When I say (as I did to a few of the new friends I was making) that the weekend just gone by was my first Kinkfest, I’m not lying. But nor am I telling the whole truth. It was my first time attending Kinkfest UK in the Midlands, though the current incarnation is now in its sixth year. However, I remember attending two or three Kinkfests in London in the mid-Noughties and, before those, there was SM Pride, though even that was originally known as Countdown on Spanner/Dungeon In The Sky.
As an old lag and someone with an active interest in the history of British pervery, I’m currently trying to remember what some of the earliest versions of such a weekend were like. The first approximation I know of was the Countdown on Spanner march in the Autumn of 1992. (Dear new Kinkfest 2019 pals, I am well aware that a few of you weren’t actually born then.) I’m pretty sure the march was followed by a series of talks and hands-on sessions, and that there might have been a play party afterwards. And, whether this was deliberate or not, the Skin Two Rubber Ball took place a couple of days later (on the Monday – all fetish nights, pretty much, were on Mondays in the early 90s.)
There was a later mutation into London Fetish Weekend and, at some point, the march was dropped and the amount of parties changed relative to the amount of workshops, and a market/selling aspect was introduced. The first London Kinkfest happened in 2004 and ran for two or three years: that mixed shopping, education, entertainment and playtime across a day and a night.
So, how does the current Kinkfest compare to the older versions? I can safely say I had a brilliant time involving flirtations, rope, takedowns and catching up with an old pal or several. Absolutely lots of kudos to the organising crew, who are all scarily young and scarily competent: I have no criticisms worth mentioning. There is no protest march attached to the event, but that’s not a loss – the final few years of the SM Pride march were, to be honest, a little embarrassing. Accurate or not, the prevailing view around the turn of the century was that the battles had all been won and we could let our kink flags fly, and didn’t, therefore, need to get up at sparrowfart and stomp through the streets before getting stuck in to the more interesting business of the day.
There’s no market zone, either and, having attended Kinkfest 2019, I can see why: pretty much every inch of the venue is taking up with workshops and talks and there simply wouldn’t be the space for stalls. The workshops, I rather think, are of a higher standard and a wider range than we used to get 20/30 years ago, which is perhaps to do with there simply being more people with more to offer than in the old days when it was often a case of ‘who can we coax to stand up for 20 minutes and yack about something a bit kinky?’
Well done all round, really. I find it quite heartwarming that the youngsters are carrying kinkyfuckery forward into the future.