Steampunk is a contemporary blend of the old and the new, with costumes that are inspired by Victorian heritage and futuristic designs. It ranges from vibrant Victorian corsets to time travelling goggles, and eloquent top hats, which leave you wondering whether you’ve been dropped into a mix of the 18th and 22nd century. They may be unconventional, but you can clearly see the thought and passion that has gone into creating them. If dressing up isn’t for you however, then there is plethora of sights and activities to keep you occupied.
Upon entering the Nottingham Industrial Museum you are treated to an array of old cars, motorbikes and carriages. Next to each unicycle or carriage there are handy snippets of information about the objects, telling you about what it is and when it was made. The information is just enough to give you a brief history without boring you to death. As you move through the museum you will find various lace machines and old radios, which won’t catch your eye at all unless you’re an avid knitter. Outside of the museum, there are numerous rooms with a variety of steam and diesel engines that create a climate mirroring the Amazon rainforest. Apart from that, the complexity and mind-boggling engineering of these machines was on full display.
The best part of the festival was the audacity of the performances, which included tea duelling, a fire display and Unicycling. If that didn’t get your attention, then me explaining tea duelling certainly will. Tea duelling is when an argument is settled using tea and biscuits. A biscuit is held in the air after being dipped in tea, the person whose biscuit crumbles first loses the duel. Light hearted and somewhat absurd, this perfectly epitomises Steampunkalia in my eyes. There are also role-play activities and arts/ crafts to get stuck into.
Another aspect of the festival which pleasantly surprised me was the people. Even though I didn’t dress up like a majority of the other visitors there, I felt welcomed and included in the bubble of the festival.
Overall, I would recommend Steampunkalia, its light hearted and quirky nature is a breath of fresh air; the costumes are creative and the people are quick to embrace you into their culture. However, there aren’t enough activities to keep you engaged throughout the day, and as a result of this it’s hard to spend a whole day at Steampunkalia.