Date: 10-12 July 2015 (event extends for the whole week)
Location: Saal, Germany
Price: ~60 EUR for the weekend
July 2015 saw my first experience with Rostocker Steppenbrand, an annual kink outdoors festival held in the vicinity of Rostock in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Northern Germany.
Steppenbrand is unique as a festival in a sense that it is a loose gathering of people in a mostly camping sense. People from all avenues of kink (BDSM, military, bikers, skinheads, punks, motocrossers, mud players, etc.) were present in the event, which this year totalled approximately 400 people.
It should be noted that the actual event runs the whole week, but most attendance is during the weekend.
Location and getting there
Steppenbrand is held on a plot of land near the village of Saal, unreachable by public transit. The organization provides a shuttle transport from the nearest railway station for a fee. Most people arrive with their own vehicles.
Location is quite isolated with no other buildings or inhabitants within sight, surrounded by fields. One building is used for the indoors accommodation, other buildings were closed or exclusively for staff.
Most people choose to self-accommodate themselves by camping. Camps ranged from individual tents to large tent complexes and trucks. There is also a possibility to stay indoors at the barracks in shared rooms, in either bunk beds or on the floor with your own mattress. Both options cost a few euros extra. Playing or other activities are discouraged in the barracks, but this rule is not followed all the time.
Indoors accommodation is basic, and the largest rooms accommodate 12 people, so for privacy (or uninterrupted sleep) I would recommend camping, if practical. I opted for the indoors accommodation, but I will certainly consider camping the next time.
Showers, indoors toilets and gear washing areas are provided. Some basic BDSM furniture is present, many people bring their own.
All age groups and many nationalities were present. There were no organized get-togethers, and some groups seemed to be mostly enjoying their own company. Some larger private camp complexes also served as informal gathering areas.
Food and drink is provided for a price by the organizers. During the weekend, self-catering is discouraged. However, proper warm food is only served during meal times. A failure to observe these times results in having to survive on fish sandwiches. Food is basic barbeque meat and side dishes to go with it, drink is beer and booze.
Breakfast is included in the admission price and is the continental variety with coffee, tea and bread, with some warm dishes such as eggs and sausage.
Organization was efficient and well-planned. Some organizers understood English, and I encountered no practical issues during my stay.
Is Steppenbrand for you?
If you are not afraid of camping or staying in a spartan accommodation, Steppenbrand might be the right event for you. Most people travel there in groups, so going there alone might prove a bit boring.
Steppenbrand provides some unique opportunities for dirty/mud play, outdoors BDSM scenes, motocrossing and other outdoors activities. If these are not your thing, Steppenbrand might not represent good value for you. Steppenbrand is not a social gathering per se: although it is possible to meet new people there, this applies equally to any event anywhere.
From distant countries, flying to Berlin and renting a car from there is probably the fastest choice to get to the event.