TF Archives

80,000 Ravers Pack Sao Paulo's Street Parade

Author: Camilo Rocha
Monday, December 10, 2001
Over 80,000 revellers attended Sao Paulo's Parada da Paz (Peace Parade), last Sunday for the 5th event in the dance festival's history. Crowd estimates were provided by local police who also revealed they'd had to attend to a minimal number of crimes throughout the daytime event. Indeed, by 6 PM (the parade started at 1 PM) the police hadn't registered any incidents at all, according to Brazil's main broadsheet newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

All the main Brazilian DJs played atop more than 20 floats, each hosted by a different sponsor such as radios, clubs, party organizations and companies like Red Bull. Attendance was nearly three times higher than last year's parade, which drew 30,000. This year was also the first time the parade received official backing from city authorities with Sao Paulo's Mayor Marta Suplicy, from the left-wing Workers' Party, even delivering a speech at the beginning of the event. Her attitude was just the latest manifestation of the forward looking mentality that characterizes the city's current administration, a relief after eight years of corrupt, conservative mayors.

Suplicy is a campaigner for the legalization of gay marriage and her Sao Paulo administration also officially supports cannabis decriminalisation. This shift in attitude was also reflected in the police's behaviour at the Parade, which was markedly more restrained than in previous years. While cops remained highly visible as before they nevertheless maintained a discreet and respectful distance. In contrast, just two years ago, parade organizer Beto Lago was beaten by police while DJ Marky was ordered to stop the music at gunpoint.

Parada Da Paz campaigns for a reduction of violence in Brazilian society, which remains one of the country's greatest (and escalating) problems. Fittingly, the event was both peaceful and uplifting, for the tens of thousands really going for it on the tarmac. And with electronic music continuing to take over Brazil's already massive street party culture, the PaRADE looks certain to get bigger in future years.