One of the refreshing things about dance music right now is how unafraid artists and DJs are to engage with politics and social issues. If some mainstream pop stars and celebrities still remain unwilling to risk upsetting elements of their fanbase, most DJs and artists are unafraid of sharing their opinions about everything from Brexit and Trump to climate change and feminism.
But while there’s no doubt social media can help organise protest and mobilise the masses, the sheer volume of online noise is hard to penetrate – and going to battle with the troll armies is famously equivalent to playing chess with a pigeon. “Social media is a useless echo-chamber for enacting political or social change,” says Gideon Berger, founder of music protest group R3 Soundsystem. “But dance music reinforces and encourages positive communication and relationships that are the foundation of politically engaged activism.” When dance music has inspired change it’s when it’s taken the values of a united music scene beyond social media and ‘IRL’.
Rewind to Berlin in 1989, and Dr Motte was hatching plans for Love Parade, a protest with a rallying cry of ‘Friede, freude, eierkuchen’, or ‘Peace, joy, pancakes’ set to a soundtrack of techno. In the time before the fall of the Berlin Wall it created a movement without barriers, assembled with the sole aim of dancing for a better world. “Here, we all can move as we want,” roared Dr Motte during one of his many famous speeches. “We want to keep this place for ourselves, our children and all the others who will be on this planet after us.” It was a message that reached over 500,000 people at the party’s peak, helped bring the youth of a previously divided city together as a community and laid the foundations for the city’s thriving techno scene today…….
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