I've been away for awhile, for good reason.
Wasn't that a party?!?!?!
Well, most of the results are in, equipment returned, and monies counted - Rubbout 25 looks to be by far the best Rubbout yet (at least as Rob and I as producers is concerned). We had visitors from around the globe and glowing reviews of the events and the atmosphere created. The Thursday Elemental Circus and Friday night Elemental dance parties were completely off the hook; they were well-attended and everyone present exclaimed how happy they were with how the events unfolded.
The stats: 146 weekend passes sold, at least 250 attendees at Elemental, an additional 150 at Circus, 160 through the doors of the 8x6 Saturday night play party (mostly sales at the door!) and ~135 at the brunch on Sunday.
I'd love to hear stories from the weekend; as usual I was far to busy running around behind the scenes to really get a sense of the magic of the events. It was interesting to hear that the 'favorite event' for a variety of different guys was a variety of different events. Some guys loved Elemental, others loved the Rubbout Market on Saturday afternoon, and on and on it goes. I'm always interested to hear about the 'behind the scenes' stories....particularly since so many of the weekend passholders did NOT show up for the official play party on Saturday night. There must have been many other goings-on around the city that night!
There will be sooo many pictures and videos yet to come. We are waiting for the official pack of photos to filter through, select the exclusive set for Rubberzone, and additional ones to select for Sponsors, Rubbout.com, and the Rubbout Facebook Page, etc.
All in all, I'm very happy with how things went. I was floored by the turnout - and the personal feeling, at least, that Vancouver is finally starting to pay attention to this event. We certainly had a much better turnout of local guys that we ever had since I started kicking the tires at this thing, and I can only hope we do the right things to keep everyone engaged heading into Rubbout 26.
We also made some money - enough money, potentially, that Rubbout might be in a position to fully fund itself now without having to depend on personal credit cards and loans to get everything set up beforehand...this is a HUGE move forward for us, and a sign of the legitimacy of this event....finally!
Speaking of Rubbout 26, things are already in motion. I have just signed a contract with Gayvan to get a Rubbout 26 ad in their Local Tourism Magazine, the same as last year, where we were represented by GayVan Travel Marketing as they toured the continent's Pride Festivities. We feel this was a good utilization of our money, and hopefully will be again. I have J working on manipulating the Rubbout 25 artwork for 26 in lieu of new official artwork. As it is so iconic and representative of a successful event, I think it will work fine to bridge the gap to new art.
We heard many times over how this was possibly the best fetish event ever hosted in Vancouver, and I dare say, even a few who claimed it was better than MIR (LOL)! Not really comparable, but a few very inspirational comments, to be sure!
There were some glitches of course: the miscount of prizes available for balloon poppers on Thursday night, late entries into some of the venues for setup which led to some last minute scrambling, and probably worst of all, the excessive theft of items at the Gear Swap. Who would do that? Obviously hosting a Gear Swap in a bar has its challenges; we are definitely going to have to re-think how the Gear Swap operates as this was shameful and frankly embarrassing for us.
Some of the guys are riding pretty high from the great energy generation over the weekend. I've already been approached to keep the scale of the 26th event similar to the 25th....I caution them not to suffer from '21-itis'....the fact we went into Rubbout 21 after the success of 20 with so much ambition, only to be disappointed and burned....I don't want a repeat of this again, so I will remain cautious when it comes to defining scope for next year.
That being said, it's possible that the format will change fundamentally (ie, more local groups taking on more responsibility....we are currently mulling the idea of farming out single events to local groups to completely produce and execute with no guidance from the Rubbout organizing committee other than funding and general promotion and integration) and more importantly, some people who said they wouldn't stay around might be convinced to stay a little longer :-D
I was fully and completely overwhelmed with the amount of work and time Rob and I had to apply to this year; hundreds of hours coordinating and communicating from mid-December until the end of March; working straight until 6:30pm on Rubbout Thursday night due to running around in the day to YVR, etc etc, really impacting my work and health the two or three weeks prior. I've already made it very clear that I am not taking on that volume of work any more so if the vision is to keep the Rubbout wave moving ahead in similar scope next year to this year, there are going to have to be many more people involved in Rubbout 26. I basically ran from work on Thursday to take over Registration (and didn't get to see any of the event due to the location of the Registration desk), ran around late on Friday and arrived at Elemental later than I had wanted to (depending on others to get their shit together in time (again) *sigh*), dragged my ass around on Saturday and got to the Play Party late on Saturday night due to the fact we didn't get out of setup for that event until 9:15 in the evening. Sunday Brunch was simply wonderful....we were exhausted but elated and that really came through in the speeches and accolades. I felt very vindicated of all the hard work and dedication when the room gave me a standing ovation. That will definitely be something I'll treasure forever. Sunday evening at Steamworks was relaxing and fun; despite being completely exhausted I did manage to get some fun (hands) in. It was great to re-connect with some old play buddies on Thursday and Saturday, and engage with some old and new ones on Sunday.
Looking ahead, things like Vancouver Pride and New West Pride are high on the list of 'to-attends' this year as is another performance at Vancouver Fetish Weekend in July....my work is never done. And of course the Volunteer Appreciation BBQ takes place on June 13. We have already been approached by New West Pride to take a bigger role this year, expanding the fetish/kink area at the Festival and potentially organizing a party for Saturday night.
The big deal for me this Rubbout was the launch of Vancouver Rubbermen. We got the logo and group exposure out there, linking Rubbout.com and Vanrubbermen.com together, and already planning ahead for some of the monthly group get-togethers. I want to also get a band of rubber brothers together to march in Vancouver Pride.....this is ALWAYS something I've wanted to do. And now we have some things to uniquely identify ourselves!
Woah, hold on there cowboy....remember your aspiration to take some time off, focus on work and Mr. P and the RV and camping this summer??? I really gotta enforce some individually-mandated reservations on this stuff for the sake of my personal and professional life - there is much there that I have to attend to that's been put on the back-burner due to this goddamn event that has taken over my life. There are many things to contemplate in the months ahead....