Devotion is one of the clubs I've heard a lot of people talk about in the sissy maid scene. Immaculately dressed maids, serving their owners and guests; numbers vary between 10 and 50 member team, depending on which particular person you're talking to, all hard at work. It's usually brought up when I complain that despite seeing so many "maids" online but you never see them at clubs, either on staff or with their respective dominant of choice. My gut tells me that because I'm naming Pedestal as an example, it's very easy to say things are different at the Birmingham based Devotion because it's at the other end of the country... I'm unlikely to have been there.
Ok. Lets change that.
Lets be honest here, the sissy maid scene is full of fantasists who will say something purely because it's what they masterbate to and have zero intention of ever actually doing that thing; which can include actually stepping foot outside the front door in a skirt let alone actually being subie.
So... lets do Devotion yeah? It's very similar to the events that The Firm run's in that Devotion only happens a few times a year, three in 2015. So it generally makes going to one of these events a bit special and with the distance involved this is going to be the only time this year I head up to Birmingham.
Planning started in March, figuring out how much if any time off work my Owner would need (as the event is on a Sunday), was is possible to do it all in a day (yes but a major pain) and what to wear. We concluded that yes, she'd need to take the following Monday off work, no we'd need a hotel and preferably arrive on the Saturday so things weren't a major run around.
We also had some feedback from MzWhipplash, who'd gone to the February event, so we knew that this was a small affair that had been overwhelmed by a 120 people showing up. Growing pains happen but it did suggest we should probably eat before we went to the event rather than expecting a 'HOWL' (buy ticket, gorge yourself on my home cooked food, get some play). In reality this information was why I ticked the box for 'yes, I want breakfast' when booking the hotel and not a lot of other considerations were given.
It's Birmingham. I'll go out for a Balti in the evening. No Big Deal.
Beyond that it was just a simple matter of sorting out the packing, Christmas had finally killed off my giant green canvas suitcase (it was cheap, 20 years old, gone from one end of the country to the other repeatedly and been in use constantly, not bad longevity although amusingly, when it finally fell apart I found sand from an Egypt trip still in it lol) so I'd be getting inventive.
The 'big' issue as far as I was concerned is what I'd be wearing, we'd recently taken one of my older and more degraded outfits to a company called Wicked Waist's for a refresh and whilst things were looking good at my fitting... nobody was sure it would be ready in time to pick up on Saturday whilst we were heading up. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond anyones control it wasn't. A pity but I'd already packed a fall back 'just in case' before the problem occurred. So instead of being in pink I'd be in black satin, no biggie.
Despite being raised in Tamworth I have been back to that area exactly twice in the last fifteen years (including this time) and passed through the region equally infrequently but it was somewhat reassuring that the long journey was nearly over when we passed Fort Dunlop and rather interesting that, what was last I saw it, a near derelict building had been spruced up and become a Travel Lodge. Still with a bit of poking at the satnav we finally found ourselves in the parking area of the West Bromwich Premier Inn.
MzWhipplash had already arrived long before us and booked a table at the local Harvester for a small group of people and was sat at that table waiting for everyone else, it gave us a nice amount of face time with both MzWhipplash, her new puppy and the two people I knew only as "The Devotion Team". It was quite an interesting and informative conversation, whilst maids were mentioned and my working theories provided, a lot of it was about running and maintaining an event, in their case Devotion and in ours HOWL. Notes were made all round for further investigation.
Walking back from the restaurant both my Owner and I commented how quiet it was, at 11pm on a Saturday night there was nobody really around, a few stragglers were in the pub named 'The Interceptor' (we assumed named after HMS Interceptor and commented it was an odd name for a pub given we were nowhere near the ocean) but beyond that the streets were quiet. Even here in the arse end of Hampshire it's never THAT quiet.
Backing the hotel we ended up just going straight to bed and sleeping, a bit off as both of us tend to be night owls but for whatever reasons we were quite tired and collapsed in a heap and wondered what Sunday would bring.
With a brilliant bright day greeting me at 7am I groaned my way out of bed and headed towards the shower, shaved off the last bits of hair that had escaped my various purges and eradicate the smell that tends to permeate your skin after a day of sitting in a boiling hot car. That shower felt good. Really good. But I couldn't stay in there all day and with the room being a rather warm 25.5 Centigrade drying off wasn't an issue :) Although I did have long enough to unpack our respective outfits and hang them so any creases would fall out.
