surroundings at times like these.
posted by Samizdata at 5:51 AM on July 25, 2010


Along with finding this tragic, I find it also ironic that this should have happened in Germany, whose people and society have a well-deserved reputation for careful planning, organization and orderly behavior. A terrible, terrible shame.
posted by kcds at 5:56 AM on July 25, 2010


> Plus they died listening to, you know, Great White so it's worse on that score alone.

I really wish people would stop making this joke. If the Station had been hosting a band the internet likes I assume there would have been fewer lulz.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:00 AM on July 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


It seems to me that an event in which 19 people lose their lives and the organizers carry on as though nothing had happened deserves to be thoroughly re-evaluated, if not cancelled.

The article states clearly that they intentionally did not let people know what had happened for fear of sparking further panic. Makes sense under the circumstances. Had people known what had occurred, the situation could have gotten even more dire.

Also, the organizers of the parade did not decide to have the one entrance/exit. It was imposed upon them. The permanent cancellation of the event seems to be calculated to take the focus off the people who actually made this shameful decision.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 6:16 AM on July 25, 2010


> It seems to me that an event in which 19 people lose their lives and the organizers carry on as though nothing had happened deserves to be thoroughly re-evaluated, if not cancelled.

What do you propose to do with 1.4 million people at a concert when the only entrance is blocked? Turning off the music and asking them to sit quietly for a few hours is probably not going to work.
posted by ardgedee at 6:20 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would help if I read the full articles too! It seems the parade was cancelled by the organizers.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 6:22 AM on July 25, 2010


it wasn't the only entrance. it was the only entrance from that side.

anyway. strangely enough they had a spokesperson on the air last night proclaiming they had made no mistakes at all in crowd planning but that it was those people climbing over a fence and falling that were to blame. I understand they had been standing in that tunnel for two hours with people facing them who wanted to get out. I take it the courts will decide what really happened.
posted by krautland at 6:28 AM on July 25, 2010


I find it also ironic that this should have happened in Germany, whose people and society have a well-deserved reputation for careful planning, organization and orderly behavior.

It's not ironic at all. Panic is panic, whether you're German or not.
posted by blucevalo at 6:29 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


thegreatfleecircus: The article states clearly that they intentionally did not let people know what had happened for fear of sparking further panic. Makes sense under the circumstances. Had people known what had occurred, the situation could have gotten even more dire.

ardgedee: What do you propose to do with 1.4 million people at a concert when the only entrance is blocked? Turning off the music and asking them to sit quietly for a few hours is probably not going to work.

You both make good points. The situation is tragic, all around.
posted by blucevalo at 6:31 AM on July 25, 2010


I really wish people would stop making this joke. If the Station had been hosting a band the internet likes I assume there would have been fewer lulz.

I'm from New England and I assure you that the observation is not confined to the Internet. And most people are genuinely saddened by the Station fire while wondering what the hell people were doing paying to see Great White in 2003.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:43 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not rocket science to figure out that you can't block off *the end of the tunnel* and command the people getting crushed at *the end of the tunnel* to turn back.

I've witnessed exactly this kind of copthink at protests: "People will follow commands, even the impossible ones!" Nevermind that the people in the middle and back have no way to even hear the loudspeakers.

Closing off the tunnel from the front should have been the first thing they did when the event was being closed. Barring that kind of thoughtfulness, they should have closed off the front long before barring exit from the end. Not rocket science, just using common sense over magical "we can tell people to do whatever the fuck and they'll do it out of the kindness of their hearts" authoritarian thinking.
posted by Skwirl at 6:48 AM on July 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


I used to do the trucks from Friesland (Netherlands) that were in the Love Parade. The first year for me was 1999 - we went all out and had a fold-oute TV screen on top of our truck with great visuals that went well with the music. We ended up being one of the lucky 8 trucks that ended the Love Parade evening circled around the Berlin Victory Column, as one DJ radioed his set to all eight trucks.

I was on that truck dancing, looking down at the sea of people still dancing like mad all around us. Beaming, smiling, cheering, shouting. When they saw us drink water, they asked for water, and we passed bottles down. Each bottle met with loud cheers. I got a little carried away and began spraying bubbly water over the crowd, to even louder cheers, jumping and applause. I felt like a rock star.

