The outlook for Berlin’s most prominent fetish events appears to have brightened with the German government’s announcement of a phased lifting of covid restrictions over the next month.
On Wednesday February 16, after a meeting with the heads of the federal states, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that since the Omicron wave seemed to have passed its peak, covid restrictions would now be eased in three stages.
Restrictions on private indoor meetings and non-essential store visits would be the first to be relaxed — soon after the announcement.
Then on March 4, the maximum permitted size for outdoor events will increase to 25,000 people, and night clubs will re-open for those who’ve had three vaccine doses or two doses plus a negative test.
Unvaccinated Germans will also be allowed into restaurants with a negative test from that date.
All major restrictions, including requirements to work from home, will expire on March 20.
UPDATE FEB 25: Since the original version of this article was published on February 22, we’ve had good news from the organisers of both German Fetish Ball Weekend and the FetishGuerilla party within GFB Weekend.
They tell us that the five days May 25-29 (culminating in Ascension Day Weekend) are now solidly confirmed for this year’s GFB programme.
In our earlier report, we cited concerns then expressed by GFB host René of Xklusiv that despite general lifting of German restrictions, Berlin itself might run behind on completely relaxing rules for club venues.
But now, the Berlin Senat has announced that the city’s clubs will be allowed to re-open on March 4 under “2G+” rules (see bottom).
“I expect those rules to loosen up by May”, says René, “but the main thing is: no masks and no social distancing inside the clubs.”
As a result, adds René, Sonic Boom at Matrix, FetishGuerilla at KitKat (see item below), and the German Fetish Fair at Herresbäckerei are all now confirmed.
The German Fetish Ball itself, on Saturday May 28, is also confirmed, but usual venue Spindler & Klatt will not be able to host it this year. A new venue is currently awaiting approval and an announcement is expected in a few days time.
In the meantime, Xklusiv is in the process of reconfirming its GFB line-up, and plans to put advanced tickets on sale in March.
In line with the GFB update above, Martin Pelzer, host of the GFB Weekend’s popular FetishGuerilla Revolution party, confirms that his event will take place at its usual KitKatClub venue on Friday May 27.
Like René at Xklusiv, Martin had put in place a Plan B to move FGR to September, should conditions in Berlin not be sufficiently hospitable to a viable GFB Weekend in May.
In this case, Martin might still have hosted a smaller KitKat party on the original May date, but that option is now off the table as May is now firm for the full-scale event.
A new feature of the next FetishGuerilla within GFB Weekend is likely to be a ‘club within a club’.
This would see a floor of KitKat hosted by Hamburg’s ‘private, sexoptimisic, dancepositiv weirdoparty’ Studio Lovemasters, which Pelzer has previously tipped as Germany’s hottest new fetish club night.
Also scheduled during May’s GFB Weekend dates is Savage Wear Fetish Night, the Badehaus party attractive to Berliners partly for its low/no-cost admission, and until recently the opener for the whole GFB programme.
Though now decoupled from official GFB status, the party is likely to be a popular Berlin 2022 fetish date, assuming the relaxed rules for Berlin clubbing enable it to return as announced in its traditional Wednesday night slot — on May 25 this year.
Meanwhile, the next Torture Garden Berlin, which had originally been scheduled for late February, has been postponed again, this time to July 9. It will relaunch as the TG Berlin Midsummer Ball at Metropol Berlin.
Tickets bought for the Christmas 2021 date are still valid and new tickets for July have gone on sale. Given that it is set for more than three months beyond the relaxing of restrictions, it looks a pretty safe bet that this July date will be able to go ahead.
Whether or not the July TG Berlin night happens, the event’s next outing is scheduled for September 10 — the middle date in the three dates a year (Feb/Sep/Dec) planned for TG Berlin when normality fully returns.
Today’s confirmation (see above) that the GFB Weekend is no longer in danger of being moved to September also removes the threat of a direct or near clash with TG Berlin — something that might have persuaded TG to reschedule its September date.
Three months before its July event, on April 15, TG Berlin is due to launch a new spin-off event originally conceived as the pre-party for its abandoned Christmas 2021 party.
Berlin Fetish Republic presents Preaching to the Perverted, hosted at the city’s well-known Insomnia club, is described as a fetish-orientated dance and play party with a strictly enforced dresscode.
The launch event has been inspired by “the 1997, somewhat tongue-in-cheek movie Preaching to the Perverted portraying the British establishment’s often obsessive relationship with the UK’s fetish scene”.
There will be performance by Deanna & Dunja von K, shibari by Superfly 1.3%, and, of course, full access to Insomnia’s various play spaces.
This explanation of the 2G+ rule appears on the website exberliner.com, which provides clear and concise info in English on all the covid regulations in Berlin
The 2G plus regulation is widespread, currently covering restaurants, bars, cinemas, clubs, theatres and similar cultural venues
To enter a venue with 2G+ requirements, it is necessary to be vaccinated or recovered and to provide a negative test, taken within the last 24 hours
However, you are exempt from the test requirement if:
• You are boosted
• You have recovered from Covid-19 in the last three months
• You received your last vaccination in the last three months
More information at: exberliner.com