Now in its sixth year, the San Francisco interpretation of Berlin's famous Love Parade, now titled San Francisco LovEvolution touched down on the city by the bay on Saturday October 3, 2009 without missing a beat. Despite the change in name, ravers from all corners of the globe had no problem finding this unique event and who could blame them. A massive parade in the heart of one of America's most beautiful cities and an all day festival for only $10 bucks was just the sort of uplifting occasion that people were looking for in our current broken economy. With attendance soaring past 100,000 revelers of all ages, genders, races, and orientations, LovEvolution has truly become a phenomena of epic proportions.
This being my third time attending, I decided it was time to switch up my perspective. Rather than simply watch from the sidelines it was time to become an active participant and my opportunity arose via an invitation to take part in the Om Records float in the parade. There was just one catch: the theme was SOLID GOLD! So like any good journalist, I manned up and got the job done, slipped on my gold tights, gold suspenders, and thick gold chain and entered the fray. In any other city walking around in gold pants for eight hours would be an excrutiating experience but in San Francisco, I became a part of the family. The float was packed to the edges with some 100 party people all scantily clad in gold so every ounce of fear immediately melted away. This was a chance to be apart of something much bigger than myself and once the float set out from 2nd and Market Street towards City Hall, the sheer magnitude of the experience became clear. Tens of thousands of people lined Market Street dancing on the sidewalk or following along with our float as Amp Live dropped a nasty set of electro and bass heavy bangers. Random people snapped my picture asking my to pose. I passed out fliers for the Om Records afterparty that night to everyone I could. God only knows how I kept those gold pants on!
Before entering the festival grounds I made a quick pitstop to my hotel room at the LovEvolution host hotel, the Renoir Hotel. The hotel, housed in a flat iron building two blocks from City Hall, is uniquely situated to fully experience the parade and I was fortunate enough to have a suite with a full view of the proceedings. I managed to snap this quick video from my room to let everyone know what they were missing. For both value and convenience make sure you book your room here next year!
From there it was onto the actual festival. All the floats (nearly 30 in all) made their way around the Civic Center, parking around the square and setting up shop for a day full of beats of all sorts. House, drum&bass, electro, minimal, progressive, dubstep, it was all there and in heaping doses of quality to boot. I was impressed by the level of talent on display at LovEvolution from recognized names like Plaza de Funk and Groove Armada to locals dropping some heat. Friendly faces of all ages, outrageous costumes, amazing dancers, and beautiful people all melted together to create a swelling mass of Love that lasted until 9pm.
Ravers, music lovers, and everyone who is looking for a unique, authentic experience should take note. San Francisco's LovEvolution is quite simply an event that you don't want to miss. Surrounded by historical buildings in a city that has a history of progressive culture, you will definitely feel the LOVE. Thanks to everyone who made the experience what it was: San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, the staff and management of the Renoir Hotel, the team at Om Records, the LovEvolution press team, and of course the Nu-Soul crew for representing with the photos. See you next year!
- as experienced by Norman Mayers
- photos by Erin Monahan
San Francisco LovEvolution website