Toppers, aviator goggles, corsets and feathered finery at the ready, thousands of Steampunk fans are preparing to head to Lincoln for a “splendid” Bank Holiday weekend to remember.
The city is gearing-up to welcome thousands of Steampunks for Weekend at The Asylum VII – a retro-futuristic extravaganza which takes place from Friday to Monday, August 28 to 31.
Billed as the biggest Steampunk festival in Europe, it attracts fans from way beyond Europe’s boundaries.
The Victorian Steampunk Society Chairman John Naylor has been working with Lincoln BIG Events & Promotions Manager Michael Armstrong to stage the festival, which features a fusion of arts, literature, music, fashion and fun events.
Mr Naylor said: “We are expecting at least 2,000 people to attend on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the weekend. Steampunks are coming to Lincoln from most of the European countries, but also from America, Canada and New Zealand.
“Numbers have been growing over the last few years, because it’s all about people “being nice to each other.” They also share the same frames of reference - history combined with a dash of imagination and creativity thrown in.
“People are intrigued by the Steampunk genre. They want to come and take a look and, before they know it, they find they have got involved.”
Mr Armstrong said: “Weekend at The Asylum VII is one of the most important occasions in Lincoln BIG’s events calendar.
“This year it will be centred on a variety of uphill venues, including Lincoln Castle (which has benefited from a £22 million facelift), Castle Hill, The Assembly Rooms, Bailgate Methodist Church Hall, the Westgate Academy and Bishop Grosseteste University.
Serious Steampunks will be sporting a mix of ensembles, portraying the neo-Victorian science fiction theme, including bustle skirts, waist-nipping corsets, military outfits, pith helmets, tops hats, pocket watches and fantastic goggles, many customised for the occasion.
The programme for the weekend is crammed with exciting, and intriguing, activities – including a mix of open events which anyone can attend, as well as ticketed sessions. However, tickets for all the evening events have already been snapped-up!
The weekend programme includes:
- Friday, August 28
The weekend starts with a Steampunk Market in Bailgate Methodist Church Hall, Bailgate, where there could be a lucky find or two! Then, at 7.30pm there’s the ever-popular Lady Elsie’s Fashion Gala at the Assembly Rooms (tickets sold out).
- Saturday, August 29
Today’s packed programme features the Steampunk Market in the Castle (from 10am), a talk – Rayguns in Steampunk Fiction - at 10am at the Westgate Academy, Westgate, and Meet & Merch sessions at The Stage, Lincoln Castle, where fans can meet Steampunk band Metropolis between 12.30pm and 1pm or The Dark Design, between 1.30pm and 2pm, and snap-up some much sought-after gear at the same time.
At 1pm, it will be time for the first Tea Duelling session of the weekend. This takes place at the Assembly Rooms in Bailgate, where contenders will be out to win the Asylum 2015 Championship. Also on Saturday, between 3.30pm and 5pm, there’s the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at The Assembly rooms. It offers newcomers and people who have just arrived for the weekend an opportunity to get acquainted over tea, sandwiches and cakes.
- Sunday, August 30
There’s another chance for shoppers and visitors to browse and buy from the Steampunk Market in Lincoln Castle.
Then, from 10am to 11.30am Coglings (junior Steampunks) and their guardians are being challenged to have a go at Ornithopter Racing in The Castle. Mini flying machines (powered by elastic bands) will be supplied. The Battle of the Champions takes place later in the day, at 3.30pm.
Between 2pm and 3pm, the best of the weekend’s biscuit dunkers will be back at The Assembly Rooms for the exciting UK National Finals of the Tea-Duelling Competition.
- Monday, August 31
A splendid festival weekend is rounded off with yet another great market in The Castle, from 10am and a Teddy Bear’s Punknic takes place from 2pm to 3pm (also at The Castle). There’s other activities too, before a closing ceremony at 4.15pm.