Today Darklands Festival has announced the dates for 2022. The festival makes a one-time move to May. The website is now online, including a first batch of host hotels to book and tickets for all parties, dinners and events. Darklands talks to organizer Jeroen Van Lievenoogen about the upcoming edition.
Jeroen, let’s first talk about the move to May. How come?
The festival will indeed take place from Wednesday 4 May till Monday 9 May 2022. It was originally planned in February but many rescheduled events (due to Covid) at Waagnatie made it difficult to have Darklands take place at the original dates. 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.
You found the date last week and today you are launching website, ticketshop and hotel sales? Is the program complete?
It was a hectic week indeed, especially to get the ticketshop ready. 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.
Why book via the Darklands website and not via other booking platforms?
As we always do, fixed affordable room rates have been negotiated with partner hotels. The guests who book through our website receive a lot of advantages such as quick queue at the entrance of Darklands, free shuttle busses and a goody bag. And not to mention the great cancellation policy where most hotels allow to cancel 24h before arrival. Click here to get more info.
What is new to the program?
A lot changes each year, both in terms of lay-out and design but also in the program. This way we can offer a new experience each year. We have some great new partnerships and additions to the program.
- The Boots 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 square in front of Mister B we’ll open a pop-up visitor center and bar. 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 3 new (dance) afterparties at Club Cargo (Red & Blue) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.
- On Friday evening we’ll host a spectacular show which we will announce on Saturday 15 May 2021.
There’s a lot more of which you can find details on our website.
What if Covid strikes again?
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. Our cashflow was at it’s lowest at that point. Based on the reassurance by our health minister 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.
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.
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.
It appears Darklands is not moving to another venue?
No, fortunately the current patrons remain in place for another 5 to 10 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.
What about the army of artists that usually populates the stages?
Army is the right word. 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.
Sounds great, we can’t wait to finally come ‘home’ again.
More info: www.darklands.com