GFB Weekend 2020 has just been cancelled — confirming, sadly, that the original decision to postpone it from May to September was too optimistic about when ‘normal life’ would resume in Berlin.
Organiser René of Xklusiv broke the news to participating designers, vendors and others directly involved in the event in a brief missive on Monday evening (June 29).
Despite initial agreements with the GFB’s regular Berlin venues for a four-day programme on September 10-13, it eventually became clear that none of the venues would be able to accommodate GFB Weekend 2020 under the restrictions that will still be in force then.
René said: “Unfortunately we got feedback from our venues and clubs [that] even if the Corona restrictions get lifted more, the limitation due to social distancing etc would not only make it non-profitable for them — they would also lose any state aid for their employees and the goodwill of their landlords.
“So instead of returning to full costs with less income, they will remain closed for events till restrictions get lifted fully. None of them plans for a reopening this year now.
“So we can’t make it happen this year, no matter what we want, as we have no venues.”
Adding that the postponement of GFB Weekend 2020 would be publicly announced later this week, René’s message to participants concluded: “I am so sad but hope you are all up for next year.”
As the news circulated among London insiders, we learnt that some with non-refundable bookings were
GFB WEEKEND promoter Renè, below, says: ‘We can’t make it happen this year, no matter what we want, as we have no venues’ (photo: Tony M)
Some wondered if perhaps the legendary KitKatClub would be open in September — given that it does have a bit of a reputation for non-conformism.
FETISHGUERILLA host Martin Pelzer, above, says KitKat, like other Berlin venues, won’t reopen ‘until full capacity is allowed’ (photo: Gili Shani)
But according to Martin Pelzer, who hosts the annual FetishGuerilla party there during each GFB Weekend, even edgier places like KitKat are not taking any chances.
“KitKat will not open until full capacity is allowed again,” he told us.
“It’s just too risky to do anything before. If they catch you, you’re done — at least clubs would be, as no club can pay the penalty right now. It would mean bankruptcy.”
He endorsed René’s impression that venues would not reopen until at least the end of this year, but speculated they might actually not do so before March 2021. “Not until there is a vaccine,” he suggested.
At time of writing (Wednesday July 1), the GFB website had not yet been updated to reflect the cancellation of GFB Weekend 2020.
But the site does already carry next year’s dates for the German Fetish Ball Weekend. The venerated festival expects to return to its established five-day slot scheduled around Ascension Day Weekend, on May 12-16 2021.