Getting in to the full regalia in that sort of heat was a challenge but eventually the corset, petticoat, a bell and a dress were all on and I ran from helping my Owner to dancing in front of the little desk fan that was our rooms source of cooling (it's an older hotel it had heating controls but no air conditioning or central air system). We were trying our best to coordinate with MzWhipplash as the two of us didn't really know the area, although I knew the rough location and after our talk over breakfast I knew that I was looking for a side alley with purple columns outside its door.
Every venue has its own quirks and rules, Xstasia has a fairly common on: no camera's. It also has one that isn't common and neither of us two knew about: No mobile phones. So whilst we were trying to meet up in reception with MzWhipplash, she'd already made her way to the venue and handed her phone over... ho hum again nothing insurmountable although I did have to be the one to lead the charge to head out on our own.
It was only a short walk away from the hotel and it did feel good to get a bit of a breeze around us after the raw hot house of the room and if I'm very honest I enjoy the romping around outdoors in uniform to be just as much as I do the actual event itself.
Now I will preface this part with this: I found the venue to be exceptionally professional, the organisers to be very much on the ball, the event itself to be quite well put together and all in all I'd highly recommend Devotion to anyone looking for a FemmeDom event in the Birmingham/Midlands area. I'm also not your typical maid and focus more on the service aspects than I do the fru-fru and pretty dresses (I enjoy them but they aren't the be all and end all).
But I... was bored. My Owners hernia was playing merry hell and she was in no mood to play, as she is my Owner I didn't really think it'd be appropriate to wander off and put myself up on their 'available' board and I didn't feel it'd be in order to ask my Owner if I could as it'd make her feel bad. Nor was I staff at this event, so I wasn't running around going full throttle serving the clubs guests nor was I really able to do anything for my Owner beyond offer sympathy.
So yeah... I was bored. Not the fault of the Devotion people nor those who run Xstasia. But it's something I should mention because honestly it might add bias to what I'm saying or lead those reading this journal to think I didn't have a good time because of something that happened (or didn't) at the event and this is most certainly not the case.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that several maids had showed up to work as staff on the event, a small team of 3 maids were busy getting ready to serve guests although I understand from chatting to the organisers that 2 had, for various reasons, not come. There were also 2 other maids walking around with their Owners and on a few occasions I saw them on leads. In total it looked to be about 60 people, slightly down from the 120 who had come in February but as the sun was most certainly out we figured they'd either gone somewhere else to enjoy the day. Still it was a good turn out and the venue didn't feel empty.
The event has several features. The first was a tea party for the ladies, whilst I remained downstairs and out of the way, my Owner reported that the service was acceptable and the cakes served quite tasty. They had a small problem when a tea pot was knocked off their prep area and shattered on the floor but other than that nothing really bad happened. Everyone who came out of the room looked like they'd had a good time.
After that came a version of pass the parcel for submissives, each layer of the parcel had a 'punishment' inside of it which was supposed to be something the submissive enjoyed. Although both myself and MzWhipplash's puppy were approached by someone trying to palm off his "Be handcuffed to another sub for 10min" on to us or at the very least become attached to him for a while; I declined. It was a kind offer but erm... I'm quite happy without having someone strapped to me.
The third event was... well... musical chairs. Although it was the ladies who were seated and the submissives walked around them, when the music stopped... the spanking began. It was quite entertaining to watch as some of the subs tried to escape. I saw people departing the circle (both male and female) but as I didn't hear what the rules of the game were I couldn't tell you why they'd left the fun. Perhaps, much like the game children play, if their is no Dominant where you stop then you're out and every so often a Dominant departs whittling down the numbers until a winner is found?
I was roped in to the fourth event by my Owner, with an evil glint in her eye. A "sissy parade". All of the sissies were given numbered rosettes and after a lap of the arena we gave our respects to the panel of judges and trotted off whilst they totted up the votes. As I'd unclipped my under skirt bag and left it in the room I headed off to retrieve it whilst this happened; it does make one side of the dress look uneven (a small price to pay for some cargo capacity usually) and as I was doing as I'd been told I figured playing it straight would be for the best.
