Darklands 2023 to and from Deep Space 

A few days after Darklands 2022 in Antwerp, next year’s theme has been revealed: space. In an animated video, Darklands tells a ‘Star Wars‘-like space odyssey where it is make clear space travel will be used as theme for decorations and setting. 

This year’s thema was ‘Are you ready to go deep?’ Props and names were inspired by the oceans and the waters. There was The Kraken Bar, named after the Norse sea monster or Ariel’s Grotto, named after Disney‘s Little Mermaid

The area was larger than ever before. A Visitor Centre welcomed people, even without ticket. It was supposed to be at Falconplein, but there had been permit issues. 

The Puppy Walk gave the festival much visibility. But even ‘just in the street’ you could spot attendees in their more or less camouflaged outfits.

Sold out, but…

Darklands 2022 was sold out, but oddly it didn’t show. At the Fusion party on Friday, you could roam about very easily. Saturday during the day, it was far from overly crowded. May attendees just came and went more often. The fair weather meant people wanted to be outside.

Next year

The dates for next year will be announced at the end of June. Will Darklands return to its FebruaryMarch date? That would be better. People will want to be inside and there won’t be competition from Maspalomas Pride on Gran Canaria

Darklands 2022.

What is Darklands? 

It started as LeatherPride Belgium and later Leather & Fetish Pride Belgium. Darklands is a kink, 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. As in Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)

By day, Darklands is cocktail of a comic con and an industry fair. Attendees dress up – or down, depending on your point of view – and there are stands with fetish and kink shops, photographers, a tattoo parlour, organisations and even a kink furniture shop.

There are bars. There are ‘socials’ or get-togethers for specific target audiences, kinks and communities. There are award shows, elections and other performances. There ware workshops. And yes, the playroom is open. 

At night, it’s party time. The whole are becomes a cruising area but the dedicated playrooms are more active and have increased in size. But you will also see sex on the dance floor. 

Darklands is a very adult affair, but it’s surprisingly much more cosy and casual than you’d think. 

Darklands 2022

Antwerp Pride 2022 & Antwerp Queer Arts Festival 2022

Queer Antwerp

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