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170,000 Pack Sao Paolo's First Ever AME Street Parade

Author: Camilo Rocha
Saturday, November 1, 2003
Over 170,000 revellers flocked to last weekend's AME (Friends of Electronic Music) Street Parade, surpassing the best expectations of the organisers (writes Skrufff's man-in- Sao Paulo, Camilo Rocha)

The parade's success is a vindication for organisers AME, whose social duty philosophy of focusing on positive issues connected with dance culture, such as promoting safe sex and organising food collections prompted managers of commercial DJs including Marky and Patife, to forbid them from playing. Instead, other top national talents such as Mau Mau, Ana & David, Renato Lopes and Drumagick stepped into the breach, alongside internationals including Holgi Star from Germany, Jerome Hill and Nag, Nag, Nag's Jonny Slut. Jonny, in particular, went down a storm with his electro-punk mash-up and told Skrufff he'd enjoyed playing in Brazil.

"They were sooooooo up for it and the crowd seemed to really appreciate such a mish mash of styles rather than tedious house," said Jonny.

"Though it might have been the fact that I did all my gigs wearing nothing but a pair of gold sequined pants and a pair of glue on black leather nipples that they really appreciated."

Under blazing conditions, the massed revellers danced to all strands of electronic music pumped out by the 16 floats, representing the various sides of the now huge Brazilian scene. People were also encouraged to bring donations of food and clothes.

Despite a few minor problems expected with urban events of this size (scuffles, handbag snatches and some people drinking too much), Sao Paulo City Council (who supported the Parade) and the organizers said the level of incidents was considered low. In fact, the only serious incident took place some 90 minutes after after the Parade had finished, when a 16-year-old boy went for a swim in the nearby Park's lake and tragically drowned. Sensationalist local tabloid press this week jumped on the incident, seizing the opportunity to point the finger at the 'madness of electronic music parties' while the police also called for this type of outdoor event to be banned.

However, the city council and the quality press exempted AME from any responsibility for the tragedy and some reports also accused the police of being negligent during the event, not leastby refraining from other revellers jumping in the park's lake (which isn't allowed by law).

AME's future actions include a harm reduction leaflet aimed at the electronic scene, done with the São Paulo city's health authorities, and a large benefit event at the end of the year.