And at that point, it probably was. But I’m afraid the 2019 GFB Weekend just held in Berlin easily trounced its predecessor, exceeding expectations in very many respects.
From the opening Kinky Cocktails party to the headlining Ball itself, this premier European fetish fest effortlessly ramped up its credentials with an unprecedented number of attendees — including what must surely have been its largest ever international crowd.
I got an early hint of how multi-national the whole thing would turn out to be when, standing outside the entrance to 260 Grad where the Kinky Cocktails/Fetishistas Directory launch party was held on Wednesday evening (May 29), the first five people to arrive for the event were all Australian!
They turned out to be the vanguard for a much bigger crowd from all corners of the globe who came to the first night and received one of our exclusive Fetishistas Directory promo gift packs.
The packs were ably handed out by our latex-clad greeter Vero, who also helps on the Bondinage stand at the Fair. I last saw her towards the end of the evening getting her rubber-stockinged feet massaged by Fetishistas video presenter Peter Monochrome. Something there for everyone, then.
Each gift pack included a little silver metal pill-box stamped with a Fetishistas Directory logo and stuffed with mints. These freebies went down exceedingly well, and rumour has it that some people even found other uses for the tins once the mints were consumed.
The same Wednesday evening also played host to Savage Wear’s party at Badehaus, which I’ve enjoyed in recent years. Under other circumstances I would definitely have put in time at both events, as indeed many people did.
But being co-host, along with the GFB crew, of the 260 Grad party, I couldn’t really desert my post on this occasion. However, I’m reliably informed that Savage Wear managed to have a good night without me!
Thursday (30) brought with it a beautiful sunny afternoon that was absolutely perfect for the first of that day’s numerous events: a revival of the GFB Fetish Cruise on the River Spree.
Back in 2015, chilly overcast weather limited enjoyment of the original GFB river cruise.
However, with warm sunshine forecast for this year’s later cruise date, the revived event clearly caught more imaginations, selling out its 90-plus tickets within a couple of days.
The Spree river boats depart from the East Side Gallery dock opposite the new Mercedes Platz development. And this year before departure, there was a riverside group photo shoot for which everyone had been encouraged to dress to impress.
They did not disappoint. And the attention the gathered kinksters attracted from Berlin residents and tourists around the dock was a joy to behold. People treated it like exactly the kind of spectacle you would expect to see in this artistically edgy city.
Once our boat full of kinksters began its voyage, their enthusiastic exhibitionism — cheering, waving and flashing fake boobies — continued to get positive reactions from onlookers on the river banks and passing boats.
In all, the two-hour trip felt like the perfect promotion for our pervy invasion of Berlin!
Disembarking from the boat at around 5pm, the logical thing was to stroll across the road to investigate the facilities in the new Mercedes Platz development that extends from the Mercedes-Benz Arena to the river.
This public square offers a new hotel, the Indigo (base for the GFB organisers), plus a number of restaurants and bars including 260 Grad and Alex, where the Farewell Brunch was booked for Sunday.
To one side of the Arena, stretching across almost to Warschauer Str station, is the new East Side Mall. But to our surprise, today it was shut.
Why? Because this particular Thursday in Germany was a public holiday (for Ascension Day), and Germans don’t hold with religious holidays being treated as opportunities for large-scale retail therapy. Yet.
After an unexpectedly long trek in search of coffee, our Swedish video team (Nikdesign, Peter and Kari) and I ended up at a nice place in Friedrichshain popularised a few years back by Swedish fetish models keen to avoid a notorious photographer.
We treated ourselves to puddings and coffee there, and I can tell you: never have just desserts tasted so good.
Early Thursday evening brought with it a new event in the GFB programme: a Femdom Dinner for up to a hundred people at riverside restaurant Rio Grande.
We didn’t have a Fetishistas representative there, but we know (and like) the restaurant, so hope that all went well. Even if it didn’t, it couldn’t possibly have been as awful as the experience many of us had with GFB dinners at Sage in earlier years.
For a select few after the Femdom dinner, there was the option of an invitation-only play party at Berlin’s Fetisch Institut. We did have a spy at this event, who summed it up thus:
“There were about eight guys there, and about 15 dominatrixes. And for the first time in my life, I found myself thinking: there are too many dominatrixes!” A concept completely beyond imagination for some people, I’m sure.
For mere mortals, Thursday night offered this year’s first potential visit to the GFB’s old Matrix haunt, for the VIP Reception (passholders only) followed by the Sonic Boom! Party (anyone with a ticket).
This party on this night has only been part of the GFB schedule in recent years — and this year it was absolutely rammed. You literally could not swing a cat, which as you can imagine was great news for cats but less so for swingers.
Here, I was delighted to bump into various international people I hadn’t seen for a while — such as Vancouver Fetish Weekend organiser and DJ Isaac Terpstra — or indeed for decades, such as Brent with his pompadour hair and knife-sharp latex style.
Photographing people at this night was not easy, but Sonic Boomers I did manage to pap included longtime designer chum Lady Lucie, in company with some of the models who’d be walking for her imminent debut on the GFB catwalk.
Among Lucie’s model retinue was legendary American trans actress and porn star Natalie Mars, stunning in a green and white latex nurse’s outfit.
The evening also provided my first encounter with 2019’s new GFB mistress of ceremonies, actress and model Leigh Hutchinson, who was sporting an outfit from her considerable wardrobe of custom latex by Phurc.
Leigh and I had a nice chat — she’s very friendly. She did a great job later hosting the Ball, and later still we managed to get a fab interview with her on video.
I predict the UK fetish scene will be seeing a lot more of Ms Hutchinson.READ MORE – GO TO PAGE 2 OF 2
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