Mystery

The Mystery Death in the Woods at a ‘Kinky’ British Sex Festival

Flamefest billed itself as a ‘kinky rave festival’ in the woods outside Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Now police are investigating the death of one man and injuries to a woman there.

The hedonistic revelry at last weekend’s kink-themed Flamefest festival in southeast England took a sobering turn on Tuesday, when paramedics found two people unconscious at a festival campsite.

A man in his fifties was declared dead at the scene, according to local police, and a woman in her late 40s is in stable condition at a nearby hospital. Police confirmed in a statement that they were making “enquiries to establish the circumstances” surrounding the man’s “unexplained death.”

Residents of Royal Tunbridge Wells, the sleepy and stereotypically Middle England town in Kent, were displeased when they learned last week that Flamefest, which billed itself as a “kinky rave festival,” was setting up shop in the town’s woodland outskirts.

Before the event, the Guardian headline 'Sex Festival in Tunbridge Wells Sparks Concerns About Parking' was retweeted many times.

Flamefest advertised a “discreetly secluded” outdoor S&M dungeon, “adult play area,” kink-oriented workshops like nipple-tassel making, DJs and circus performers.

The festival intended to bring together “the purest, most hedonistic elements of the party scene, from kinksters to ravers,” according to its website, which invited festival-goers to “explore pain, experience pleasure and fulfill your fantasies on this mystical site, where witches’ covens have met for centuries.”

Tunbridge Wells’ notoriously conservative and curmudgeonly residents complained to a community official about noise and public sex, though its organizer promised that the festival was private and there would be no public shows of sex or nudity.

Amethyst Hammerfist, who hosted a workshop on Sunday in “domination wrestling,” dismissed news headlines referring to Flamefest as a “sex festival.”

“There wasn’t even any sex going on,” Hammerfist, who said she was in her mid-30s, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “It was like any other music festival, but kink-friendly. It was a great atmosphere, and security did a fantastic job dealing with locals trying to get in.”

Hammerfist described the festival’s roughly 500 attendees as “well-behaved and respectful,” eager to participate in mask-making and hat-making workshop. Tickets ranged from 150 pounds for entry and 300 pounds to stay in one of the tents on site--“nice tee-pees with bohemian decor. People brought sleeping bags but the tents were furnished with pillows ad blankets.”

Hammerfist was shaken, however, when she woke up in one of the festival’s boutique tents on Tuesday morning and saw her friend trying to resuscitate the man who was later declared dead.

“I was absolutely petrified that the man being resuscitated was one of my friends,” Hammerfist said. “I rushed over and didn’t recognize the man, so I was slightly relieved. Then we found out he was dead.”

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Hammerfist said she saw paramedics tend to the unconscious woman, who was breathing.

She added that tabloid headlines about the man’s “mysterious” death had sensationalized a relatively unsensational incident. She did not believe the dead man had been murdered.

The festival ended on Sunday evening and most of its attendees had left by Monday, but Hammerfist said she and several others who worked at the festival were still on site Tuesday morning.

Hammerfist insisted that she hadn’t seen the man or the woman during or after the festival. “The crew was sleeping in one area near a campfire, and that’s where we found them, a few meters from my tent,” she said.