Sexhibition 2016 was the Erotic Event of the year, held in Manchester. This year’s event took place at the prestigious Victoria Warehouse venue, from the 19th to the 21st of August.
Shows, performances, music, workshops & classes, cocktails & cuisine and a unique shopping experience. It’s a feast for all the senses in the opulent surroundings of the North’s most prestigious event and exhibition spaces. Sexhibition brings together elements of sex, erotica, burlesque and fetish, and combines it with live music, DJ sets, burlesque, cabaret, and performance art in an inclusive and sex positive environment. The ultimate in decadence and debauchery, Sexhibition is a fully immersive experience not to be missed.
Made up of a number of distinct yet complementary events allowing you to pick and choose a selection of activities, Sexhibition allows you to truly define your own bespoke experience.
I honestly can’t believe it’s already been three weeks since I was at Sexhibition 2016 in Manchester. I have no idea where the time has gone. This was the second year of Sexhibition, the first year had been a fun experience with a few minor teething troubles, mostly venue issues. Rather than addressing the issues from the previous year, the Sexhibition team decided to change the venue. Slightly annoying that they didn’t announce this until quite late (which meant I’d already booked a non-refundable hotel near the original location). Slightly frustrating but I hoped it would be for the best. If the new venue was better than event city, then it would be worth the travel time.
I arrived on the Friday, and went straight to check into my hotel and get my glad-rags on. I was attending the dinner and awards show, and due to the distance of my hotel I wouldn’t have time to go back and change, so I decided to spend the afternoon in my nice dress. After some slight issues with taxis, I arrived at the Victoria Warehouse. I stopped to collect my lanyard and Press Pass, and wandered off to find the entrance. I say wandered because it wasn’t obvious where I needed to be. They could have done with a few more signs to direct people. Not to mention a few more signs in general so people knew they were in the right place, from the outside it was hard to tell we were arriving at Sexhibition 2016.
I found my way inside, and headed to the bar, only to find they were operating a cashless system so I had to go back outside (in the rain) to buy some tokens. Drinks were expensive, more like London prices than Manchester, I was paying 2.5 tokens (£5) for a lager (bottle or pint). Needless to say I did not drink much at the venue. I understand that one of the big problems the previous year had been people having to queue at the bar for up to an hour but that’s because that venue only had one or two bars, the new venue had four, six if you count the two in the hotel section. The tokens were not needed, and just made things more difficult.
Armed with my drink I went exploring. I meandered around the main floor, and headed upstairs. I wanted to say hi to a few companies I knew were attending but I got completely confused because I couldn’t find them. In the end I went back to the entrance and was given an A4 program (would it really have been so difficult to make it A5 so it fit in people’s bags or pockets more easily?) which contained vendor listings and a map. Looking at this map I realised I had missed out a big section because there was no signposting, or indication that there was anything in that section (apart from the toilets), even a big arrow painted on the floor would have caused me to walk in that direction. Luckily I found everyone I wanted to speak to, and managed to chat more than once over the weekend.
The first show I saw was Alix Fox‘s Tip-A-De-DooDah, this was the introductory show held on the main stage on Friday evening. This was a great and fun interactive information session. People joining in were having lots of fun, and really enjoying taking part. It was held on the main stage and seemed to get good foot traffic from people wandering the stands and deciding to stop to watch. After the show I had another good look around, making sure to check all the nooks and crannies to be certain I hadn’t missed any stands.
After this I headed over to the hotel so I could check out the dinner and awards show. I was supposed to have tickets for the dinner but due to a few security mix ups I ended up missing the dinner. After that I stayed for a short while, chatting to friends in the bar before deciding to head back to my hotel so I could have eat…..and got stuck in football traffic. At least next year I will be able to book the hotel close to the venue so even if it does fall on a match day I can easily walk back to my hotel with no worries about traffic.
The only downside to being so thorough in my Sexhibition 2016 walk-around on Friday (I had a few hours to kill before the awards) was I had no idea what I was going to do all day Saturday, there were a few talks I’d have liked to see but it was throwing it down and I really didn’t want to walk over to the hotel (and get wet through) to see them. So I went over to see Mark on the SheetsofSF stand, I figured at least he had somewhere comfy to sit. lol. Turned out he needed an extra hand due to one of his staff having a personal issue, so I happily stuck around. I had so much fun. It really made it a great weekend for me. I still got chance to go and talk to vendors, and in between I had a place to hang out. Also got to spend time with Jacqui and we were chatting up a storm, she is a fabulous lady who I am really glad I got to meet, and am looking forward to seeing again.
All About the People
It was great to say hi to people; some of whom I hadn’t seen since ETO, some I’d only talked to online before, and some completely new. For me it is the people I meet and talk to who make weekends like Sexhibition 2016 worth attending. I spoke to a number of vendors over the weekend:
- Kinkcraft – Always lovely to see (and chat to) Pixie, Andrew, and Kate. Unusually their stand was fairly quiet but this was great for me as it meant we could have a nice long chat.
- The Bondage Man – I see these lovely people at the BBB every month. But I had been saving to make a purchase and I bought one of their fabulous wax play kits and a gorgeous wooden wax scraping knife. It was nice to get to chat to them, and find out their thoughts on the event.
- SmutUK – I don’t often get to see Victoria and Kevin, the team behind Smut UK so it was nice to catch up and say hi. They had various authors doing readings over the weekend.
- Kinky Monkey – Despite seeing this fabulous lady at the BBB every month I rarely get the chance to chat. Had a fabulous talk with her about different types of harnesses, and dildos, and how they differ in use. It was really great to be able discuss it with someone who is so knowledgeable.
- Sheets of San Francisco – I spent most of Saturday hanging out with Mark and Jacqui, working on the SheetsofSF stand. I had so much fun chatting to people about easy messy sex clean up, and bouncing on the bed, while asking people to come and stroke our sheets.
- KnickerRockerGlory – I’ve been talking to the lovely Ruby online for a while now, after a very brief meeting at ETO (think I managed to say hi) this was finally my chance to have a proper chat. It was lovely to be able to talk, and to meet Paul. I have to say they both looked fabulous in their matching KRG ‘bowling’ shirts.
- The Kinksters – I missed their stand at ETO, so it was great to have the opportunity to play with their bath tub of Slube. I chatted to both Danny and Dave over the weekend, and they were lovely.
- Yummy Gummy – I love Becky from Yummy Gummy, she is really lovely, very sweet, and just so enthusiastic. I chat to her at BBB every month, so it was really good to see her exhibiting here.
- JedPhoenix – It was lovely to meet Jed and Polly while I was chatting on the Kinkcraft stand. I hadn’t seen them before but I LOVE their style and range. I will be watching them with interest.
I also chatted to lots of bloggers, writers, and members of the public. It was fantastic to see some people again, and to meet online friends in person for the first time, was also lovely to meet lots of new friends.
Despite there still being issues to work on for next year, and my having concerns about the footfall (there really didn’t seem to be many people in attendance) I think Sexhibition 2016 was a great event. I’m looking forward to next year, and seeing how they can develop things. I think it was more difficult for some vendors because of placement, and I think this would need to be addressed (maybe in terms of pricing for stands) before next year if Sexhibition are hoping to get people to come back. I spoke to more than a few vendors who were feeling a bit disillusioned with how things had been run. There was also a communication problem between organisers and venue staff which caused a few issues. I really do think that many of these issues are just continued teething troubles, and as long as the organisers work to address them next year’s event will be bigger and better than ever.
*I was given a Press Pass for the event by the Sexhibition team in return for an honest and unbiased write-up.