But for a first time it worked out really well. Of course I am a bit biased, since I attend the Flowers and Bees parties (held by photographer Michael Küttner and his wife Svenja) as often as I can. (See link to my earlier Fetishistas report below.)
Combining an alt/fetish fair with fashions shows, exhibitions and other entertainment (and a pre-party the night before), Honeyland made its debut on January 13.
The first fair’s exhibitors were exclusively German, as there was not enough time to organise any international participation. I do hope this will change with the next edition, scheduled for this September.
On the evening of Saturday 12 the pre-party (in the same venue) was even more last-minute. You may wonder about this reversal of the more usual order of things, but I must say I liked it.
The party, called Honey Bee Warm Up, was not an official Flowers and Bees. But surprise, surprise, it had a karaoke stage.
It was so cool to see artists, models and even a lost, slightly drunk, Dutch photographer accompanied by a long-legged and blue-haired Dutch model [I wonder who they were — TM] join this stage and entertain the crowd with heavenly singing/grunting/screaming.
There was dancing, laughter, good music (ie not only techno), and drinks. This all sums up a pretty good party for me.
On Sunday the Delta venue, well known as the location of many previous Fetish Evolution Balls, was transformed into a happier industrial setting for the event described by its hosts as a ‘kinky fetish fashion show and play market’.
Honeyland uses the same parts of the venue complex that are used for the Flowers and Bees parties, plus the main hall used by Fetish Evolution for all the fashion shows.
Our hosts put in a great effort to make it as perfect as possible. There were extra decorations like big candy balloons and kinky/sexy pictures on the walls, plus extra lights for the exhibitors, fitting booths and much more.
At the entrance, there were little people waiting at a miniature sugar candy bar to help you out with cotton candy and popcorn. (I went back a few times; it’s free and I’m still Dutch.) There was some lighthearted flirting going on over there too, which added to the fun atmosphere.
Surprisingly there was also good food like fresh baked pizza, typical German wurst and of course drinks. This meant that after their first shopping spree, visitors could take a short food break and then continue with their retail therapy. This is something I could very easily get used to.
Next to the DJ booth there was a comfy lounge area with an exhibition of work by German photographer Vince Voltage.
It was a perfect opportunity to chill out and leaf through his book, or even buy it. I am super impressed by his weird, stunningly original, crazy-colourful style.
The lounge area was also perfect to actually lounge like a pro and to have a few words with the designers, artists and models who were hanging out there.
And there were quite a few walk-around acts. A giant woman with extraordinary make-up guided me through the area where fetish models were walking around with gorgeous masks and jackets by Jaded Jewell.
I think I spotted all the post-apocalyptic people from Wasteland Warriors moving around the location in their extravagant and creepy-looking outfits. Some even managed to scare the shit out of me. I can always appreciate that. In a way.
And fashions shows. Each designer was able to show their kinky and colourful designs twice, and visitors were treated to fun performances from the 14 models on stage.
One label, Rimo Fashion, even made their show work with just two female models. Two. Much respect to these ladies, since it was almost a magic act to behold! And the happy faces. This always works for me.
My favourite newcomer (and friend), the photographer AverageShots, premiered his new clothing line, AverageCouture, on the Honeyland catwalk.
Mr Average had been working on some very intricate harness designs for the previous few months and was finally able to show them on the runway.
I wouldn’t know how to put any of them on, and probably would suffocate while trying. But the designer explained in a calm way, to all his customers, how his creations could be worn.
His show also had the best German fetish models on stage — such a wonderful sight! It is definitely helpful if you make great pictures and know all the right people.
And confetti. There was a lot of confetti. Luckily there was also the stage manager who fixed this small issue with a broom and some Deutsche Grundlichkeit (German thoroughness).
Since there was quite a change in the composition of the Honeyland crowd during the course of the afternoon and evening, repeating the shows gave all visitors a fair chance of seeing them.
In between the fashion shows were performances: music from singer Jean Pearl, impressive pole-dancing by Juela Mey, and also one of the fiercest fire shows I’ve ever seen, from Aurora Galore.
But no kinky event is complete without bondage! Honeyland arranged some cool bondage shows from RopEmotion, which were done with humour and a lovely storyline. I really liked the ‘suffering’ portrayed by the cute rope-bunny during these shows.
All this was compèred by the lovely Cassidy Rose, dressed as the sweetest honeybee ever. She really made it work.
Not the hysterically screaming, or loudly clapping, half-insane type you sometimes get in such situations, but a cool, amusing, pleasing-to-the-eye presenter.
Cassidy’s introductions were not too short or too elaborate. She’s a real natural entertainer and I was pretty much blown away by the way she handled it.
Can you imagine seeing all this for the first time? Think about it. How astonished were you when you first saw an event like this?
For some visitors it could easily have been their first such experience, as there were quite a few vanillas also enjoying the colourful audience and shows. That’s what I really liked about this fair. It wasn’t fetishists only.
Even the curious — ‘normal’ if you wish — people are welcome at Honeyland. Such a great way to get to know the scene and all the beauty which comes with latex, leather, ropes, etc.
The event was visited by more than 550 people. For a first time this is really quite amazing. It felt to me like the venue was never empty.
Many visitors came dressed in their favourite gear, which added more fun to the entire experience.
What I also liked is that, if you’re visiting from afar, you can rent a (cheap) hotel room five minutes walk from the venue, so you’re not stuck with the pricey Bredeney Hotel many know from Fetish Evolution.
Or as some people did, you can rent a great Airbnb with sauna only a stone’s throw from the venue. Incidentally the Delta Musik Park location is also easy to reach for anybody who comes by train.
Next Honeyland will be on Sunday September 1, from 13:00 to 21:00. As before there will also be a Honey Bee Warm Up, on August 31. And I sincerely hope there will be a karaoke stage again!
Be sure to put it in your agendas! Advance tickets cost €15 until April 30, and €18 thereafter. Entry to Saturday’s Warm Up will be €15 on the door. More information will follow nearer the dates.
Related Fetishistas Article
FlowersandBees debut report
BELOW: Galleries of the people and shows at the first edition of Essen event Honeyland in January. Click a preview to access a gallery then click any thumbnail to start the gallery slideshow