A hundred years ago, Skin Two Rubber Ball was the first and only big international fetish party. Hammersmith Palais was packed to capacity with pervs who’d flown from every corner of the world to be there. It was quite normal for guests to fly from Australia, Japan and all parts of the USA just to be there. On a Monday night, would you believe! We raised a ton of money for charity. There was a book. There was a film. It’s different now.
George Giaouris from Toronto stayed at my house for the Rubber Ball, went back to Canada inspired, and founded their annual Northbound Leather event – three thousand people in one room! Together with our friends at DeMask, we founded Europerv in Amsterdam. Then came Démonia in Paris, Fetish Evolution in Essen and events in major cities right across the USA. My own favourite was San Francisco Fetish Ball – never a masterclass in organisation, but who wouldn’t love a few days of pervery with friends in beautiful San Francisco.
And that’s the difference. These big events have spread across the world now, so nobody needs to fly thousands of miles to a unique fetish festival any more, just to party with fellow pervs. There’s probably a big fetish event in your own country, or very nearby. And if there isn’t, there probably soon will be. You can party with people you might meet again… which has obvious benefits. The fetish scene has grown and matured and that’s a good thing.
So has the fun gone out of these international events? Are we all blasé now? No, not at all – what’s happened is that the big perv festivals have become a perfect short holiday break. The penny dropped for me at a coffee shop on Chestnut Street in San Francisco, when Ted from New York said the Fetish Ball was all very well but a fetish party is a fetish party and you don’t need to travel – they have plenty of them in NYC. The real point of being there was not so much the party, but to hang out for a few days with your pervy friends in a beautiful city.
Montreal Kinky Festival works for me because it attracts fun pervs from New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto to a friendly town with lovely people for a few days of fun. Elitist and expensive, you say? For jet-setters only? Not really – the organisers lay on basic accommodation in a student hostel (I stay there and it’s fine) and you can walk everywhere. Same applies to Fetish Factory in Miami – a sunny Winter break and a reasonably priced event hotel. And if you’re really on a budget, just stay with fellow pervs. Then you can put them up when they come to your town. Find them on the forums!
My current favourite in Europe is German Fetish Ball. The events across the weekend are well organised and the location has up to now been Berlin, a city I’d always recommend visiting. For 2010, though, they are moving to Hamburg, which is much nearer to most of Europe and easily the most attractive town in Germany. A lot of people have simply never thought to visit Hamburg, but it’s lovely – a sort of chic version of Amsterdam.
German Fetish Ball 2010 is five days of pervy partying from May 12th – 16th. Yes, I did say five days! There’s a cocktail party, a serious BDSM play party, a two-day fetish market, the Ball itself and finally a farewell brunch. I’m just glad it’s not me who has to organise it all. I’ll be there, though. You’ll find the entire programme at http://www.german-fetish-ball.com/ and you might want to stay at the partner hotel, which is the Motel One-Hamburg Altona. The entire place is reserved for us, which sounds like it will be fun…