All photos by the author. This article ran originally on THUMP Germany.
Since 1997, thousands have gathered each year to take part in Berlin's annual Fuckparade. While the name might suggest the event is something of a mass orgy, it's instead more of a giant street march that was organized decades back as a protest against the growing commercialization of the city's Love Parade. Started in 1989 in West Berlin, the Love Parade was a similar annual techno-focused street event that was cancelled in 2010 after a stampede led to the death of 21 people. For those not immersed in the community, many associate the Fuckparade as the birthplace of the internet's infamous Techno Viking, but the event still intends to act as a serious political voice efforts against themes of gentrification, displacement of nightlife culture, and generally speaking, "the man." This year, around 2,500 people gathered to celebrate the subculture, and we sent photographer and writer Natalie Mayroth to hear firsthand from the many gabber-obsessed participants.
THUMP: How long have you been attended the event?
Melanie: This is my sixth Fuckparade. I go ever year, it's a must, I come mainly because I'm against Nazis, and everything that promotes gentrification.
Are you part of any type of music scene?
I come from the breakcore scene. It's like drum and bass, but way better. Then I went on to gabber and techno events. Now I spend a lot of time indoors.
I've heard rumors about "Gabber Nazis" are involved with Fuckparade. What can you tell me about that?
That's bullshit. We are all leftists—some more, some less, others a lot more—but we're all against nazis.
What is it exactly about gentrification that bothers you about it?
Clubs are closing all the time. Take the Kunsthaus Tacheles art center for example. It wasn't just a club, it was a cultural center. Everything was happening inside.
Kewin, 23, and Tristan, 32
THUMP: Kewin, is this your first Fuckparade?
Kewin: Yes. My girlfriend Miranda brought me.
Do you like it?
This is my music: breakbeat, hardcore, hard techno. It's a truly party atmosphere. I like it, and the weather is perfect for an event like this.
And Tristan, what about you?
This would be my sixth Fuckparade. But it was really a coincidence for me at first. I was a little sick at home one day, and then I heard the music playing. I wasn't feeling so cold after that.
Is this the kind of music you like?
Yes. Traditional techno.
How has the techno scene in Berlin changed since your first Fuckparade?
The Fuckparade is a sign that the older scene has remained in some ways. For many, this is a privilege from the 90s, and to other it's not as cool as what they're getting involved with currently. But here they are running around like they do it everyday..
Going to techno parties in Berlin, things can already get quickly elitist pretty fast.
I don't think it's as elitist in the good clubs. Most of the time there if you look dressed up you won't even get in.
What type of demographics are you representing here?
I'm here for gay rights, women's rights, and for other fringe groups. But this isn't a demonstration against something, but for.
THUMP: I've just climbed onto you car. Where am I?
You're with the Terrarista Tribe. We came through with two cars this year.
What is the Terrarista Tribe?
We're a community that puts on concerts for different causes. We support people in different situations, such as people from other countries who are stranded here or just need financial or mental help.
You're involved with music too right?
I play my own music, just like my friend Yons. We produce together—psychedelic, trance, ambient, a little breakcore. Also a little destruction, and a little black metal.
Do you think the Fuckparade is a good place for people to demonstrate?
Of course! Because here we make our views known and don't hide. We do what we love. We're not against all political systems, but we have to celebrate and demonstrate for people to have more rights and freedom.
What are you here for Yons?
This is a great opportunity to all the other people who live here in Berlin to show a different side of music. That's why I like to me here.
I was told Berlin is a good place to go demonstrate. What do you think about this?
I agree. You have to get involved with what you represent morally. Two years ago I saw a lot of refugees get displaced from their meager tent lodging at minus ten degrees. After that I helped lead some vigils.
Do you ever feel like you're demonstrating is in vain?
Sometimes people are only convinced by things if you can impress them. If they are impressed by you, then you might ask them to think about some things that can be changed. I believe this is the best way to improve things.
Can gabber techno help make that possible
[Gabber] can help people at the very least pay attention, and maybe they'll even like the music. I'm passionate about hardcore music. Those sounds touch me.
Lara, 16, and Tino, 32 (left)
THUMP: Where are you from?
Lara and Tino: We're from Dresden and nearby.
How do you like the Fuckparade, Lara?
Lara: A lot. I came with my friends. I had previously never really participated in a demonstration or the Love Parade before. This is my first.
Do you know what is at stake here?
Lara: This is the counter-event to the Love Parade.
Why do you do you come here and not just go to demonstrations in Dresden where you live?
Tino: We had Tolerate in Dresden this year, which is similar to Fuckparade. But since the Love Parade isn't around anymore and club culture is dying, it's necessary to come here. It's a proper and awesome demonstration.
Why do you think club culture is dying? There are some new places opening in Curling, no?
Timo: Many clubs have closed, whether in Berlin, Leipzig, or Dresden. Curling has new clubs, but they're lacking the old flair of the industrial sites, or they cost 17 euros to get admission. In Dresden you have to pay up to 10 euros, which is a pity, so I'm going to more free techno parties.
Do you know what this event is called the Fuckparade? Sounds pretty tough.
Timo: I think it must sounds so repulsive that the people in the know will come, and the others stay away.
Are you hoping to meet the Techno Viking?
Timo: I don't think it will happen. I followed him a bit because of how famous he's come, but he's pretty messed up. It's a pity, because the guy seems cool. He coined the Fuckparade.
SXF Thunder Cream, 30 (left)
What are you doing at the Fuckparade?
I want to hear how my music is received, enjoy the styes, and see if the demonstration works. I hope that this subculture in Berlin will be accepted soon. I produce also—mostly hardcore, gabber, terror, trance, and hard trance. "
Where can people hear these styles in Berlin?
Most clubs we have to make ourselves because gentrification has erased places like The Tacheles or the Hanger Ostkreuz. Commercialization doesn't give much room to hardcore and gabber clubs.
What do you think about the connection of the gabber scene to nazis? Have you seen these ideologies mix at all in recent year at the demonstration?
I think there are some left and some right nazis, but it's important to you live the music that you can celebrate together, and that tolerance and acceptation is there. I think everyone is welcome here, we don't exclude. Our message is anti-commercialism, anti-capitalism, and free income for all. I'm neither left nor right, I'm a realist, and therefore a raver.
Interesting outfit Colleen, what are you doing here?
I'm celebrating my 25th birthday as well as having a bachelorette party. My great friends thought it would be nice if Snow White was here with a few things: roses, sweets, lollipop condoms...
Why did you choose to have your party here?
We all met at techno parties a few years ago, so this suits us.
So it's not a coincidence that you're here?
I didn't know I was coming until I got here, but I always wanted to go to the Fuckparade—I just didn't expect it would be today. We all go to festivals together, not as many demonstrations. Oh, we need earplugs.
Because the music is too loud?
No, because my best friend is attending and snores. The louder the music, the better.
The demonstration ran that night until around 10PM. It remained peaceful, according to police, but many people were arrested and there were 27 citations, mostly due to drugs. Below are some more pictures taken at the event.
Find more of Natalie's work on Torial.