Darklands 2022: 4 to 9 May at Waagnatie, Antwerp

The next edition of Darklands will take place from Wednesday 4 May till Monday 9 May 2022. The venue will again be Waagnatie in Antwerp, in Belgium. The move to a May date is a one-off. 

Darklands is a kinks, leather and fetish festival with parties, elections, performances, and daytime events featuring a fair with many related products. Most patrons are gay men, but Darklands does try to broaden its spectrum and be welcoming for women, transgender and non-binary people. The sexual aspects of Darklands are mostly homosexual, for sure. 

There are two baselines for the 2022 edition: “Time to come home” and “Are you ready to go deep?”

“It was originally planned in February but many rescheduled events (due to COVID-19) at Waagnatie made it difficult to have Darklands take place at the original dates”, organiser Jeroen Van Lievenoogen says on his own fetish medium Alphatribe

“Darklands requires a full week in their schedule. We searched with the venue for another date. One that would not happen during holidays or other fetish events in Europe as we don’t want to compete with our brothers in the same weekend. A long and tiresome search followed until we found a solution last week. The only option available at Waagnatie without advertised events was the period from 4 till 9 May.”

Programme and new ideas

“Most of the design work and website was done back in April 2020. Hotel deals were made for 80% and just had to be rescheduled to the new dates. Half of the hotels have confirmed and can be booked right now. The others will follow next week. Most of the program is already mentioned on the website but there’s still a lot in the pipeline that will be added in the coming weeks and months.”

Darklands has some novelties in stall.

  • The Boots bar will be open on Monday 9 May for the first time.
  • Darklands will feature an outdoor area which is possible because it’s May including a bar and seating to enjoy the sun.
  • On the Falconplein in front of Mister B leather shop a pop-up visitor center and bar will be opened. In the daytime form Wednesday til Monday you’ll be able to exchange your tickets for wristbands, buy tokens, merchandise, have a drink and possibly a small snack.
  • Camp K9 will be open during the parties as wel for the first time.
  • At Darklands in a separate space we’ve arrange the ‘Power Dynamics Lounge’, a place with limited visitors for masters and slaves to do some serieus play.
  • MSC Belgium celebrates their 50th anniversary. 
  • The boys from Geartunes Live! come over for a brand new spectacle on Thursday evening at Darklands.
  • Darklands will offer three new (dance) afterparties at Cargo Club (Red & Blue) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.
  • On Friday evening there will be a spectacular show which Darklands will announce on Saturday 15 May 2021.

2020: to go ahead or not? 

What if COVID is still or again an issue? “In 2020 we were in a horrible position. The moment the situation seemed to become critical, we had just payed all the advances to suppliers, venue, etc … Most of them require a full payment upfront, others usually half”, Van Lievenoogen explains.

“Our cashflow was at its lowest at that point. Based on the reassurance by our then Health Minister dr. Maggie De Block, MD (Open Vld) on Tuesday before Darklands that they were not even thinking about cancelling mass events and our foremost virologist claiming that same day that we had to look at it as a nasty flue, I decided to let the event take place as planned.”

“A cancellation would, with the low cashflow, lead to an immediate bankruptcy. No guests would have had their ticket(s) refunded, hotels were not yet refunding, airlines were not yet refunding. It would have been a catastrophe for everybody”, Van Lievenoogen states. 

Darklands in 2020.

Preparing 2022 in 2021

“This year we had the possibility to negotiate deals with hotels, artists and suppliers that in case of cancellation due to COVID no payments had to be made or refunds were issued. In case of cancellation of the event due to COVID, we will be able to offer a full refund on tickets for visitors and their hotel bookings made through the Darklands website”, Van Lievenoogen says. 

“However, I don’t expect much impact from COVID in May 2022. It’s possible that the government requires a negative test or proof of vaccination, but we’re on top of that and will communicate any measures as soon as they are announced.

Same venue

So Darklands is not moving to Antwerp Expo. That was a possibility, but it turns out it’s not necessary.

“Fortunately the current managers remain in place for another five to ten years. Darklands will be safe for at least that period of time. The venue is getting some construction works done at the moment. In one of the arches a second level is being placed, entrances are being refurbished and new toilet blocks are being build. Guest won’t notice I but the entire roof has had a make-over and the heating system has gotten an update as wel.

Acts and artists

“For 2022 we have already booked no less than 24 dj’s and several artists. But more are coming the following weeks and we’ll start announcing them soon.

More information and ticket pre-sale on Darklands.be. There are several formulae and hotel deals. 

More on Darklands

Source: Alphatribe. 

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