I've done three Love parades, but 1999 was the one that I'll never forget. It was magic.

To move it from Berlin, to move people through a small underpass, it's such a horrible idea. I feel so bad for those who perished. One moment they were rock stars, the next they could not breathe. Horrible tragedy.
posted by dabitch at 6:54 AM on July 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Err, it sounds like it wasn't "copthink" at fault, at least according to this article, but rather the organizers.
posted by creasy boy at 6:57 AM on July 25, 2010


And yeah, Berlin Tiergarten was the perfect location. If you want to leave, just start walking in any direction. And if you can't host it there any longer, I don't understand why you wouldn't just host it in a field somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I mean, for fuck's sake, Duisburg? Why?
posted by creasy boy at 7:03 AM on July 25, 2010


1.4 million seems ridiculously large for a music festival; that's like 3 Woodstocks. I'm sort of amazed that something this bad never happened before. It sounds like some serious malpractice on the part of the police but I'm not sure that it even makes sense to try to run a festival with a population as large as Philadelphia; bad things are bound to happen.
posted by octothorpe at 7:09 AM on July 25, 2010


exactly, creasy boy. Tiergarten had places where people who were getting tired could just lay in the park for a bit. The trucks had routes to move through, and if you wanted to pass them, there was pavement, park-bits and a wee bit of space. It got really thick with people at the end in the night, but it was... Yeah, love was in the air, it's the only way i can describe it. I have a tendency of getting a little claustrophobic in large crowds, and I was fascinated that I felt I needn't fear the crowds of the Berlin Love Parade.
posted by dabitch at 7:16 AM on July 25, 2010


Skwirl nailed it. All the deaths are the fault of the police, hopefully they'll get sued. Crowds are not rational. Police accept responsibility for the crowd when the begin directing it.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:25 AM on July 25, 2010


Err, it sounds like it wasn't "copthink" at fault, at least according to this article, but rather the organizers.

If the description is accurate, it's the classic crowd control fuckup.

You cannot stop a crowd from the front. You have to stop the whole crowd at the same time. If you close the exit of a tunnel, you will kill people, because the crowd will continue to enter the tunnel, and those at the very front get crushed.

Crowds, in effect, have inertia. Almost all of the classic crowd deaths involve a group of people at the front moving into something, being blocked, and then being crushed by people following them, who don't know they can't move forward for some reason. The faster the crowd is moving (say, to get to something that's about to start...) the worse the crush can be.

See The Who in Cincy. See The Hillsbourough Disaster. See the related style "or don't let them out again disasters of the Cocanut Grove and Station Nightclub fires -- where the crush of people trying to escape actually prevented the escape.
posted by eriko at 7:25 AM on July 25, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'd rather die listening to Great White than to electronica.
posted by jonmc at 7:30 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


If only Techno Viking had been there this never would had happened.
posted by txmon at 7:40 AM on July 25, 2010


so now there is no more Love Parade.

That's probably not true. Organizers and officials are sad and frightened and angry and frustrated right now, probably feeling very guilty and probably being pushed to do something immediately to make sure nothing sad ever ever ever happens again. If you asked them today, they might say fuck it, it's not worth it.

But there will be a million or two people next year hoping for its return, including a lot of business people who make a lot of money off this event, so it will happen in one form or another, in one city or another, with or without the current organizers.
posted by pracowity at 7:40 AM on July 25, 2010




Hey, while we're picking deaths jonmc, I'd rather not die at a music event at all. Love Parade was fascinating in that it managed to have that many people, with so few incidents (there were previous deaths, but they were singular and often due to drug-stupidity), just have fun together for an entire day and night.
posted by dabitch at 7:42 AM on July 25, 2010


This made me so sad when I heard the news.

I've done live PA work off and on for years now, and I've found that audience to be wonderfully open and generous with their attention, enthusiasm, and love, so much so that I've been able to get past my innate panic at being anywhere where there's throngs of people around me when I have a chance to play live. I'm a guy who has been shaped largely by my fear and distaste of crowds, drifting towards new ideas and new sounds that seem to be ignored by the throngs primarily because they're less-traveled roads, and I often think it might be a better world if we all did that, but it's really just me, rationalizing, I suppose.

