Coming for Kink Down South Weekend

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

The groundbreaking Kink Down South Weekend, the first kink street fair style event in the South, hosts a diverse range of events that celebrate all aspects of kink and fetish culture. In this exclusive Q&A, we sit down with the founders of KDS, Paul aka Urban and David, to talk about their commitment to fostering community empowerment for the kink and fetish community in Atlanta and beyond.

Firstly, how did you get involved with Kink Down South – and what is your involvement with the organization?

David: Well, it started one night over drinks, post-pandemic, when the Atlanta Eagle had shut down, and no one had really stepped in to fill that void in the community. We simply decided “Well, why not us?” and got to work.

Urban: So yeah, David and I are the original co-founders and producers of Kink Down South. I handle the marketing and brand strategy.

David: And I handle the operational and organizational aspects making sure everything runs smoothly. Though we share a lot of duties back and forth, it’s really a team effort to make it all happen.

How did Kink Down South come about?

David: It began as a one-off social at The Hideaway that was so overwhelmingly popular it quickly became what is now our monthly Gear Night event. Then, as we grew, we added in more events, including a Gear Swap, a partnership with Barking Leather for the Spelling Bee(DSM), theater show takeovers with OutFront Theatre, Queer book reading with Unbound Edition, and of course our annual signature event: Kink Down South Weekend.

How would you describe the kink community in Atlanta? What is ‘popular’ right now?

Urban: The kink community in Atlanta, and the South in general, feels like the Wild West at times – it’s growing rapidly! There are a lot of new people seeking community and wanting to find a home in the kink and fetish world. I think people came out of the pandemic with a desire to truly express themselves and embrace their kinky side. I guess you could say everyone is just looking for a new leash on life…sorry, bad dad joke. The South has always been known to keep things behind closed doors and I think we’re finally moving to collectively being more in the open! In terms of what’s ‘popular’, I’d have to say what I’ve loved to see growing is the pup/pet play community and the fisting community. As a leather pup, it fills my heart with joy.

Why did you think it was important for the Atlanta kink community to have a weekend like Kink Down South Weekend?

Urban: Atlanta has a rich history of kink and fetish events from SouthEast Leatherfest (SELF), Southeast Black and Blue, Frolicon, and Leather Leadership Conference to name a few – but they have always been mainly indoors or focused on just a select few aspects of the kink community.

Kink Down South and by extension, KDS Weekend is about creating a place for all kinks. It’s a place to celebrate whatever makes you kinky and to do it outdoors. There’s something freeing about gearing up (or gearing down for our nudist friends) and feeling the sun shining on you as you’re surrounded by community.

David: I would say it’s not just for Atlanta, but for the Southeast, we feel KDS Weekend is an important anchor for our community. Too often kinksters in our region have to travel long distances to get this type of experience or be able to freely “be themselves” among like-minded folks, which is expensive and limiting for some. Putting down roots in our own backyard shows folks within and outside the community that we are here, we’re kinky, and we’re not going anywhere. Visibility is a key factor in acceptance, so we try to be loud and proud in everything we do.


How has the weekend and the events developed over the years?

David: The first year we announced KDS Weekend, (not knowing any better), we gave ourselves a full 60-days to pull it off. I feel it speaks to the demand for this type of event in the South, as well as the support from the community, that not only was it launched successfully – essentially as a team of two, but we far exceeded our anticipated attendance many times over. This year, and as we’ve now done a few of our smaller “annual” events a few times over now, we are far more methodical and give ourselves a LOT more lead-time to prepare. Another big help is our newly announced inaugural Board of Advisors. This team brings together so many helpful voices to the table, and their expertise has been invaluable to our success.

Tell us about what the main events of the KDS weekend – what can fellow kinksters expect?
Urban: Bigger, Kinkier, and more fun than you can shake a fist at…but you can try. We’ve doubled the street fair space so you can expect almost 40 different kinky vendors and organizations! We’re also taking over new places including Blake’s on the Park for our Friday (6/7) evening “Meet and Greet” event followed by Future for our “Fort Troff Grunt Party” with DJ Ryan Willing from Chicago.

David: Saturday and Sunday, the Street Fair will run from 12 – 6 PM, with vendors and providers throughout, as well as performers and DJs on our Main Stage, presented by JustFor.Fans. There’s also a special cooled KDS lounge on the festival grounds – we know that gear and summer heat don’t always mix!

Urban: Don’t forget the Deviant’s Disco will be Saturday evening at Atlanta Eagle, featuring New York Eagle DJ, James Anthony starting at 11 PM.

What if you are just getting into kink – is the KDS weekend a good space for you to explore?

David: Absolutely! We work very hard and get input from many folks, to make KDS Weekend as welcoming and accessible as possible. Attending large events like this (and especially if you’re solo) can be very intimidating. From a large team of Volunteers to support the attendees, to dedicated socials where you can meet in small groups with folks, you’re able to engage at the level that is most comfortable for you! Since we’ve extended the duration of KDS Weekend, it’s also allowed us to have more “breaks” in between classes and events for folks to catch their breath.

And what if you are experienced in the world of kink? Will this be enough of a challenge?

Urban: Absolutely – while we offer a lot of intro classes for people new to kink, there’s plenty of opportunities for those with more experience to go in-depth on topics, refresh their skills, or just network and play with other kinksters. Kink Down South has always been about building community and a consistent factor at other events is how friends travel thousands of miles just to see each other at the event and reconnect. KDS Weekend is no different. I have friend groups coming from Seattle and different parts of Texas just to hang out for the weekend!

Looking ahead, where would you like to see Kink Down South go?
David: We had joked in the beginning, about becoming the “Folsom of the South”, and didn’t realize then how close we are to capturing that spirit. I’d like to see KDS Weekend continue to grow in scale to truly become a nationally recognized “go-to” event for our community.
Urban: While we’re a business, the goal is to do good for the community and create what the community wants to see. We’ve received a lot of ideas like establishing our own title contest during the weekend, adding more entertainment spaces, and so much more. We are growing cautiously, but confidently, and each year building to something bigger.

David: Ultimately, one day we’d would like to hand over the reins to the next generation, attend KDS Weekend as part of the general public, and revel in the legacy of having built something bigger than either of us.

Where can we learn more about the KDS weekend and how to participate?

Urban: Check out KDSWeekend.com for all the details including tickets, event schedules and more! You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter)! We’re on there as @KinkDownSouth. And, of course, our main website – KinkDownSouth.com!


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