An interview with Demetri, the folsom events executive director, about the upcoming FOLSOM STREET FAIR 2016.
MasterMarc: Hi Demetri. I think the real busy time has started. In a month the Folsom Street Fair will enjoy many kinky visitors from San Francisco and all over. How is the preparation of the biggest Fetish Event of the world going on?
Demetri: The preparations are going well! We’re really excited about what we have to offer this year. Of course, we produce three events in addition to the fair – LeatherWalk, Magnitude and DEVIANTS Adult Arcade. But, the fair is always the big draw! We are already putting in our orders, finalizing plans, confirming with vendors, etc. There’s a lot to do in order to host over 250,000 people on the streets of San Francisco.
MasterMarc: Can you tell us a little, what the visitors can expect at the fair and during the other events?
Demetri: Folsom Street Fair is the largest leather and fetish event in the world with over 250,000 attendees. We have over 200 exhibitor booth spaces with vendors selling some of the most incredible fetish toys, leather and fetish goods, and adult items that you can imagine. The fair features some incredible live performances; this year, we have live sets from Dragonette, YACHT and ADULT. among others. We have two massive dance areas, one of which is being headlined by Tuff City Kids and the other features a live performance by vocal powerhouse Vernessa Mitchell. There’s cold drinks, hot food, and loads of BDSM fun in the California sun. It’s probably the best people watching you can fathom with an amazing sense of community.
LeatherWalk kicks off the week with 200 of us marching from the Castro to SOMA on Sunday, September 18th. It’s a bit of a bar crawl but very entertaining and a fundraiser for Folsom Street Events, AIDS Emergency Fund, and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. Magnitude is our Official Saturday Night Dance Event with nearly 3,000 of the hottest men – a very sexy circuit party! That party features DJ sets from Chus & Ceballos and Joe Gauthreaux as well as many others. It’s a not-to-be-missed dance and play event. DEVIANTS wraps up the weekend at Mezzanine. Hosted by Honey Sound System, it’s always a veritable orgy of the senses with incredible decor and music until well into the night.
MasterMarc: Wow, that sounds like an amazing programm. I know Folsom Street Fair is a must for many fetish guys. But I’m sure that you will also have every year guys who are visiting your event for the first time. As it is such a hugh event, can you give some special advices for folsom “virgins”?
Demetri: Even as a first-time visitor, it is essential to come in gear. You don’t have to drop a ton of money on leather, but it’s important to come in the spirit of the event. Many of our younger guys tend to go for sportswear – maybe a jock strap along with athletic sneakers and socks. You can put together a hot look pretty cheaply. But, you’ll stand out from anyone who is coming just to gawk. We discourage regular street clothes, if you can help it. Also, take your time and really explore the vendors. Even if you don’t buy much, you’ll get ideas for later! Lastly, I would say: pace yourself. San Francisco Leather Week is a marathon, not a sprint. There is always going to be another party so save some of your energy.
MasterMarc: If we talk about gear an behaviour are there any no-goes a newcomer has to know?
Demetri: With respect to behavior, it’s the vanilla sex that would get you in trouble. So, we do, by law, have to break up any blowjobs or rimming or fucking on the streets. But, if you stick to good old fashioned BDSM play – flogging, domination, bondage, spanking and other forms of impact play, etc. – you’ll be just fine! There are even some creative ways to manage watersports too. As long as there isn’t mouth to penis contact and piss isn’t hitting the ground, you’re good to go! Folks use funnels and other things (e.g. cups) to get what they want.
MasterMarc: During such events it is mostly difficult to find a hotel room. Do you have any recommendations?
Demetri: Always start with our Travel Partners and let them know that you’re coming into town for the fair. That information is on our website. If you’re coming with a small or large group, you can always try a service like MisterBNB. We even have a new partner called KinkBNB where you can find a dungeon to rent on an hourly basis! It’s not a place to stay overnight necessarily but it’s certainly helpful on a weekend like Folsom Street Fair.
MasterMarc: Hehe, Dungeons are always good but as much as I know, there are also enough possibilities to play at your fair and your parties. 🙂 I know this question will be hard to answer for you as the responsible organizer but what are your personal highlights you’re looking forward to?
Demetri: For me, it’s always a combination of our entertainment and the community. It’s always great to see how people are expressing their fetishes. I always see something new, something unique, something intriguing. For me, I really love how our bands and DJs respond to the crowd. Many of them don’t know our fair directly, but all of them leave with a very lasting impression. Recently, the band Monarchy said that Folsom Street Fair was one of its most memorable gigs. That’s awesome! But, at the end of the day, this is about the community coming together for freedom of expression in a safe space. And that’s really the most fulfilling part for me.
MasterMarc: We wish you that all your preperations go well and that the problems you’ll have will be easily solved, because out of experience I can say that an event without small problems makes the organizer even more nervous. 🙂 So, dear readers, it’s time to pack your bags and travel to San Francisco. See you at Folsom Street Fair!