Grab your cotton candy - old fashioned American faires are now home to a cool sexual subculture of kinky festivals.


Old fashioned American faires with their carnival atmosphere and burlesque focus, let party people ease into erotica at their own pace or pass it by unnoticed. Most events rely on families to swell their attendance figures, which can tip into the 500, 000 area in the case of the Texas Renaissance Festival so the stakes are high. The mixed crowd means thrills are not entirely aimed at an adult audience, but there’s plenty of risqué action to be had and most kinksters choose the time they visit carefully. Over two months the Texan hosts have a different theme each weekend, so take your pick from a spooky Halloween party, Toga contests at the Roman Bacchanal or the fantasyland of 1001 Dreams, which is most popular with S&M lovers.



More Kinky Festivals Than You'd Think


The acres of cleavage on display are legendary amongst Reddit users - check out this thread for the usual insightful discussion and inevitable sexual politics themed bickering - but members of the fetish community can be more subtle about advertising their goodies. From carrying a riding crop, to wearing handcuffs as an accessory or slithering into a rubber corset, there are lots of green lights for BDSM fans. However, each could easily pass as ‘normal’ in a subversive carnivalesque atmosphere where revellers are all dressed up and pretending to be someone else. In these situations as the Russian writer Mikhail Bakhtin explained, the world becomes more chaotic and the rules of social engagement are less important. Once the carnival is in full swing, he said: “life becomes free and unrestricted, full of ambivalent laughter, blasphemy, the profanation of everything sacred, full of debasing and obscenities, familiar contact with everyone and everything.” So expectations of conventionality are reduced and the predominantly vanilla crowd are less hung up about cosplay, gender roles and mixing with weirdos in general.


S&M chat rooms and kinky dating site forums are full of fetish demons who loved their popcorn infused experience at a local Renaissance Fair and that’s led to the creation of more specialists events. Explicit kinky festivals which are staged just for adults are popping up all over the USA to cater for a wilder BDSM crowd. Check out the Wicked Renaissance Faire in New Jersey during February 2016 for masses of S&M fun, laid on by practising Pagan and steam punk aficionado, Jeff Mach. It’s been raging for a few years now and it looks like he’s planning a change of direction for next year with the brand new Glimmerdark - so get in quick to take part in the final roar.


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Performances will range from the jaw-dropping to the reassuringly familiar, with an emphasis on alternative culture and imagination. It’s a festival of extremes; punks and Goths will love the tunes laid down in live sets from The Gothicals and The Long Losts, but you can also get your fix of high brow culture in one of the nude drawing workshops. Everything is rounded off at the Wicked Revel where a DJ will be playing tracks for the chilled out festival crowd before home time and the inevitable return to real life.



Some of the best kinky festivals in the US


If you’re hand in glove with someone in the know the Kinky Renaissance Festival is also rolling into Texas in spring 2016. This is an invitation only event which is strictly imposed, no passes are even on sale and only those on the guest list will have access to directions. For the lucky perverts who get a golden ticket to this holy grail of kinky festivals, it’ll be like visiting Disneyland as a kid. The merch alone will make your mouth water, with cute floggers from HellkittenJ, glittering steel body wear from ChainMaille and DeGiotte ropes for binding. The place spaces are divided into a Hanging Garden, Apprentices Guild and a Dungeon - just let your imagination work over those for a while.


If your invite for the Kinky Renaissance Festival somehow gets lost in the post, get over to the Winter Wickedness Convention in Central Ohio, taking place in February 2016. The organisers have come up with a load of fresh new ideas for the debauchery at one of this year's best kinky festivals, so prepare to be astounded by guest speakers, with amazingly cool names and job titles. Lqqkout, a Renaissance Kinkster, GrayDancer, a Ninja Sex Poodle and Nina Hartley – International Professional Sex Entertainer, will all be on hand to answer your BDSM questions and open your eyes to even more kinky possibilities. Nightly play parties are also planned, plus skinny dipping in the pool and AIS Kink Labs will demonstrate their kinky furniture range.


Whether they are created as an entirely chocolate (kinky wear and attitude) space or part of a long running social tradition, faires can be a blast for BDSM groups. Even straight festivals have traditionally been accepting of difference and if you can handle the stares, remember by your very presence you’re bringing our subculture into a mainstream setting, and encouraging a nervous public to be a little less judgemental.


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