I work for a major urban arts organization, and I spent last weekend shuttling around Baltimore on a golf cart, carrying supplies up and down a mile of blazing hot, packed streets for an enormous arts festival, and there were times, particularly when the artist Wale was playing on the festival's main stage, when I couldn't get through the crowd at all, and where the chanting would become deafening and the bodies would close in around my cart and I'd think about how things change in crowds, and how there's this dividing line between people thinking as individuals and people thinking as a de facto group mind, surging and massing in unexpected ways, despite every call for calm.

Every once in a while, the crowd would close in on me, and I'd feel that switch starting to trip, that twinge telling me "hell, I gotta just dump this cart and get the hell out of here!" in spite of the fact that it really wasn't that closed-in or that crowded (our event topped out around 265k attendees this year). I'd have that feeling, and I couldn't quite decide if I was glad I took so many superfluous sociology courses back in college, or if I'd developed the malady of medical students, who start insidiously finding symptoms in themselves for every single disease they examined.

Am I going to get trampled?

It's ridiculous, of course, and a bit dramatic, just like me, really, but I've been a life-long disaster junkie, obsessed with such grim things in my focused youth, spending too much time in childhood reading book after book about things that went wrong, looking at pictures of people piled up against a fence, or caught in a doorway, or stuck in volcanic mud up to their armpits, and thinking, "But they're so close to the way out. Why couldn't they just get six inches further?"

This time, and in this news, I had an ugly, awful reflex, a moment of disbelief triggered by the undercurrent of snobbery that's one of my things to work out, thinking, "What? This isn't a stupid sports event, or some dumb religious ritual, or a damn rock concert," before realizing that the bliss I've experienced, sitting with my gear blinking and twittering and sending out waves of boom boom boom in a room crammed full of people who all come to give sweet homage to the drone and the drum, is really no better, and no more sensible, than any other reason we gather together. You want to look back, and feel like maybe you're better than that, than all those people turning blue under the surging mass and force of a crowd that just keeps on coming and coming, no matter how many voices call for them to stop.

At the end of a course back in college, I remember being angry at reading Don DeLlilo's claim that the future belongs to crowds, and thinking what a grim, terrifying future that would be, and how it portends nothing but collapse for the human race, but in the end, it really does come down to crowd control, and attentiveness on the part of the organizers of events like this. You have to look at the map of an event like it's a container, holding a strange, bumpy liquid that has the curious property of amplifying certain actions, but it's really not something that's beyond our understanding. It's just proper management, and we have to surrender our faith in the cleverness of our community, no matter how strongly we believe that we, and people like us, would never suddenly change direction, wedge into a single space, and crush our brothers and sisters to death. We have to be as realistic as we are optimistic.

In my cynical, know-it-all youth, I believed my professor, who held up Mao II and quoted DeLillo and claimed that in the future, terrorists will be the only true artists because they're the only people left capable of surprising people anymore. I held onto that silly, prudish thought for a long time, maybe until I saw a picture of a tree wearing a sweater and realized that my professor was, in fact, just a dick. A tree wearing a sweater is pretty fucking suprising, especially in 2005 or so. The future belongs to that, to trees in knitwear, and people living and experimenting and getting together to do odd, unexpected things.

This moment, or yesterday's moment, will kill the vibe, as they say, and the vibe is the heart and soul of what brings us together to make music with machines, that instantaneous, pervasive wave of commonality you find when the groove's just right and the bass has you by the short hairs and the drum is speaking the language drums have always spoken to us, all the way back into history when it was just a stick, pounding on a hollow log somewhere out there. I don't doubt this Love Parade is gone, and that that vibe has been poisoned by something that happened that was just so sad and so counter to the old, familiar mantra of PLUR, but new things will arise, and take up the vibe, and with luck, they'll learn from the mistakes that were made and honor the people who died in that tunnel.

The beat goes on. The thing is, when you look back on the history of the Love Parade, it really has had a loving vibe and a peaceful history that defies the logic of the crowd, and it has created a lot of joy and wonder in the world. The moralizing starts here, and the bickering, the blame, the rage, the sorrow, the confusion, the hurt, and the instinct to just give it all up, and it's all understandable and expected, but I hope the fire doesn't really die this way.

