With Steampunk festivals in Britain gaining more visitors every year, this article will outline some of the best Steampunk festivals in the UK where you can let out your inner Steampunk and go the extra mile with it comfortably.
The Steampunk community in the UK is a welcoming and accepting one where people come from all backgrounds and ways of life, but they all share the common interest in Victorian fashion and the vast lifestyle that is Steampunk. So if you’re new to the Steampunk community, or are even just interested in the Steampunk way of life, here are some Steampunk festivals UK for you to visit:
Best Steampunk Festivals UK has to Offer
Whitby Steampunk Weekend
Whitby Steampunk Weekend is held twice a year in February and July, the events are held within an indoor venue – the Whitby Pavilion. It is vastly considered as the second largest Steampunk event in the UK, second only to Lincoln Asylum. Thousands attend the Whitby Steampunk Weekend events where there are a number of activities available, market stalls, and presentations/demonstrations. You will not be disappointed by the Steampunk atmosphere of Whitby Steampunk Weekend, and the entry is free.
Inside the Whitby Pavilion there are two trading halls that are filled with Steampunk clothing and accessories by some of the most sought after vendors with the highest quality Steampunk clothing and merchandise.
There are free exhibitions inside as well as free activities and presentations to keep you intrigued and excited. Some of these activities include workshops such as leather making and prop making, as well as learning how to burlesque dance. You may even bump into some Victorian Parlour Magicians and hear some live music.
The Whitby Steampunk Weekend also frequently has special guests including some Steampunk guests from the TV and film industry, and also the music industry.
At night time the Whitby Steampunk Weekend changes, offering masquerade balls, concerts, and fashion shows, all of which with Steampunk influences (of course!).
Overall, Whitby Steampunk weekend is a family friendly event where you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of Steampunk.
The Asylum Steampunk Festival – Lincoln
The annual Steampunk Festival in Lincoln is overflowing with culture and creativity. The Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln is the longest running and biggest Steampunk Festival in the world. 2019 marked 11 years of the festival running. The festival started in 2009 with 432 guests attending, and it has been held every year since then, growing more popular each year. The 2017 festival claims to have had between 35,000 and 40,000 people attending per day.
The Steampunk Festival in Lincoln is an experience that can be enjoyed by all, it is not solely for the enjoyment of the Steampunk community, although many of those taking part are a part of the community. The festival is essentially a celebration of creativity, fun, and individuality. If these are all things that you enjoy, then the Steampunk Festival in Lincoln will be a busy day out that will have you leaving happier and more imaginative than when you arrived. The festival does not force anything, part of the reason for its popularity is due to the welcoming nature for everybody to come as they are. Even pets are welcomed, so you don’t have to leave your furry pooch at home, they can take part in the enjoyment too. Maybe they can even be a part of your costume…
The Lincoln Steampunk Festival is one of the biggest Steampunk festivals in Europe. The Lincoln castle is situated in the centre of the festival, and offers a rustic backdrop that feels as though you have stepped into a time warp.
There are many activities and events that are held over the weekend, such as the Steampunk Market on Castle Hill. The market is a sight to see with individuality shining through in every corner. The friendly faces come hand in hand with the creative community who are happy to assist you with any questions or advice you may need. Perhaps you have spotted some styles while wandering around the festival that you reckon you could rock yourself, the Steampunk market is the perfect place for you to find your new style, or new inspiration for your next festival outfit. Perhaps you can get suited up for The Asylum costume competition, events such as The Asylum costume competition really challenge visitors to go the extra mile. The parade for the competition is the perfect place to get dressed up in your best outfit and to show it off to the supportive crowd. The asylum’s most splendid promenade features groups, banners, and eye catching costumes that may be the inspiration you need for your next outfit.
The Steampunk Campus at Bishop Grosseteste University is the primary section of the festival. It acts as a hub, with markets, exhibitions, entertainment, and food and drink. There is even a ‘quiet space’ for those who want some time away from the bustle of the festival. There will also be captivating talks and presentations given in this area.
The Illicit market is a wrist-banded area that allows people to market goods while role-playing their part in a Steampunk society. This is a fun feature that proves popular among guests due to the time limits and rules that fall on those taking part. If you love role-playing and you are a member of the Steampunk community, the odds are that you will love the Illicit market.
The festival even has its very own jetpack races, where contestants have to race 60m with a jetpack on their back to the finishing line. Other fun events include The Wacky Racers and Pararacers race in which contestants have to race 120m to the finishing line in their own home-made vehicles.
The Great Exhibition at Bishop Grosseteste University, features artwork from members of the Steampunk community and even hands out awards. As well as all of these events and exhibitions, the festival hosts plenty of live music, craft workshops, and even comedy. There is something for everyone at Steampunk Festival Lincoln.
Shrewsbury Steampunk Spectacular
The Shrewsbury Steampunk Spectacular is a fairly new Steampunk event that has only been running since 2018. The event is annual and takes place every march (however, it was cancelled in 2021 due to covid). The festival is open for all and will bring excitement to the young and old.
The event is focused around a Steampunk market at St Mary’s Church, but the event is not limited to the church. There are many events that happen throughout the town when Shrewsbury’s Steampunk Spectacular comes about. This includes walking tours that explore Shrewsbury’s steam powered history, an interesting tour for any Steampunk fanatic. There is also Charles Darwin’s old school where the librarians dress up in Steampunk gear and host a range of activities and tours at the library.
At St Mary’s church there are many workshops, including learning to make instruments out of scrap metal. There are also bizarre events such as teapot racing and the Peacock parade where Steampunk fashion is displayed.
There are many forms of entertainment at Shrewsbury Steampunk spectacular, including live music, dancing, and magic. On the Saturday a special event is held at The Buttermarket Cellars where guests can enjoy live music and entertainment from the best Steampunk musicians and entertainers. Shrewsbury Steampunk Spectacular will not disappoint members of the Steampunk community, and even those with a particular interest in Steampunk.
Leeds Steampunk Market
Leeds Steampunk Market has been around since 2011 and is one of the longest running Steampunk gatherings in the world. The event has frequent gatherings throughout the year, some of which are held in Bradford and other places.
In Leeds the event takes place in the Abbey House Museum. It features vendors who sell gifts, fashion, books, and clothing and the stalls are not only limited to Steampunk. The event prides itself on being an event for the Steampunk community, featuring Steampunk stalls amongst stalls that peek the Steampunk communities interests such as sci-fi, Victorian, Gothic, Fantasy etc. There is live entertainment in the form of music and others. There are also activities such as jousting tournaments amongst others.
Although smaller in size than the others on the list and the fact that they don’t provide evening entertainment or workshops, Leeds Steampunk Market is an event that is perfect for members of the Steampunk community, and for those with interests that surround the Steampunk community.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Steampunk Festival Lincoln