Will Darklands be possible in 2022? “I don’t have much doubt, but I’m being realistic. The situation has changed so often and so much that it is difficult to make predictions. Parties and mass events are the very last things that will get government approval. But my contacts in the medical and pharmaceutical communities are convinced that by the end of 2021, everything will be back to normal”, Jeroen says.
“Whatever happens, our plans for the 2022 festival are ready. The dates are set, we have options on venues, and no less than 15 hotels have joined our host-hotel partner program. It is just a matter of pushing the play button as soon as we can go ahead. Whether that is at the beginning of 2022, later on that year, or in 2023. We’ll see.”
Change of venue?
Usual location Waagnatie (photo) in Antwerp could be unavailable due to renovation works. So Van Lievenoogen and his crew looked for an alternative.
“At this point we are unsure if Darklands can remain at Waagnatie. I do hope so as the building is a perfect match for our kind of event. And it carries so much Darklands history. But we have a great alternative lined up if necessary. It’s the same distance from Antwerp’s Central Station, just outside the city. The venue is an exhibition centre that has been recently renovated. It offers us more space, modern amenities, and solves some of the issues we encountered at Waagnatie in terms of safety and the use of space. Whatever the future brings, we’ll have a place to call home for at least the next five years.”
That can only be Antwerp Expo, formerly known as Bouwcentrum.
Darklands is also planning after-parties. “For the first time we will offer official Darklands after-parties on three nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). They will be held in a club within walking distance of Waagnatie. People who want more play will still have the option to go to The Boots, but those who want to dance will have the option of the after-party. It will help relieve the overcrowded situation at The Boots.”
That club can only be Red & Blue.
There’s also talk of a ‘brother event’ outside Belgium. That will not happen.
Jeroen: What I can disclose is that we are working on a new event for late 2023. The project is codenamed ‘Alphatown’. It will be an extremely immersive experience with focus on fetish gear, the fetish community, and its history. We’ll rebuild fetish bars and shops from around the world under one roof. You’ll be able to visit both existing venues as those that have been lost to our community for a long time.
“Alphatown will be smaller than Darklands, but it will offer an environment with a strict fetish dress code. There will be specific parties for specific fetishes. That’s very different to Darklands which aims to bring people from different tribes together so they can get to know each other and gain an understanding of other fetishes. In terms of location, we are looking at either Brussels or Antwerp. More details will be announced as soon as we know we can proceed.”
Que sera, sera.