Steampunk is a sub-genre movement of what is called science fiction and many lovers of that movement celebrate it through many festivals that happen throughout the years. Many of those events and gatherings are located in the United States. In recent years, you will notice that there is at least one festival taking place in the United States at least once a month. There is also a possibility of there being two or more festivals in one month as well.
For a list of steampunk conventions see here.
Watch City Steampunk festival is one of the first events about Steampunk that has ever taken place. It is hosted in the city of Waltham in Massachusetts. There are a lot of activities happening both outdoors and indoors, although this festival is considered to be the largest outdoor Steampunk festival. The first time this festival took place was inside of the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, in the year of 2010. Considering it was one of the first events ever, the assumption was that there would be around 400 people but, surprisingly, over thousands of people showed up!
(source: the steampunk explorer)
However, Steampunk is not only popular in the United States; there are a lot of fans in Europe as well. One of the biggest events is held in Lincoln, England called Weekend at the Asylum and it’s happening every year. In fact, that event attracts people all around the globe. It has various workshops, all kinds of different activities, and is also considered to be one of the oldest Steampunk festivals. It’s one year older than the Watch City Steampunk festival, meaning the first time it took place was in 2009.
(source: Victorian Steampunk Society)
Most of the time, people attending the festivals will dress up in old Victorian style with hints of modern technology. One of the trademarks of Steampunk fashion is Victorian goggles and unusual hats, as well as pocket watches and canes.
About the “Burning Man” Festival
“Burning Man” is one of the rather unique events that take place in Nevada, America every year. It used to take place in California on Baker Beach at first and this event was supposed to be enjoyed by all people, even those who aren’t actually fans of Steampunk. This event provides a rather exciting entertainment each year, making it being looked forward to by many people. It allows self-expression and explorations, and there are different activities each year chosen by those who are organizing the event. On not so bright note, it is definitely not one of the cheapest events there is. In fact, tickets usually cost over 400$.
But despite the expensive tickets, “Burning Man’ nowadays has over 70,000 people attending the event each year. While, at first, the event started off with only 35 individuals in San Francisco. Because the number of people increased, there had to be stricter rules people would follow. And how did it get its unique name?
“A burning man” got its name because an effigy would be set on fire at the end of the event. The effigy would represent the burning of the Temple Galaxia which is a wooden structure of 65 feet which is a symbol of how the fabric of universe unites all the living beings. In order for the temple to be set alight, people would create memorials of deceased loved ones or past relationships.
It is important to note, this event isn’t just a festival, it’s an entire community and it follows ten core principles. Those principles include participation, civic responsibility, radical inclusion (“Anyone can be part of “Burning Man”), gifting, decommodification (meaning, no commercial activity is allowed; no money passes hands at the festival), radical self-reliance and self-expression, and leaving no trace (as in, there should be no physical evidence of the activities).
People can ride bicycles, scooters, or just be on foot. They even cook together, dance, drink and make art. And, because there is no money exchange during the festival, you can do whatever you want for free. That includes wine tasting, zip lining, and even massages.
This event is usually very well organized and many wealthy and well-known people come to visit it. Some of these people include the founder of Amazon and even co-founder of Google as well as some of the superstars. Considering its popularity, “Burning Man” has inspired many other countries to create their own festival as far away as New Zealand and South Africa. What makes Steampunk and “Burning Man” festivals so fun and popular is the freedom of self-expression and creativity.