Although Zurich may not seem like a hotspot for partying, the Street Parade during the summer changes the city’s sombre, restrained character into a lively, vivacious one for 24 hours.
Originally established in Germany in 1992, the creator of this ‘techno-parade’ initially intended the event to be a political demonstration promoting “Love, Peace, Liberty, Generosity and Tolerance.” This was a relatively small affair in Berlin, with two trucks and a handful of students dancing around the street to techno music. Since then, the concept has evolved into a huge, international event that attracts over 800,000 people from all over the world.
The parade is an active affair, covering a distance of over 2 kilometers. It starts at the Seefeld neighborhood and snakes around Lake Zurich, ending at Hafendamm Enge. The entire affair officially lasts from 1:00pm to 10:00pm, after which there are smaller parties scattered around the city. You can join in the parade at any time and leave early – there will always be a party to come back on Street Parade day. The event is usually held on the second Saturday of August, providing ample opportunity to enjoy the mild Swiss summer.
This is the place to be for electronic music fans, with over 200 DJs and live acts playing throughout the day. There are six stages and thirty ‘love mobiles’ (colorful trucks blasting electronic music) where you can find entertainment. Big name DJs for this year’s event include Fedde Le Grand, Eric Prydz and Tom Novy. This is also a major event for underground and up and coming DJs and artists, and often serves as a great launch point for their careers; you may be lucky enough to encounter the next Tiesto here!
The Parade is a major cultural event, and people of all ages participate. In 2008, the oldest visitor was famously a sprightly 100-year old woman. Although this was the second Street Parade to be created, it has outlasted the original Berlin counterpart,
which was banned due to excessive rowdiness. The Swiss have a knack of controlling even their wildest events so efficiently that the next day, you can be sure there are no traces of this parade on the street. The official website includes a lists of Do’s and Don’ts that bans the usual alcohol and drugs, but also water guns (because “no one likes getting unintentionally soaked”), whistles, and the politely named ‘mountaineering exercises’ (i.e. climbing onto traffic lights).