Southern Sole Bootblack Weekend – A Brief History of Madness
Southern Sole Bootblack Weekend (SSBBW) started out as an idea in 2012. During my travels through the South during my title year as Southeast Community Bootblack, I observed a lack of educational opportunities for bootblacks, and even fewer leather bars for bootblacks to practice their art. After being asked several times to do more teaching events and demos for various leather clubs and groups, I approached a few friends in Georgia, specifically Pamela (Elegant) and Sonya in Atlanta, and Roscoe in Augusta. We joined forces and, based on several ideas, collaborated to put on an educational and social event for bootblacks, by bootblacks…and Southern Sole was born!
The Parliament House Resort (P-House) of Augusta, Georgia agreed to host the event. The site was chosen not just for its location, but also because it was the meeting place for the leather clubs in the Southeast Conference of Clubs (SECC). The P-House had the space to hold the event and a bar that could easily accommodate a small army of bootblack stands. It was an ideal venue for a one-stop shop where participants could eat, sleep, learn, play, and then later bootblack in a bar setting.
The concept was to have participants learn an idea or a process, practice it with others led by a team leader, and then do it live in a bar setting with support available. It was arranged so that in the bar, new bootblacks would have either a fellow student or teacher sit in the stand while another experienced bootblack was with them. This provided a supportive environment so concerns or worry about “messing up someone’s boots,” were lessened. We also encouraged bootblacks to sit in the stands themselves so that they could experience what it was like to get blacked.
We wrote a resource guide for bootblacks that included much of the information we discussed and was comprised of how-to guides, tips and tricks, and also technical and scientific aspects of techniques and products.
We were very ambitious our first two years and covered a wide array of topics such as erotic bootblacking, repairs, caring for exotic leathers, garments, toys, and ended with titleholder roundtables. It wasn’t all school, though! We made sure to tie one on (Southern Sole style!), so there were plenty of cocktail parties, play, food, games, and shenanigans!.
This year we are smaller and more focused on the advanced and the unusual. We want to explore those things that we don’t typically encounter in bootblack education. And learn and share some amazing techniques and cool products.
We hope you enjoy it, and we hope to see you there!
Founder and Producer
Southern Sole Bootblack Weekend