The lady running the parade put the rosettes on our wrists and we took the opportunity to have a quick chat, I did mention that I was only doing this because my decision making unit wanted it: I was enjoying a day off. One of the maids asked "A day off from what?" So I rattled off the events I work at (Burns Night, Night of The Cane, Detention, The Boat, HOWL and 1-2-1 as MzWhipplash's junior maid at Pedestal) only to be informed "that the first I've ever heard of those".
Not knowing of The Firm's events or HOWL is understandable however, Pedestal is a major brand in FemDomme circles. I was actually quite surprised that this person had never heard of it. Although considering the slight sneer I wonder if this was an attempt to big themselves up? It fell flat and I filled the encounter under 'M' for whatever.
Whilst getting the bag back I commented to one of the organisers that I figured the staff would win, it seemed fair to my mind: they're working and part of the point scoring criteria was "how well the served you" as I hadn't served them and wasn't staff I figured I'd be scoring zero points and have to do something "humiliating" no big deal and I was fully prepared to play my part for my Owners amusement.
It was during this conversation the person mentioned a name that rang a bell with me: Felicity. Someone who botched it so badly they gave her no votes. Now it was several years ago but I'm pretty sure the online moniker of the person who told me about Devotion's 50 strong maid team had the word Felicity inside of it. I wonder if they're the same person? As the website and its attendant forums has since closed down I guess I'll never know.
Still I reappeared just in time to end up back on stage for the results. I was rather surprised to get 3rd place and had a little tiara put on my head. Neat :) I as more surprised still when I was told I could keep them. Not really my thing but I'll keep them as a souvenir of my trip.
After this the event broke down in the a fairly normal BDSM play event with people enjoying themselves in various ways. Always nice to hear people enjoying themselves in a club.
At 6:30pm the buffet was called, it seemed a bit more informal than the other events and whilst I watched the goings on I was corseted up to my eye balls and didn't really fancy anything to nibble on. My Owner reported that whilst it looked good and what she had tasted Ok, the selection was a little odd. The Dorito's for example weren't being served with guacamole but she was adamant that it was puree peas. That and she hates quiche in any and all forms. I mean it's something she won't even try if I cook it so someone else's was not going to get a look in.
After she'd eaten some of the nibbles we decided to make a move home, she was feeling worse than she had at the start of the event and as the hotel was literally next door it was simpler to just amble back than it was head in to one of the private rooms for a nap.
And that was the end of our trip to Devotion. However my main goal, which was to see what, exactly, was happening at Devotion and to compare the reality to the fantasy had been completed. So all-in-all I was happy and both of us have discussed going again, applying to be staff and how frequently we should attend this event. We do live in Portsmouth and between the driving, hotel expense and restaurant bills going to Devotion was the single event we could afford this month... so this is an annual trip for us. Something different, a bit special. I can cope with that :)
Now to be honest. No, Devotion does not, did not and according to the event organisers has never had 50 maids present. It has had 50 submissives present yes and I'd say about that number were there this time as well but they were not all staff nor were they all service submissives, maids or indeed wearing any kind of uniform. At the Harvester we did some rough math: I max out at 50 people, beyond that I start to struggle to provide the quality of service people expect and enjoy. 30 is a good place to be. If each maid had my capabilities (we were being generous), that would be about 2000 people on site. Xstasia can not physically accommodate that many people.
So as I suspected when I was first told about this legendary haven of sissy maid servitude: complete and utter bullshit, that does nothing but fulfil someones fantasy of being a maid at a huge event and serving women in the "humiliating" position as maid.
So the next time someone is busy telling you than an event you're unlikely to of been able to get to, for whatever reason, is somehow different to what you've experienced else where? You can tell them they're full of it.
However I found the reality a surprisingly pleasant change from what I was used to and it actually surpassed my expectations in terms of the venue and the play kit that was provided (it all looked exceptionally well maintained and sturdy) and would be more than happy to recommend the event to anyone looking for a FemDomme focused event that isn't based in or around London. Despite circumstances making me a bit bored, I did have a good time and I'm looking forward to next year when we make the trip up to experience it again!