Get out your glitter shorts, steampunk goggles and fluorescent jumpsuits – the biggest techno party in history returns to Berlin, and everybody is welcome!

The Love Parade 2022, aka the Rave the Planet Parade, is scheduled to take place this Saturday, July 9, and hundreds of thousands of ravers are expected to flood the streets of the German capital.

More than 200 DJs from all over the world will play music from 18 floats (music trucks) making their way through the city. Partygoers can dance, party and drink to the beats of artists such as Westbam, Kaiserdisco, Juan Atkins, Last Robots and Love Parade’s founder, Dr. Motte.

This is a fresh start for this legendary event after the parade was canceled in 2010. However, the Love Parade is not just another Berlin techno party. It started as a public protest through music and is considered the festival that put Berlin on the map as the techno capital of the world. 

Get the inside scoop on the latest cultural happenings all over the world delivered weekly to your inbox with our email newsletter.

A protest for peace, joy and pancakes

Berlin has not always been the hip city it is today. In the mid-80s, Berlin was considered a warzone. The Cold War was at its peak, and the wall dividing East and West was a source of trauma among Berliners. Even though the government offered affordable housing for those who relocated here, the city was still relatively empty.

The only outsiders who found a home in Berlin were artists looking for free housing and a place to express themselves. According to Berliners living here at the time, the city was dark, depressing and hopeless. This motivated Dr Motte, a DJ from West Berlin, to organize a demonstration for peace, tolerance and understanding.

He called his demonstration the Love Parade, using the motto, "Peace, Joy, and Pancakes," with techno music as the means of communication to promote his message. Led by a car blaring techno, 150 ravers danced through the streets of West Berlin in July 1989 as a protest – and so the first Love Parade began. 

Berlin's best neighborhoods

Love Parade is back in Berlin this year on July 9 © Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

Berlin: a techno capital of the world

The event grew quickly. Hundreds of people turned into hundreds of thousands in just a few years. Love Parade put Berlin on the map, and the authorities loved it, not only for turning Berlin into the techno capital it is today but also for making the city a cultural destination for the first time in decades.

With over a million partygoers arriving in Berlin for the Love Parade every year by the late 90s, every parade became a vibrant display of color, music and positive energy. The techno floats became an icon of the party, and ravers wearing flamboyant costumes, as well as energetic, half-naked dancers writhing to the sounds of techno, were regular features of the parade – all of this without any judgment or intolerance from Berliners. 

Slowly, however, Berlin changed. Before long, the city didn't need any help attracting visitors, and the authorities became more concerned about the damage and waste each Love Parade was leaving behind.  

Getting around in Berlin

Love Parade, the greatest and loudest techno parade in Berlin in 2003
Love Parade in its heyday in Berlin in 2003 © buckdanny / iStockphoto / Getty Images

Love Parade 2010 tragedy

For many, the Love Parade didn't feel like a demonstration anymore. Dr. Motte distanced himself from the parade, and the German government revoked its demonstration status in 2001. With the organizers now assuming the full cost of cleaning, funding became an issue, and the parade's reputation deteriorated. By 2006 something was clear – the Love Parade had to move.

With a new owner leading the party, the Ruhr region in western Germany became the parade's new host, and the parties of 2007 and 2008 were a great success. Over 1.2 million attended the Love Parade in 2007, and 1.6 million attended in 2008, making it the largest techno festival in history.

Unfortunately, the next parade, in 2010, ended in tragedy. A panic broke out in the crowd, causing a mass exodus that resulted in the deaths of 21 attendees, with more than 600 injured. The event organizers announced an indefinite halt to the Love Parade.

From the Pergamon to the Bode, Berlin's best museums tell the story of Germany's history

Dr Motte, the legendary DJ behind Love Parade
Dr. Motte, the legendary DJ behind Love Parade © dpa / picture alliance / Getty Images

Rave the Planet, a reimagined Love Parade

After years of talks and negotiations, the Love Parade is finally returning home to where it all started. With a new name, Rave the Planet, and a new cause – protesting against the current conditions and struggles affecting the music industry – the Love Parade has recovered its demonstration status. 

The route is going back to its origins too. The parade begins at 2pm on July 9, 2022 at the Uhlandstraße U-Bahn station, weaving through the streets to the iconic Brandenburg Gate and finishing at 10pm at the Victory Column in Siegessäule

When and where to see the parade this year

Though techno parties are the driving force of the event, speeches about nightlife ethics and politics are set to take center stage every hour from a different location. The stops for the parade will be: 

  • 2pm Uhlandstraße
  • 3pm Breitscheidplatz
  • 4pm Wittenbergplatz
  • 5pm Nollendorfplatz
  • 6pm Potsdamer Straße
  • 7pm Schöneberger Ufer
  • 8pm Potsdamer Platz
  • 9pm Brandenburger Tor
  • 10pm Victory Column 

Where to see Berlin's best street art and celebrate freedom of expression

Ravers sittiing on a sound truck, surrounded by soap bubbles in Berlin
Berlin's street parties attract huge crowds, so plan accordingly © Michael von Aichberger / Shutterstock

Things to keep in mind when attending

For those visiting Berlin for the Rave the Planet Parade 2022, arriving well ahead of time is advisable to check out which of the music floats catches your attention. Each float will be playing a different sub-genre of electronic music – amongst others, the Save Our Scene float will play Drum & Bass, Ostfunk & Goanautika will play psytrance and Freak de L'Afrique will play Afro-house. 

You can find a complete list of venues, parties, and participating floats on Rave The Planet's official website. Since the party is considered a demonstration, there are no tickets for sale – simply show up to the event, bring your own snacks and drinks, and celebrate. 

Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend. Meet your friends at a metro station beforehand, and remember there is a big chance of not having a phone signal while you're here. There is no official information regarding glass bottles, so I recommend only bringing drinks in cans or plastic bottles. For those arriving late, check out when the speeches take place and simply take the metro to the closest U-Bahn station.

The Love Parade is set to finish at 10pm. But don't worry, parties will take place across Berlin for those who want to continue clubbing. You can either go to one of the city's iconic techno clubs – Salon zur Wilden Renate, Tresor and Watergate are good options – or one of the official afterparties at Kesselhaus, Oft Hafen and Anomalie Art Club.

Top 20 free things to do in Berlin

See our full range of Berlin travel guides

Whether you're visiting for a weekend or a couple of weeks, make the most of your time in Berlin with Lonely Planet’s range of travel guides. Experience Berlin's neighborhoods like a local and design a trip that matches your interests through insider tips, suggested itineraries and handy maps.

Buy Berlin travel guides

Explore related stories