Magazines and websites have been publishing that 89,000 people showed up for Love Parade San Francisco back in September 2005. At first I didn't question it, thinking 89,000 people... I guess that is possible.
That number stuck in my head for the few weeks following the event, as I began to subliminally ask questions of my friends and colleagues who actually went to SF for the Love Parage or were just around SF for the weekend. As the information started to collect, the electrons in my head started clicking... 89,000? Questionable.
Through my first hand resources and the independent reports from new agencies like News.com, I estimate that the number was more to the tune of 10,000. During that weekend there was also a major anti-war protest which drew numbers in the tens of thousands. My sources indicate that combined, between the two events, there might have been 89,000, but not for SF Love Parade alone.
Advertising plays a huge role in funding events like this, because in the end it is a business. The more eyeballs an event has, the more money it can demand from advertisers. Big numbers mean big dollars. What I ask for is that organizations, both online and offline, seek independent verification of statistics, and to not publish just what the "head office" wants you to report.
The site you are on right now, InternetDJ.com, reaches 300,000 unique people and roughly six million page views a month. This is independently verified and used to help generate advertiser revenue. Imagine what would happen if I were to falsely publish that "InternetDJ reaches one million users this month!" and one of my advertisers found out that this was false? I would definitely lose any future revenue from my sponsors and might find it hard to even get new ones.
My point here is not to find fault in Love Parade SF, or that the 89,000 was incorrectly published, but to point out that the original Berlin LP took years to grow in popularity. Love Parade SF will one day achieve a similar following, but only in due time, with hard work and steady increase in advertiser interest.