A record 300,000 people have turned out for France’s fifth Techno Parade on Saturday, according to the organisers, though only 100,000 attended according to the police.
Revellers strutted their stuff behind 21 floats that wound their way across Paris bathed in the late summer sun.
Some 150 disc jockeys spun their tunes, pumping out a massive 300,000 watts of music from huge sound systems mounted on trucks that filed down the city’s main avenues to finish in Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris.
Sounds from Hungary, Algeria and Colombia rocked Paris as the parade’s organisers, Technopol, put the accent on marrying thumping electronica with traditional world music.
But the techno bash also had a political note with many ravers protesting against a crackdown by the right-wing government on free underground rave parties that change venues constantly.
Under the slogan Let Us Dance, the party-goers denounced the “paranoia” surrounding electronic music fests that have made even the organisation of legal, registered events very difficult.
“The government is in no way hostile to techno music”
Opening the parade, Technopol’s President Brice Mourer dedicated the street party “to our cancelled parties, to our sites that are closing, to our techno utopia”.
“We want a clarification of the (legal) texts because even official parties put forward by responsible organisers who are ready to follow the rules are almost impossible to organise,” Mourer lamented.
Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon also headed the parade, trying to pass on a message of conciliation to the ravers.
“There is no incompatibility between the fun of dancing, spontaneity and organisers following common sense rules to meet their responsibility towards the public,” the minister said.
“The government is in no way hostile to techno music,” Aillagon insisted, adding that the head of the techno-dominated radio station Radio FG, Henry Maurel, would join a governmental team examining issues surrounding electronic music.
“Artistic creation is a constant renewal. The culture ministry is always there to bring its support,” said Aillagon, who was joined at the parade by his Socialist party predecessor, Jack Lang, and Paris’ mayor, Bertrand Delanoe.
Proof that techno music is gaining mainstream approval, this year’s Technopol was sponsored by a range of top companies.