Brisbane university student and aspiring writer constantly satisfying my craving for adventure and experiencing the diversity of life. Come explore Queensland with me. What will I get up to next?
Enter a world that might have been
All fob watches in Australia are telling you that the best time this August will be at SteamFest. If you have an insatiable taste for steam punk, bust out the top hats and goggles for a weekend of music and their kooky makers, unique markets and special guests. SteamFest will be held at the Ipswich Turf Club.
Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction. It is the idea of alternative history where there has been a reversion or a halt at the age of steam and spring powered technology. The most prominent feature of steampunk is its often sexy and definitely beautiful aesthetic. A lot of steampunk is do it yourself. You create, you invent, you are the revolution.
There will be several performances by renowned musicians. When it comes to music, steampunk is not necessarily one genre but a concept that can be manipulated across several genres. However, in several cases steampunk inspired music returns to the way music used be. A beauty that can be lost in the contemporary mainstream music. One of these performers will be Unwoman (Erica Mulkey when she is off stage), who is no stranger to steampunk conventions. Unwoman is a cellist, singer and song writer with electronic influences. The cello can be foreboding as well as romantic and is the perfect accompaniment to her darkly sweet and sour tones.
Joining Unwoman will be the roughish Australian group Rapskallion. The bohemian band concoct a vivacious stage environment that infects the audience. Their sound can be gravelly and rustic as well as vibrant, brassy and mischievous. Expect magic, megaphones and madness. See their music video Cat Thief to see their antics.
Post-apocalyptic steampunk band Abney Park seem to have a little slice of the devil within them and a penchant for mayhem. They incorporate several instruments and absurdities into their performances including: clockwork guitars, belly dancers, Middle Eastern percussion, an attack of violins, flintlock bassists and Tesla powered keyboards (awesome). I have a bit of a crush on their clockwork infused guitars and the band itself really. Their voices are deep, rich, sung with candor and darkly. This music gets me excited and is the final clincher to me checking to see if I have that weekend free. View their musical creation Evil Man.
Other guests Professor Elemental will keep you laughing with his delicious insanities, the rocket fueled band The Mouldy Lovers will make you dance, Starboy! entertains you and Evelyn Kriete artist and fashion designer (and so much more) will be there for you to marvel over. She has worked in museums and on the film Repo! The Genetic Opera. Please open a new tab or run to the video store, kilometers away as it is, and find this movie. Steampunk authors also appear on the guest list. G.D Falksen the author of The Hellfire Chronicles: Blood in the Skies and the Ouroboros Cycle series welcomes you. Also in attendance is author Jay Kristoff and his Japanese steampunk fantasy book Stormdancer. Kristoff proclaims he does not believe in happy endings making for interesting plot lines.
The fest also hosts its own small businesses market: The Makers Market. Stalls will include fashion, art, inventions, foods and wonderful miscellaneous finds that fit happily in this steampunk universe. One of the stand outs is Gypsy General Trading Co. who serve organic beverages from their hand crafted gypsy wagon. Mixes can also be purchased to bring home to your kitchen. How can you go past a cup of spiced ambrosia? Ambrosia is a drink of immortality favored by the Greek Gods. Results may vary. The wagon often frequents the West End Markets.
There will be several steampunk fashion stalls including: Loose Lemur, Dragons Blood, Abigail Antares, Cassandra's Closet (Ipswich local), Demon Kitty and Vintage Nova among several other creative explosions. You will find a fair few expensive items but there will be some affordable wares and treasures. Artists such as Anthea, a fun and brilliant freelance concept artist, will also be selling and be on display. Also at the market will be snow cones and fake tattoos. This is also a mostly family friendly and fun event. It is just unfortunate you cannot reach the market without buying a ticket to the fest.
Consider attending The Grand Opening Gala at The Workshops Rail Museum if you have the cash. On the 2nd of August you can breathe the same air as all of the special guests while sipping on wine and devouring canapés at this steampunkesque black tie event. Limited $150 tickets are still available for this 18 plus event. The festival itself is open age. VIP tickets are also available and include photography and special stage seating.
I strongly recommend buying your tickets online rather then at the gate as there is a fifteen dollar difference in price. Adult day passes are $30, Adult Weekend Passes are $40, Concession day passes (students, pensioners or seniors) are $25 and $35 for a weekend pass. Child passes (ages 12 to 15. Children under 12 get in free with a paying adult) are $15 for a day pass and $20 for the weekend. Family weekend passes are also available (two adults and up to 3 children) for $80. Volunteers are still needed and you can apply to be one on their site and receive several perks. To buy tickets and for more information check out the festival's website.
Explore a world that may never have been but in truth exists today in the kooky characters that bring it to life.