GFB Weekend 2022, which sees the German Fetish Ball’s return to Berlin at the end of May, is on target to be as well-attended as the last (pre-pandemic) event in 2019, says GFB promoter Xklusiv.
The official GFB Weekend programme from Wednesday May 25 to Sunday 29 consists of seven events organised directly by Xklusiv, plus official Berlin partner FetishGuerilla’s Revolution party at KitKatClub.
Since our earlier preview article, the programme has been topped and tailed with the Kinky Cocktails official opening party — returning to 2019’s new rooftop venue 260 Grad — on Wednesday, and Sunday’s usual Farewell Brunch at a venue to be announced.
(Note: Further down the page, this article includes important information on current covid regulations applying to entering Germany and attending the specific events in Berlin we’re discussing here.)
Here’s a summary of the five-day programme:
Wednesday 25: Kinky Cocktails @ 260 Grad (new venue as of 2019)
Thursday 26: SonicBOOM @ Matrix
Friday 27 (daytime): German Fetish Fair Day 1 @ Heeresbäckerei
Friday 27: FetishGuerilla @ KitKatClub
Friday 27: Sweet Surrender @ Matrix
Saturday 28 (daytime): German Fetish Fair Day 2 @ Heeresbäckerei
Saturday May 28: German Fetish Ball @ ClubOST (new venue for 2022)
Sunday May 29: Farewell Brunch (tba)
In addition to these official events, Wednesday 25 is also the date of the Savage Wear Fetish Night @ Baderhaus.
Below, we provide more info on what for many Berlin visitors are the three big highlights of the whole GFB Weekend: the German Fetish Ball itself, the two-day German Fetish Fair and FetishGuerilla Revolution at KitKatClub.
This year’s Ball — at new venue ClubOST (Alt-Stralau 1-2, 10245 Berlin) — will feature slightly fewer designers on the catwalk than in recent years.
This reflects the 2022 event being scheduled for relatively soon after the relaxation of covid restrictions.
Five brands were originally scheduled, but after Amentium’s withdrawal from the show, the line-up is now down to four latex labels: Antidote London Latex, Maniac Latex, Pandora Deluxe and Inner Sanctum.
However, we now have the first details of newly booked stage performances that will add an extra entertainment dimension to the fashion action.
XelK.de, described as ‘Hamburg’s first kinky and fetish performance art collective’, will be performing a latex flamenco show. Also confirmed is a bondage show from an as yet unnamed female performer — more details coming soon!
ClubOST, the new Ball venue, will have two dancefloors serviced by GFB regulars. The Main Floor will feature Electro courtesy of Hedo, while the Club Floor will offer ’80s and Gothic sounds spun by DJ Alf and his personal DJane.
At time of writing it appears 2019’s MC Leigh Hutchinson will not be resuming that role this year, despite earlier billing on GFB website.
The two-day Fair will take place as before at Magazin in der Heeresbäckerei (Kopernicker Str 16, 10997 Berlin).
The entrance can be found at the ‘street end’ of the riverside complex that also includes the Ball’s previous venue Spindler & Klatt.
On May 10, the GFF exhibitor list stood at 23 companies, dominated by German brands but with a sprinkling of businesses from further afield.
There are even a few British exhibitors — such as Amentium Latex, Figure of A and Rose Noir Design. These companies have had to overcome the massive disincentives to UK participation created by post-Brexit bureaucracy.
Lines at this year’s Fair include sculptured leather fantasy outfits, latex polish, vegan leather fashion, BDSM toys, ornate headgear, men’s and women’s latex fashions, latex hoods, men’s and women’s ‘PVC’ fashions and corsetry.
The Fair’s exhibitors, in A-Z order, are:
Benno von Stein
Black Forest Paddles
Bubbles and Frown
Disco Biscuite NFT
Figure of A
Rose Noir Design
The rules about being vaccinated or tested for covid in order to enter Germany depend on what country you are travelling from. Information can be found on official government websites so be sure to check online well in advance of travel.
The good news for Brits, specifically, is that, post-Brexit, you may enter Germany for any travel purpose if you are fully vaccinated — proof of your three jabs being required in the form of an NHS covid pass. Stays of up to 90 days do not require a visa.
Once in Berlin you might or might not be delighted to learn that the city has dropped all Corona restrictions for events, although some individual Berlin venues still require tests.
The events organised directly by GFB host Xklusiv — Kinky Cocktails, SonicBOOM!, German Fetish Fair, Sweet Surrender and the German Fetish Ball — do not require you to have proof of vaccination, wear a mask or bring a test to enter the venues.
Nevertheless the organisers expect guests to act responsibly, self-testing before events, staying away if they have symptoms, and of course being considerate around people who are masking because of personal vulnerability.
The FetishGuerilla party at KitKat on Friday May 27 is an exception where testing is required. Although an official part of the GFB programme, FGR is subject to the KitKat venue’s rules so you do have to provide a negative rapid test to gain entry.
We understand that Savage Wear Fetish Night, the week’s ‘unofficial, alternative opening party’ on Wednesday 25 at Badehaus, will also require an official rapid test to gain entry.
These rapid tests must be done at a Berlin testing centre not earlier than 24 hours before the start of the party. It’s important to note that while you can always self-test for your own information, self-testing is not accepted by venues like KitKat — you must have an official negative test result.
On Friday 27, there will be a temporary testing centre run by a doctor’s surgery at 13 Brückenstraße, a shop along the street on the other side from KitKat (see map). This centre will be open while the club is open (until 6am Saturday) and will also be open on Friday afternoon before the event.
You are strongly advised to get tested earlier in the day on Friday, and not to rely on being able get a ‘last minute quick test across the road’ while on your way to KitKat, as you might find yourself waiting a long time.
It makes better sense to find a test centre near where you’re staying. Googling ‘Berlin free rapid test centres’ will produce a list and a map showing more than a dozen test centres in the city’s central area, including two a short walk from GFB Weekenders’ perennial favourite nhow hotel.
When you find one on the map that looks conveniently located, be sure to check that centre’s own website to make sure it is still operating and is open when you need it, as we’ve been warned that maps showing test centres are not always right up to date.
Are rapid tests in Berlin really free for everyone? Online information generally suggests that they are, until you dig a little deeper and find that this might only be the case for Berlin residents. Some test sites might charge up to €20 for a rapid test (not a PCR test, which is not required).
A Berlin insider tells us that if you’re a visitor rather than a resident, the best thing would be to give the test centre your hotel address — although at the same time reckoning that, in practice, “nobody cares”. Guess we’ll be finding out soon enough how true that is.
Both of the websites that come recommended by Berliners for finding testing locations are German-language only. But one of them, Coronabike (link below), features mini-maps for each of its listed test centres and is easy to understand even for Brits!