This year’s GFB Weekend — five fabulous days of fetish festivities — would have just finished in Berlin on Sunday (May 24) had it not been for Covid-19.
But when it became clear a little over a month ago that, due to the pandemic, the German Fetish Ball would not be able to take place in Berlin as early as May, it was moved first to mid-September — then to May next year.
Its first postponement to September 10-13 would have seen the GFB programme lose one day. But its subsequent move to 2021 sees the full five-day programme returning on May 12-16, 2021, the fetish fest’s usual dates around the Ascension Day holiday. (See Fetishistas GFB update article here)
Mid-May should ensure decent weather for the event — even if not the peak heat most frequently experienced when the GFB has a late May start running into early June. Last year’s GFB Weekend, from May 29 to June 2 certainly followed that rule.
The weather was, for the most part, ideal — especially for the recently revived Fetish River Cruise which departed on Thursday afternoon from opposite the recently completed Mercedes Platz tourist piazza.
Though sunny, it was still quite breezy on the River Spree, and by Ball time on Saturday night, that breeze had turned chilly enough to render the outdoor seating on riverside venue Spindler & Klatz’s floating pontoon surplus to requirements.
So last year, I didn’t get to repeat my favourite way of ending Ball night — lounging on that pontoon watching the sun come up over the Spree. But apart from that, 2019 was in my view the best ever GFB Weekend.
And I’ve been to every one of them since the second edition. But everything really came together in 2019: sunshine, big attendances, lots of international visitors, a great fetish fair that did lots of business, masses of amazing outfits on the guests and a wonderfully friendly vibe.
I attended the first couple of GFBs while still editor of Skin Two magazine. After leaving Skin Two in 2006, I spent a year developing version 1.0 of The Fetishistas with Jan Fetishclubpix and Martin Pelzer, which we launched in March 2007.
Yes, that Martin Pelzer, he of FetishGuerilla/ Revolution/KitKat fame. He was The Fetishistas’ original webmaster, and we have remained friends ever since.
That’s why I was happy to offer him some of the videos we shot at last year’s GFB Weekend for his FetishGuerilla/GFB Livestream event last Friday, May 22 — the night when, ordinarily, his annual KitKat party would have been taking place in the flesh.
If you’d told me that subsequently relaunching The Fetishistas on the WordPress platform in autumn 2014 would present me with an opportunity to include ‘own-brand’ video content on my site for the first time, I might well have believed you.
But I probably wouldn’t have believed that my video collaborators would hail not from London or even the UK, but from Sweden.
I’ve been working with them for five years now, and between us we’ve developed a style that (with the honourable exception of LatexFashionTV) isn’t that much in evidence elsewhere in fetish culture, focusing as we do on video reportage and journalistic interviews rather than just fetish glamour.
The mover and shaker at the centre of the video project is photographer/cameraman/ editor/musician — and, for all I know, house painter and brain surgeon — Nikdesign.
His compadre in the presenter/interviewer role is Peter Monochrome, who apart from being a massive latex enthusiast, is also one of the three tallest men on the entire fetish scene.
So if you wonder why so many of our video interviewees seem to be gazing up at the sky
when answering our questions, it’s probably because Peter hasn’t remembered to crouch, sit down, or make his subject stand on a chair.
And as if two Swedes weren’t enough, we’re often also able to avail ourselves of guest presenter appearances by Kari Berg — model, actress, singer, Sophie Lancaster Foundation ambassador and also GFB MC for several years.
Between us, we’re bringing you this GFB Weekend feature packed with new photos and videos from the 2019 event, offered up as some small, vicarious compensation for not being in Berlin in person for the 2020 event this May.
My main contribution is six galleries of pictures from the Fetish River Cruise, Sonic Boom! party, German Fetish Fair, FetishGuerilla Revolution party and German Fetish Ball.
Each gallery contains 18 previously unpublished images, with the Ball having two galleries split between people and shows.
So that’s 108 new pictures from 2019, which might otherwise have been published as part of a May GFB Weekend preview earlier in the year.
There are some show pix, but it’s mostly shots of partygoers. So if you were there last year, got photographed, but didn’t see yourselves in our earlier 2019 galleries (published June 2019 — see link below), do check out these new galleries!
Each gallery (they’re all here on page one) has a little ‘journal entry’ by me beneath it, to provide a bit of context for the pictures, along with the odd anecdote.
As for new video, well Nik excelled himself with the amount of new material he was able to assemble for this article. You’ll find most of it on page two, except for the short but impactful Sinners compilation sitting at the top of this first page, just above this very text.
The first piece on page two is also a compilation, this time of five years of GFB footage.
It’s followed by the final two Ball fashion show videos from 2019 — featuring Lady Lucie Latex and Yummy Gummy. With the release of these, we have now published the complete set of last year’s fashion shows (the rest can all be found in the Video section of this site).