.
posted by sonascope at 7:43 AM on July 25, 2010 [43 favorites]


Heard about this on the CBC as we woke up this morning. Such a fucking shame, and so preventable.

I'm noticing as I age that there is a certain cynical, jaded form of anger that comes from seeing stupid, preventable things happen again and again. It's not just "we must learn from history" because it's not history as far as I'm concerned -- it's reality because I lived through the previous stupidity and I think: boy, if I'd been in charge of X that wouldn't have happened because I've seen what happens when it's done by morons and I know better. I guess this is one of the reason older folks can get bitter and sour... the youthful optimism evaporates with the stark reality of "humans are generally thoughtless creatures, and that's never going to change."

I think the parade should go on, actually, but be sure to honour each time those who died. This would be an excellent way of keeping it from happening again.

But there should absolutely be a criminal investigation.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:48 AM on July 25, 2010


dabitch, me too. But like a lot of hard rock fans, I found Justinian's (extremely tired, cooler-than-thou) joke a little irksome.
posted by jonmc at 7:49 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know jonmc, I feel ya there.
posted by dabitch at 7:55 AM on July 25, 2010


I've been to several events where at some point a phrase similar to "we're lucky someone just didn't die" is spoken by organizers and/or security. I think so many times the "what are the odds of something bad happening here?" question overtakes the confidence to step in and make an on-the-spot change in the name of safety. I don't think enough people that can influence such things realize how fast things can become deadly. The most effective time to make the correction is while it's still calm which, sadly, is when it's lower on the priority list.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:03 AM on July 25, 2010


Well said, sonascope.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:27 AM on July 25, 2010


The pictures in this photo gallery gave me chills. I just got back from the World Cup in South Africa and there were several moments before and after games where I had an uneasy feeling—large crowds being funneled down narrow passages with high fences or walls on both sides, and just to increase the unease, since it was South Africa the walls and fences sometimes were topped with razor wire. I found myself scanning possible escape routes and not finding them, which is the worst part of being in a big crowd.

Seems to me part of the problem is that too often "crowd control" is a security rather than a safety issue. Keep access points to a minimum so that it's easier to monitor the crowd, rather than maximize access points to ease entrance and exit and prevent crushes. That's a huge danger.
posted by stargell at 8:42 AM on July 25, 2010


I'd rather die listening to Great White than to electronica.

May everyone listen to his or her favorite music safely and peacefully.

.
posted by belvidere at 8:43 AM on July 25, 2010 [14 favorites]


These things frighten me more than they used to, before I was in a poorly-controlled crowd of a million, at Obama's inauguration. I'm 6'5", so I could nearly always see where I was going, and could see how most people had no idea where they were going, heading into blind alleys and towards impassable barricades and such. There was a bunch of stupid copthink there, made worse by the fact that there were Park Police, DC Police, Capitol Police, National Guard, and Secret Service (and who knows how many other agencies) involved, all badly communicating with each other and the public. Thousands of people were stuck in tunnels for the duration of the event, with no information about what was happening. It was scary then, and scarier in retrospect.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:46 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was a similar incident in an urban club (Cincinnati, Detroit?) a few weeks before the Great White tragedy and I always felt that the people who joke about the latter are the same type of people who would say, "who cares, it was just a bunch of [insert racial epithet here] listening to rap music."

I remember seeing a reconstruction of the Great White disaster that said a lot of the people died at the exits, with access to fresh air. In other words, they were not killed by smoke inhalation, but literally burned alive. I really don't understand the cheap lulz some people want to make at their expense.
posted by puny human at 8:59 AM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


The continual description of this crowd crush as a "panic" is profoundly unhelpful. It is confusing cause with effect. The crush became inevitable when the crowd reached a critical density mass and density, confined against hard barriers. The result is indeed panic as those crushed against the barrier start feeling forces strong enough to cause compressional asphyxia; but panic is what happens after the crush has already started, not the root cause.

Avoiding crowd crushes is fundamentally a fluid dynamics problem, not a psychology problem. Even the calmest moving crowd will suffer crush injuries if the preconditions of crowd size and crowd density are met.
posted by Dimpy at 9:08 AM on July 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


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