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A Technoparade (the word is German) is a parade of vehicles equipped with strong loudspeakers and amplifiers playing techno music. It resembles a carnival parade in some respects, but the vehicles (called lovemobiles) are usually less elaborately decorated. Also, a technoparade doesn't share the carnival parade tradition of bombarding the spectators with sweets. However, the revellers do occasionally throw confetti (usually larger and more sparkly than that in a carnival parade) and spray foam from the vehicles onto the crowd.
Nearly all of the vehicles are converted trucks. In order to power the amplifiers, the trucks are frequently equipped with an additional electrical generator. For safety reasons, horse-drawn floats are never used in technoparades: there would be a danger of horses panicking from the noise and chaos. However, there are occasional human-drawn floats equipped with generators, record players, amplifiers and loudspeakers. Some of the vehicles allow people to ride along, for a fee. For those on the sidelines, or travelling alongside on foot or bicycles, attendance is free.
The official program of a technoparade is usually not as important as what happens informally. In contrast to a carnival parade, the vehicles are little more than flatbed trucks with sound equipment, rather than elaborately decorated floats. There are usually no fireworks or other traditional elements of large celebrations. Technoparades are rarely linked to anniversaries of historical events: they usually simply take place in the summer to take advantage of the good weather.
Technoparades generally have a carnival atmosphere, where social rules (and some laws, or at least their enforcement) are at least loosened, and sometimes broken outright. An atmosphere of chaos and tolerance prevails as bystanders dance to the shifting sounds of successive vehicles rolling by them: the music blasting from one vehicle blends into that from another, which can mean a sudden change of dance style in the area where the spheres of influence overlap. The music coming from two sound trucks overlaps with approximately equal intensity, and people can dance to either of two competing rhythms. In the technoparade subculture they call this the Verwirrungsgebiet ("overlap zone") by analogy to a concept in radio frequency engineering.
The street allows for a type of dancing that would be literally impossible in cramped German discotheques, and the breadth of some people's dancing is further exaggerated as they throw their clothes outwards. Some in the crowd generally climb up to any high point that can possibly be scaled, more and more as the event continues. The spirit is usually continued at after-parties in the local discotheques, sometimes including unofficial after-parties at discotheques having no official connection to the parade.
Technoparades are not without problems:
- They are regarded by some participants as a license to consume illegal drugs.
- A few technoparades have been exploited by makers of pornographic films.
- There is an inherent danger of accidents as people climb on and off moving vehicles.
- Technoparades usually have big crowds and few toilets, especially because the companies that rent out chemical toilets will not happily rent to technoparades; the crowds tend to climb on the roofs of the toilet structures, which are not built to withstand the weight. Some well-constructed toilets do exist, but not enough to serve the entire technoparade.
- Love Parade, Berlin / Ruhr area
- Fuckparade, Berlin
- Karneval der Kulturen, Berlin
- Vision Parade, Bremen
- Nachttanzdemo, Frankfurt am Main
- Generation Move, Hamburg / Kiel
- Reincarnation, Hanover
- Love Parade, Santiago, Chile / Tel Aviv / Mexico City.
- FFWD Heineken Dance Parade, Rotterdam (Netherlands)
- Cityparade, Ghent/Liège/Brussels/Mons/Charleroi (Belgium)
- Techno Parade, Paris (France)
- LovEvolution, San Francisco/Oakland (United States)
- Elektro Parade, Oporto (Portugal)