A New Steampunk Event in Jersey

The Radisson Piscataway will host Steampunk Con, as C.O.G.S. Expo seeks a new home

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Steampunk Vampire

VampireFreaks, an organization best known for hosting a massive social network for the gothic-industrial community, is planning to launch a new steampunk convention next year in Piscataway, New Jersey. Steampunk Con is scheduled for June 7-9, 2019 at the Radisson Piscataway-Somerset, the hotel that previously hosted The Steampunk World’s Fair and C.O.G.S. Expo. The latter event, slated for May 17-19, 2019, is now seeking a new location.

“We’ve been doing event promotions for over 15 years and we plan on bringing some fresh new ideas and new exposure to the steampunk community,” said VampireFreaks founder Jet Berelson in response to an email query.

The new event’s website promises “an interactive Steampunk experience featuring bands, burlesque performers, panels, presentations, dance parties, pool party, vendors and more!”

VampireFreaks also produces Dark Side of the Con, a three-day “Dark Alternative” convention most recently held March 16-18 at the Radisson Piscataway. That event was previously produced in conjunction with Jeff Mach Events (JME), the company behind The Steampunk World’s Fair. VampireFreaks announced on February 6 that it had severed ties with JME in the wake of misconduct allegations against event promoter Jeff Mach. Those allegations, which became public in January, later led to the demise of The Steampunk World’s Fair (see our previous story).

Asked if Steampunk Con would have any involvement by Mach or his former employees, Jet replied that “the new event is solely run by VampireFreaks staff.” Dark Side of the Con “has been going amazingly well and we’ve been getting many requests to do more conventions. This opportunity came up and it felt like a great fit since we have many friends in the steampunk community, we’ve enjoyed attending steampunk events, and the steampunk scene has a lot of roots in the goth scene.”

Dark Side of the Con 3 is scheduled for March 29-31, 2019 at the Sheraton in Parsippany, New Jersey. The first event in 2017 drew about 600 attendees. Dark Side 2 got about 850 attendees, Jet said, and “Dark Side 3 ticket sales are going a lot faster than previous events.”

In addition to Dark Side of the Con, VampireFreaks hosts three “club nights” each month in New York City, Jet said, “plus we do promotions for various concerts and we’ve hosted international music festivals besides Dark Side of the Con, so we’re really in-tune with how to properly run events.”

With all the problems surrounding The Steampunk World’s Fair, “our mission is to build a professional event that is harassment-free, judgment-free, and welcoming of all types of genres, races, sexualities and genders,” he said.

The new event is currently accepting applications for vendors, performers, panel speakers and volunteers. “We do have a few performers confirmed but have not started making announcements yet,” he said.

It will be an “all-ages” convention, but “during the night there will be club events and ‘mature’ panels regarding alternative lifestyles that are not suitable for children,” the website says.

C.O.G.S. Moves On

Meanwhile, the organizers of C.O.G.S. Expo announced on Facebook that they’re now seeking a new venue for next year’s expo, which is slated for May 17-19, 2019. This all-volunteer event was held at the Radisson Piscataway May 4-6 after the collapse of The Steampunk World’s Fair (see our previous story).

“Sunny Chaudhry, General Manager of the Radisson Piscataway-Somerset, has informed the organizers that he is not interested in having the Community-Organized Gathering of Steampunks back next year for C.O.G.S. Expo 2019,” the statement said in part. “While initially disappointed by this news, the organizers of C.O.G.S. see this opportunity to make a clean break from the prior event, and to start making new memories at fresh venue for C.O.G.S. Expo 2019. We are already in negotiations with several possible new venues and will announce the new location as soon as the contracts are signed.”

Photo: Adobe Stock.


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