Sea of ravers pulsates to hot rhythms in Zurich

In the sweltering conditions, clothing seemed almost optional at this year's Street Parade Keystone

The 12th annual Street Parade has wound its way through Zurich, pushing the temperature up a few more degrees.

This content was published on August 10, 2003 - 14:25

With its motto “Let the sun shine!”, the Street Parade issued a plea for love, peace and tolerance.

Organisers of the event saw their wish granted. After last year’s downpour, the weather stayed bright and sunny, with temperatures reaching over 34 degrees Celsius in Switzerland's business capital.

An estimated 900,000 spectators and dancers from all over the world followed the parade, transforming the city streets and lakeside avenue into a sea of scantily-clad ravers.

While the number of participants fell short of the record million who followed the 2001 Street Parade, it was still enough to take the title of the biggest party of the year from Berlin, which only attracted 750,000 people recently to its Love Parade.

Swiss Federal Railways organised an extra 150 trains to carry ravers, while the national carrier, Swiss, also laid on extra flights from other European cities.


Techno fans have been taking to the streets of Zurich for the past 11 years.

This year the Street Parade Association made free advertising space available to Unicef along the 2.4-kilometre-long route in the hope of generating donations to the United Nations children’s fund.

“Many people from different ethnic backgrounds come to the Street Parade and dance together. It is a very friendly event and we think that we can give some money to something that is very friendly too, like Unicef,” said Street Parade spokesman Stefan Epli.

Thousands of helpers were also enrolled to ensure this year’s Street Parade was safe and free of incident.

Security measures

After forecasts of high temperatures, the fire department also installed additional sprinklers to cool overheated ravers and the organisers also gave out free sunscreen.

Police recorded no major incidents, but around 1,000 people needed some form of medical attention, mainly because of sunstroke, insect bites or cuts from broken glass. Only 116 were sent to a hospital.

This year the city authorities also came up with a novel way of dealing with the stench of urine left behind by those who fail to find a public loo in time.

According to the local "Tages-Anzeiger" newspaper, Zurich's street-cleaners sprayed roads with an anti-urine concentrate, which leaves behind a whiff of lemon.

The substance is said to be expensive - hence the decision to use it only in known trouble spots.

Family event

The Street Parade’s organisers also encouraged ravers of all ages to participate in this year’s event.

Sir Colin, one of Switzerland’s most popular House DJs and creator of this year’s Street Parade House Mix, said the event had always been open to everybody.

“I think it is a family event. Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers should all come to the Street Parade,” he said.

Sir Colin has been mixing at the Street Parade ever since its birth in 1992 and was due to be present at all the large parties which followed this year's event.

swissinfo, Daniela Silberstein in Zurich

In brief

This year, the Street Parade Association has designated free advertising to the children's charity, Unicef.

Around 3,000 people have been enlisted to help organisers with the event.

Street Parade started in 1992.

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