A LeatherAdventure at Darklands Festival

A LeatherAdventure at Darklands Festival

March 4, 2024

Last summer, during a vibrant leather social, a plan was hatched among friends that would lead us to one of the most anticipated weekends of the year—the Darklands Festival in Antwerp. The excitement was palpable as tickets were booked and the countdown began.

Journey to Antwerp

Patrick and Conny – that's us, embarked on our journey a day ahead of the festival. Flying with Brussels Airlines, we were treated to a lavish start, thanks to a wonderful steward who ensured our champagne glasses never ran dry. What a perfect kickoff to our weekend!

Perfect combo
Our hero Willem @ Brussels Airlines
Antwerp Central station

Checking In and Meeting Up

Upon landing in Antwerp, we checked into our hotel and immediately caught up with a friend who had already arrived. As the day turned into night, the rest of our group arrived on various flights, and soon enough, our festival squad was complete.

Early Festival Vibes

Our first festival outing was on Thursday evening. The full venue wasn’t open yet, leading to a cozy, if somewhat crowded, atmosphere. We decided to call it an early night, readying ourselves for the excitement yet to come.

Pre-drinks at the hotell
Going home after a great start

Exploring the Market

Friday brought our first full day at the festival, starting with a trip to the market. It was a thrill to peruse the stalls, showcasing an array of vendors offering everything from leather and rubber gear to an intriguing assortment of toys. The vibrant displays and the buzz of eager shoppers created a festive backdrop to our day.

The Parties Begin

Friday night was the debut of the big parties, and it did not disappoint. The sight of so many underdressed men dancing to thunderous music was a spectacle to behold. The energy was electric, setting a high bar for the rest of the weekend.

A Day of Shopping and Celebration

Saturday continued with more shopping. Besides revisiting the festival market, we made a mandatory stop at the Mister B store—a must for anyone visiting Antwerp.

The early night we settled down at the hotel to watch the Swedish qualifying heat for Melodifestivalen, which is Sweden's national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Terrifying results, but such a good time with friends and bubbles!

As evening fell, the party grew even bigger and louder, surpassing the previous night’s fervor.

Watching the qualifying heat of Melodifestivalen

A Quieter Farewell

Sunday was a day of departures, with many of our friends heading home. Those of us who stayed enjoyed a more relaxed atmosphere, a gentle wind-down from the frenetic pace of the previous days.

Homeward Bound

By Monday morning, it was time for farewells. We left Antwerp with our luggage a bit heavier—filled with purchases and memories alike—and hearts full of joy. Darklands Festival, you were incredible, and we can’t wait to return next year!

Relaxing in the lounge
Relaxing flight
Yet another great steward with Brussels Airlines

Quick facts

Darklands Festival 2024

  • Location: Antwerp, Belgium

  • Dates: Typically held in early March

  • Venue: Waagnatie Expo & Events

  • Theme: A celebration of the leather, fetish, and LGBTQ+ communities

Main Attractions:

  • Market with vendors selling leather, rubber, and fetish gear

  • Educational workshops and demonstrations

  • Major dance parties and social events

  • International DJs and performers

Read more about Darklands


  • Country: Belgium

  • Population: Approximately 520,000

  • Language: Dutch (Flemish)

Known For:

  • World's leading diamond trade hub

  • Rich art history and vibrant cultural scene

  • Stunning architecture, including medieval buildings and modern design

Main Attractions:

  • Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal)

  • Rubenshuis, the former home of painter Peter Paul Rubens

  • Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world

  • Museum aan de Stroom (MAS)

Darklands - Aftermovie

To get another glimpse of what happened, pop over to YouTube.