Then we have a group of three interview videos, first of which is the full-length (seven-minute) version of the shorter Leigh Hutchinson interview by Peter premièred on Friday’s FetishGuerilla/GFB Livestream show.
It’s followed by an entertaining chat with GFB fire-show performer Topanga Love, in which Peter remembers to sit down so the poor woman doesn’t have to crane her neck.
Then, talking outside the Ball to Friday Sparkles from Sydney, on her first visit to the GFB Weekend, and making his video interviewer debut, it’s… me. I was standing in for Peter who mysteriously disappeared for a while. Well, his loss — my gain!
Final two videos on page two were both interviews conducted by Peter with exhibitors at the German Fetish Fair — Blasted Skin from Italy and Fetish-Design from Germany.
As it happens, both these brands specialise in leather, which I think neatly demonstrates that here at The Fetishistas, we’re not obsessed with latex to the complete exclusion of other fetish fabrics!
In between all the videos on page two, I’ve inter-spersed a conversation between Nik and Peter, in which they pretend to enjoy working with me to produce Fetishistas video content from GFB Weekend.
Personally I was almost completely convinced by their boundless Swedish politeness. Perhaps you will be too!
The 2019 GFB Weekend dates spanning the end of May and start of June pretty much guaranteed great weather for the revived Fetish River Cruise, departing across the road from the recently opened Mercedes Platz complex on Thursday afternoon.
Seeing the sights of Berlin from the River Spree is a most enjoyable experience, and the friendly folk sunning themselves on the riverbanks greeted our passing boat load of latex-clad pervs as really no more than you expect in this city.
Surviving the two-hour round-trip’s numerous very low bridges, many of us headed on disembarking toward the Mercedes Platz shops and cafés, only to discover they were all shut for Ascension Day.
Yes, even in ‘bolshie’ Berlin, one must expect tourist facilities to close on a public holiday!
Thursday night saw the weekend’s first strict dresscode party, Sonic Boom!, taking place at the Matrix venue where the main Ball used to be staged.
In the last couple of years, Sonic Boom has blossomed into a full-on, packed-out party, thanks in part to the growth in sales of VIP tickets which include a champagne reception at Matrix for VIP pass- holders before the party proper kicks off.
The party generally only features one show, but that’s fine because Sonic Boom is much more of a social networking event where visitors from around the world check each other, and each other’s outfits, out.
Sonic Boom at Matrix will be the first event in the GFB’s revised four-day programme in mid-September, as it will be too chilly for boating on the Spree by then.
Friday is first day of the two-day German Fetish Fair, at the street end of the riverside complex which hosts Saturday’s Ball.
2019’s GFF had about 50 percent more floorspace for exhibitors thanks to opening half the building’s upper floor, which also houses the Ball’s dressing area. This enabled the Fair to further build its image as a vibrant fetish fashion event, with very little BDSM participation any more.
I do a lot of stand display shots at this event, but last year there were enough colourful exhibitors and visitors to have a gallery dedicated just to people.
Look for Kay Morgan, Topanga Love, Anna Kii, Helen Tieman, Kari Berg, Blondie, Ada Zanditon, Rebecca Allsop, Cassie Carpenter and more here.
FetishGuerilla’s Revolution party at KitKatClub on Friday night has shared effective top billing with Saturday’s German Fetish Ball for some years now.
Martin Pelzer’s event is renowned for the crowd it attracts, both in terms of numbers — they had to start opening the basement to provide more space — and dressed-to-impress, hardcore partying attitude.
KitKat is also a notorious haven for smokers with a swimming pool area that provides the most breathable air in the joint — although ingesting the water is not recommended!
Getting to see the evening’s performances can be a real hit-and-miss affair, but most people are there for the socialising, music (provided by legendary Berlin DJs and guests) and dancing.
The 2019 German Fetish Ball itself, at Spindler & Klatt on the banks of the Spree, was reportedly the most financially successful to date, thanks probably to a big influx of international visitors embracing the VIP pass option.
It makes sense: you won’t want to travel all the way from Australia, the USA or Canada and not attend all the events, and the VIP pass is the most economical way to do that.
Long distance travellers also tend to want a good selection of eye-catching outfits to wear. What’s the point of coming all the way from, say, Sydney if you’re not going to be noticed?
The 2019 Ball crowd seemed more colourful and playfully-dressed than in previous years. It was almost as if people were bringing the previous night’s wilder FetishGuerilla vibe to the main event.
This made the choice by several of the fashion show designers to go ‘all black’ for 2019 all the more surprising: a reversal of earlier times when there was a riot of colour on the catwalk but a sea of black in the audience!
Of course, there was colour on the catwalk too, as you can see in my 14 new images from 2019’s seven designers. And nowhere was latex and colour combined more impressively than by Yummy Gummy’s Rebecca Allsop, who closed the show.
With models in flowing gossamer outfits who looked like they’d emerged straight from Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Rebecca reminded us it is never safe to assume everything that can be done with latex has already been done.READ MORE – GO TO PAGE 2 OF 2
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