It's Hartlepool's first Steampunk Festival this weekend !

Published Tuesday, 4th September 2018

Grab your goggles and top hat and make tracks to Hartlepool’s first ever Steampunk Festival this weekend !

Packed with fun, frolics and lots of crazy outfits, it’s on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September in and around the Borough Hall on the historic Headland.

The event is funded by Hartlepool Borough Council and is organised in partnership with enthusiast David Smith, who has run Steampunk events in other parts of the country.

Steampunk is fun for people of all ages and has nothing whatsoever to do with 1970s punk rock – it’s a genre loosely based on re-imagining Victorian science fiction and fantasy, such as the works of HG Wells, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mary Shelley.

It has spread through literature, fashion and music and best of all it’s easy and inexpensive to join in – dressing up is optional, but if you want to the basics are probably in grandad’s wardrobe or the nearest charity shop and from there you can bling it up to your heart’s content – the only limit is your imagination!

There’s a host of free weird and wonderful attractions on both days (Saturday 11am-5pm and Sunday 11am-4pm) from a host of skilled entertainers including juggling and tom foolery from Erwyd Le Fol – the official jester of Conwy in Wales – escapology, magic and storytelling from Greg Chapman and balloon modelling with Foxee Stole.

There’ll also be an opportunity to meet some lovely real-life owls and even a raven and the chance to marvel at the whacky bells and whistles of Captain Leaky and his amazing Steampunk Camper Van.

Steampunk Festival montage

On Saturday afternoon there will be music from Daryl Burns of leading North-East band The Pastures and also from Ren Wattinger, bass player with The Wattingers, who will be showcasing his solo act Tea Horse.

On both days there will be specialist stalls selling Steampunk fashion, accessories, jewellery, art and other items.

The nearby Heugh Battery Museum will also be opening its doors and hosting the Time Travelling Tea Tent, featuring the art of tea drinking, hamster racing and fox tossing (not real animals, we assure you!). An entry fee applies but there will be a discount for those in Steampunk costume.

A highlight of the weekend will be a Steampunk cabaret in the Borough Hall on Saturday evening from 7.30pm to 11.30pm.

Headlining will be The Filthy Spectacula – a band whose music nods towards gypsy punk, pirate shanty, dark cabaret, ska, punk, Steampunk and gothic – plus there’ll be performances by The Pastures and legendary swamp-dwelling slaughterhouse blues band The Wattingers.

There’ll also be illusions from Foxee Stole, more from the multi-talented entertainer Greg Chapman, plus burlesque dancer Pansy Cheung. Master of ceremonies will be Erwyd Le Fol.

Tickets for the cabaret cost £18. Tickets for the cabaret cost £18 and can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling 01429 890000 or from Hartlepool Art Gallery and Tourist Information Centre in Church Square.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “We have a reputation in Hartlepool for doing things a bit differently and what could be more different than the town’s very first Steampunk Festival !

“It’s wacky, wonderful fun for all the family, and because Steampunk celebrates Victorian inventiveness and industrial heritage, you couldn’t ask for a better venue than Hartlepool, which grew so much in the Victorian era.”

Organiser David Smith said: “Steampunk has a massive following – we’re all one big happy family and there’s a warm welcome for everyone, so if you’ve never tried it, come along and see what you’ve been missing!”

For more details visit The Hartlepool Steampunk Festival on Facebook.