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Electronic Music Hits Zürich’s Quiet Streets

For more than 20 years, thousands upon thousands of people have flocked to the shores of Lake Zürich to celebrate the Street Parade, one of the largest urban festivals on the planet geared to a grand display of love, peace, tolerance and freedom. For just one day, the quiet streets of this Swiss city will pulsate with electronic rhythms and be literally inundated by techno fans and DJs, making for an electrifying atmosphere.

The parade normally takes place on the second Saturday of August, but this year the date has been changed. The streets of Zürich are currently undergoing repair work and, so as not to disturb the flow of the technoparade, the date has been postponed three weeks to 29 August. The dates of the city’s other landmark summer festival, the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, have also been moved. This festival of the scenic arts has been brought forward and will be held from 6 to 23 August, to avoid it coinciding with the Street Parade.

A Little History

At its debut in 1992, Zürich’s Street Parade was attended by a mere one thousand people. But, as of 2001, it has become the largest open-air festival of electro and the city’s biggest annual event. Attendance has approached one million people in the last five years, although this has not posed any safety issues. It is worth recalling that, on 24 July 2010, a stampede at Duisburg’s Love Parade led to a crowd disaster which caused the deaths of 21 people and left about 500 injured. This sad spectacle has conditioned the organisation of such parades forever, with the emphasis now being on infrastructure and safety measures. For this reason, and on account of its calling as a peace festival, everyone abides by the rules and Zürich’s Street Parade is regarded as one of the safest mass crowd events.

Street Parade – Magic Moments

The leitmotif of this year’s parade is Magic Moments and the official anthem was written by the Swiss music producer, Alex Price. A large number of DJs will be participating in the event. They include some great international stars and will be contributing their work free of charge, as a result of the respect elicited by the festival on an international level, as well as its good organisation and the not-for-profit spirit of its organisers.

The Picturesque Parade Route

The parade begins at 1 p.m. at the Utoquai jetty in the district of Seefeld. From here, it will head to the area around Zürichsee – Lake Zürich – one of the most spectacular spots in the city. It then continues along Bellevue Street and Quaibrücke, and will end at Hafendamm Enge around midnight. The march-past runs for 3 kilometres, taking in some of the city’s most picturesque and interesting areas. It will be escorted by 30 trucks loaded with sound equipment, loudspeakers, dancers and DJs, each one representing a prominent Swiss or foreign club. There will also be six fixed stage settings at points along the riverbank route, each with its own programme.

A Long Dancing Weekend

Make the most of your stay in Zürich and also visit the other, albeit smaller-scale, events and celebrations of all kinds – of which there are about a hundred – hosted in Zürich’s various quarters. One of the most emblematic parallel festivals is the legendary Lethargy, in Rote Fabrik. Another interesting option is to visit Hiltl, inscribed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant – which opened in 1898 – while simultaneously enjoying one of the best clubs in town.

Some Pointers

- While the event is admission-free, buying a drink can be expensive and complicated. Be cautious and take at least one bottle of water with you to avoid dehydration.

- Don’t be shy and dress up to impress. It’s the right time to let yourself be carried away by your whim, so try on the most outlandish garb. But, make sure it is cool and comfortable because the day will be long and hectic.

Summer marches on and the party continues. They are well aware of that in Zürich. Don’t let this chance to enjoy the best parade pass you by. Check out our flights here.


Text by Scanner FM

Images by Street Parade

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