#103 April 2018 – Meet Lowdown

Saturday’s furmeet went exceptionally well and we would like to thank everyone who attended.

It was the biggest event we have ever run in Leeds, and the first time we have had over 100 attendees, clocking in at 113 including 32 fursuiters. The weather was perfect and we hope everyone who came had a great time.

I know the bar were delighted with the meet and this is only the start of what we hope will be a bright future together. We already have a number of ideas we would like to implement going forward, while we are always interested in feedback or suggestions from our attendees. If you have any ideas or would like to get involved with organising the meets, please let us know.

The main addition this month of course was the food service, while the newly introduced Fursuit Lounge is proving popular – it’s great to finally have one. We did buy a screen and some lights for this area, but the latter weren’t necessary in the end as the blackout curtains were removed. We’ll keep them on standby for future meets though.

As we head towards summer, we are going to start providing water for the fursuiters on the walk, as well as asking the bar to put a jug out for when we return. The water service this month worked well and we are hoping to streamline this in future.

There are a few pieces of lost property from the meet, which will be displayed on a newly created Lost Property page on this website later in the week. If you see anything that is yours, then please let us know and we can arrange to return it at a future meet.

We will also be creating a new Gallery page for the website, where you can upload your images from the meet. Keep an eye out for this too.

Finally, may we take this opportunity to thank you for making this month’s meet our biggest yet, and we hope to see you all again soon.

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Running a Furmeet II – The Fursuit Walk

Over the last few years, the Fursuit Walk has become an increasingly important part of meets. For many furs, it is one of the main reasons for attending, so it’s very important it runs smoothly.

Most meets have a set route for their walks, which can be adapted depending on the circumstances. This route has been refined over time and provides a good template for future walks.

The basic route must avoid any areas of the city which could cause an issue, such as bars with a more boisterous clientelle, while also limiting the number of hazards that fursuiters are likely to encounter. In a city, this generally means aiming for pedestranised areas while keeping the number of roads to be crossed to a minimum. Areas with roadworks should also be avoided.

Events around the city also play a factor and can determine the route of the walk. For example, we know that Millennium Square is a good place to visit in February for the Ice Rink and August for City Beach, and so we tend to direct the walk towards this side of town during these months. When these events are taking place, there is a higher chance of public interaction and this is favoured by suiters.

The converse is also true though – if we know that there is a big demonstration in the city on a meet Saturday, for example, then we will avoid the area where it’s taking place. The same is true of an event which may not be particularly fursuit friendly, such as the Christmas Market in November and December. This means that in the days leading up to the meet, research is vital, and this is conducted by the team ahead of the walk route being finalised.

Another factor to consider is the weather. If it’s a hot sunny day, then the walk needs to be shortened so fursuiters don’t get dehydrated. Meanwhile, if there is a threat of rain, then the walk must not venture too far from the venue and should be near enclosed spaces wherever possible.

All of these factors are considered in the days leading up to the furmeet, but there are things on the day which also determine the nature of the walk. The main one concerns the number of fursuiters. It is very important to have the right number of spotters to fursuiters, and to ensure that all those who are marshalling the walk are in constant communication with each other. Inevitably, this affects the route we choose, as it’s important we do not lose anyone plus there is a need to be able to respond quickly should an incident occur. This is also the reason why we carry radio communication devices and wear hi-viz jackets.

Whenever you are out in public, there is always a risk that you could run into an issue, particularly with people who do not show suiters the same respect that members of our community do. Most of the time the walks pass without incident, but this doesn’t mean that the chance is nil. Everything we do in the organising of the Fursuit Walk is done to reduce this risk and we do hope that everyone has fun showcasing their suits, interacting with the public and taking photographs. Running the walks can be a challenge, but over time we have adapted to the changes in our community and our city, and hope that everyone enjoys what is an integral part of the meets. It’s certainly a pleasure to run them.

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Upcoming Meets

Leeds Meets generally take place on the third Saturday of every month.

The next meets will be:

#131 – Saturday 21st May
#132 – Saturday 18th June
#133 – Saturday 16th July
#134 – Saturday 20th August

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