Asylum Steampunk Festival, Lincoln

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The Asylum Steampunk Festivals, started 11 years ago, have become the largest Steampunk events in the world. It is held over the August Bank Holiday weekend and this year I was joined by Rachel, Amanda and Maxine.

Martine in the garden
In the garden of where we stayed with the Cathedral tower in the background

Rachel and I went to the event for just one day last year to see what it was like (see blog here) but we enjoyed it so much we decided to have a two night stay this year and were joined by Maxine and Amanda. We managed to get an apartment within yards of the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral (thankfully the chimes were stopped at night!). It was an ideal location for an easy walk to most of where the action was taking place. We had the whole of the top floor of a magnificent old house that had a history dating back to the 14th Century. The only snag was that it was a rabbit warren of stairs and corridors which were not at all easy to negotiate with my very heavy suitcase (must take two or three smaller ones if we go there again!). But otherwise the apartment was extremely good with a very friendly host (who owned the house) and we even had full access to the beautiful large garden.

We got there around midday on the Saturday after we had picked up our wristbands from the University on the north side of the city. The wristbands (which we had purchased in advance) gave us free access to the castle grounds, where much of the action happened, and other venues and events. As soon as we had dropped off our bags, Rachel and I (who had travelled to Lincoln ‘dressed’) headed straight out to the Castle to try to catch as much of the action as possible. We were just too late for The Jet Pack Race but did catch The Wacky Racers and The Wacky Pararacers. These were just a few of the many events taking place over the weekend which included such crazy things as a Mad Hatters Tea Party, Tea Duelling (which involves dunking biscuits!), The Minimum Altitude Display Team and much, much more.

Martine with clock and umbrella
With my new parasol and that really is a working clock on my shoulder.

We spent Saturday evening in the Victoria pub where we met up with Julia. It was packed but we did eventually manage to get a table in the marquee outside where we could enjoy a really good live band.

Sunday morning Maxine and I went back to the University campus to look around the many market stalls there. It took us some time to find where to catch the free shuttle bus that operated between the City centre and University using vintage buses (work in the Cathedral square had meant it did not go from where it had done so last year). I bought some amazing steampunk jewellery and a white lacy umbrella to give me a little shade from the sun during the extreme heat of the weekend.

Martine, Rachel and Maxine
Martine, Rachel and Maxine

Then back via Bailgate, and the Castle Square to the main action in the Castle grounds. All the time I was taking lots of photos of everyone in their amazing steampunk costumes and in turn many of them took photos of me. I always asked if might take a photo but always the subjects were delighted to pose; after all everyone is dressing to be admired! As at the Whitby Goth events, there were lots of photographers there, posting lots of photos, including some of me, on Facebook and various other websites

Sunday evening is was back to the Victoria but there was no band on that night. After a few drinks there we went just around the corner to The Stragglers Arms which was much quieter but a delightful little pub.

Amanda at the castle
Amanda in the castle grounds

Bank Holiday Monday I got to Castle Square just in time to see the Asylum’s Most Splendid Promenade. I was in a perfect position and was snapping away almost non-stop all the very many promenaders passing by. After a drink in a nearby pub, Maxine and I browsed the market stalls in Bailgate Methodist Church, had lunch and then headed back into the castle grounds. I tagged on to a photoshoot of a group of Star Wars fans in their costumes before joining an Illicit Market (which officially didn’t happen!!!) Actually a number of traders would clandestinely take their goods into the trading area and feverishly try to sell them within the allotted time of 40 minutes. But 2 or 3 times everything stopped and buyers and sellers alike would have to pretend nothing was going on when the Pieman of the “Guild of Privateers, Illicit Entrepreneurs and Scoundrels” (‘the authorities’) would make an occasional inspection. At the end of the allotted time, everyone, traders and buyers alike would have to leave the area within 5 minutes or face a fine. All good fun!

That was the end of a fabulous weekend for us. We will be back next year but stay 3 nights next time and perhaps get tickets for one of the evening parties which apparently are pretty good.

Martine

For lot's more photos of this event, click here

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