Over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 9th & 10th September 2017, the Waterworks Museum hosted Hereford’s first Steampunk event, which was very successful.
Attendance was good, but not at the levels that we had hoped for. This was in part due to the showery weather, although it was nowhere near as bad as the forecast weather, which may have put a lot of people off. But it may also have been because so many people don’t know what Steampunk is about and were put off by the name (thinking it associated with the punk-rock culture of the 1970’s, which it most definitely is not).
Many people have told us since that they regret not coming along to see for themselves -and there will be opportunity to do this, because the Museum will be holding a second Steampunk Weekend at the end of April 2018 (which will then become a fixed weekend in our Calendar).
So what is Steampunk? Steampunk is a welcoming, vibrant and growing culture in the UK, founded on the science fiction of the industrialised 19th century - and the worlds created by the likes of HG Wells and Jules Verne. Light hearted and whimsical, it is about individual creativity and a re-imagination of our industrial past, with magnificent costume and intricate accessories.
Steampunk fashion is distinctive - but there is no right or wrong way to dress, and you definitely do not have to dress up to enjoy a Steampunk event.
The fashion is basically inspired by the science fiction of the Victorian era with dapper gents wearing frock coats, waistcoats and bowler or top hats, and ladies in period skirts and corsets in flamboyant colours. Many of the costumes seen at the Museum were fashioned from up-cycled items found in charity shops - taking something from the past to create something modern and eye-catching.
The Waterworks Museum is a very apt location for a Steampunk event, with its Victorian industrial setting and authentic engines working in-steam.
During the first Steampunk weekend we had some 15 stalls both in the Museum and on the forecourt, selling Steampunk costume, period jewellery and collectables and confectionary. Steampunk entertainment is also distinctive, but it’s not a genre in its own right - just music and entertainment that Steampunks like. We had captivating performers on the Museum forecourt across the weekend and a separately ticketed Steampunk Cabaret on the Saturday evening.
If you’re still not sure about Steampunk take a look at our gallery of photographs and perhaps make a note for your Calendar to come along and see for yourself in April 2018 (details to be announced).
Photographs by Steve Betts