Mere days after Torture Garden successfully hosted it first full-scale London club night since lockdowns began, the German Fetish Ball announced cancellation of its tentative September 2021 return to Berlin.
In a statement last Wednesday (Aug 18), GFB organiser René of Xklusiv said that following the city’s announcement a day earlier of a new ban on dance events in clubs, “we see no point in further wishing and hoping”.
September’s proposed GFB dates have therefore been scrapped, and Xklusiv is now putting all its energy into “a big return in 2022”. Next year’s event will occupy the traditional Ascension Day Weekend slot (May 25-29) already set for the 2022 GFB.
The 2022 GFB programme is expected to follow the established five-day format.
This means the Ball itself will be on Saturday May 28, with — also quitting their September slots — FetishGuerilla Revolution on Friday 27, German Fetish Fair on Fri 27 and Sat 28 and the usual array of supporting events throughout the week.
But why has this ban suddenly been imposed when vaccination rates are looking promising and hospitalisation numbers are low? Says René:
“German politics struggle with a perspective for the near future. While some states are opening their clubs and discos (at least for those vaccinated, tested or recovered), the Mayor of Berlin said it is not the time for lifting restrictions.”
René adds that all GFB tickets for the cancelled 2020 and 2021 events remain valid for 2022, but can be refunded if the 2022 dates don’t work for you.
René’s mention of German politics alludes to the upcoming election on September 26. It is assumed that those in power view a full re-opening of the capital’s clubs in election month as a political risk not worth taking.
Mark Clewes, co-host of Torture Garden Berlin — the first edition of which was held in February 2020 just before the first lockdown — thinks the election is certainly a factor.
Berlin-based Brit Mark and his team were about to announce a date for the second TG Berlin in the first half of December when the new ban arrived.
He is hopeful that the ban will have run its course well before the date he had in mind for TG Berlin/2. But he also has another slot pencilled in for February 2022, which is expected to happen whether or not the December date goes ahead.
Read more of his personal take on the current Berlin situation on Page 2 of this article.
In the wake of the new Berlin restrictions, confusing messages began emerging from the city’s nightlife scene about clubs challenging the ruling and winning, about KitKatClub “defying” the ban, and more.
Initially it certainly looked like KitKat would still be hosting Wasteland’s Berlin Underground 10th Anniversary edition on October 2.
But by this Monday (23), the Wasteland Berlin event had been cancelled and rescheduled for October 1, 2022. This suggests that even if Berlin clubs had been trying to get one of their occasional mass protests off the ground, any such attempt had failed on this occasion.
Germany’s federal system means that regional legislatures can set different rules from those announced for Berlin.
And it’s certainly true, currently, that several big regional fetish events set for the autumn months are still happening, with no evidence of anything being said by their promoters about possible rescheduling.
This could be because of local differences in covid regulations. But it could also be because the events in question are all retail fetish fairs not covered by partying rules.
However, all Germany’s big daytime retail fairs do normally also have parties in their
programmes, and it may be that some changes will still be made on that side of things.
First up of these autumn fairs is Passion host M&A Messemanagement’s new alt-subculture fair Obscene, set to run for three days near Stuttgart on September 10-12. To be held at the Glaspalast arena in Sindelfingen, it covers erotic, BDSM, fetish, burlesque, gothic and steampunk interests.
The following month, Avantgardista returns to Munich on October 15-17. This high-end alt/fetish fashion showcase normally combines exhibitors with a substantial fashion show and big SubRosaDictum party on the Saturday night.
However, there is currently no sign of this party being on the Avantgardista 2021 schedule.
November 26-28 sees Hamburg’s three-day Passion Fair set to go ahead on November 26-28. Its general description mentions parties as part of the event line-up (as in previous years), but no parties are listed or mentioned on the ticketing page.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, autumn events in Amsterdam are also either under threat or already cancelled owing to increasing prevalence of the Delta variant.
The first newly affected Amsterdam party we heard about was Irresistible Iris’s launch of Rubber Bunch, set for September 17 but now having to be rescheduled for November 13.
Rubber Bunch was due to launch at Akhnaton, the venue also set to host EuroPerve X On October 9. However, the latter event has also been obliged to postpone — in this case to May 15, 2022 at an as-yet-unnamed new venue.
Boudoir Bizaare, another Amsterdam victim of multiple postponements, had already dropped its planned mid-August edition before the current extended restrictions. It is currently hoping that its December 18 event will be able to go ahead.
Amsterdam fetish dance party Unleashed, similarly afflicted by repeated cancellations, has gone as far as giving up announcing any prospective dates at all until further notice.
Reversing the general trend of cancellations and postponements, however, Wasteland recently announced a new Amsterdam event. Its Halloween & Fetish Fantasy Ball is due to take place at Radion on October 30, four weeks before the big autumn Rituals gathering at North Sea Venue on November 27.
The information above reflects what individual promoters were saying about their events at publication time. However, things can change quickly with covid, so you should check regularly for status updates on events’ own websites and listing pages.
Also of course, be aware that covid regulations on things like vaccination, testing and mask-wearing may be in force at individual venues. Make sure you are fully prepared for these, and for any additional costs you might incur as a result.
If you plan on using flights and hotels to attend an event, make sure you can cancel and get refunds on both if the event is cancelled. If buying travel insurance, be aware that it may not cover all covid-related eventualities.
EVENT LINKS, A-Z BY NAME
Avantgardista Oct 2021
Boudoir Bizarre Dec 2021
German Fetish Ball May 2022
Obscene Fair Sep 2021
Passion Fair Nov 2021
Rubber Bunch Nov 2021
Torture Garden Berlin Dec 2021
Wasteland Berlin Oct 2022
Wasteland Halloween Oct 2021
Wasteland Rituals Nov 2021
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