A Steampunk Fest in North Texas
It’s “kind of like a Renaissance festival, but set in the steampunk genre,” an organizer says
Singer/songwriter Aurelio Voltaire will be the headliner as Steampunk November returns Nov. 9-11 to the Amber Inn Academy of Arts in Mansfield, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth. The program will feature live music, magic, belly dancing, circus acts, and a neo-burlesque performance. It’s held mostly outdoors on multiple stages.
“We are a music and arts festival, kind of like a Renaissance festival, but set in the steampunk genre,” explains Leslie Richmond, who runs the event with husband Shane and other family members. “There are no panels or that sort of thing. Just a lot of entertainment, shopping, and fun.”
This is the eighth year for the event, making it the longest-running steampunk festival in Texas, Richmond says.
Voltaire describes his music “as a collection of murder ballads, tongue-in-cheek exercises in the macabre, with just enough bawdy songs about Star Trek and Star Wars to keep a convention audience rolling in the aisles.” He’s also an animation artist and toymaker. His YouTube channel has nearly 120,000 subscribers. At Steampunk November, he’ll be performing on Saturday night, Nov. 10.
Appearing on Friday night will be The Lollie Bombs, described as “the longest-running neo-burlesque troupe in North Texas.”
Most of the other performers will appear all three days. They include:
• Cirque La Vie, a Houston-based circus troupe.
• Durian Grey, a steampunk and neo-Victorian theatrical performance group.
• League of Eccentric Souls, a dance and theatrical performance group whose styles include steampunk.
• Dr. Judas Lynch & Ms. Magnolia Strange, described as “a husband and wife team of escape artists and circus performers.”
• Irish Blind, a five-piece band that plays “Dark Americana and Rocked up Folk tunes.”
• Poppy Xander, a keyboardist and vocalist whose music ranges “from classical themes to crowd-pleasing polkas, rock, and Rhodes powered waltzes.”
• Tobias the Adequate, who describes himself as a “Philosopher, Performer, Hack Magician, [and] Bombastic Goofball.” He’ll be presenting multiple performances of “Professor Tobias’s Artisanal Gibberish” and “Professor Tobias’s Medicine, Miracle and Wonder Show.”
• The Spacecorps, billed as a “group of time traveling rock and rollers zapped from the future into our past.”
• Seadog Slam, described as “piratical purveyors of poems and naughty songs.”
• Sombati, which describes its music as a combination of Middle Eastern, Central & Western European, Celtic, Latin, folk, cabaret, and Americana styles.
A complete list of performers is on the website.
Also on tap are a beer tasting on Friday and a wine tasting and afternoon tea on Saturday. Tea dueling is scheduled for Sunday. These take place at the indoor Events Hall. The beer and wine tastings are premium ticketed events and slots are limited.
Steampunk costumes are encouraged but not required. “If people are seeking costumes we have several vendors selling all kinds of clothing and accessories,” Richmond says. In all, more than 60 vendors will on hand. Food trucks will also be onsite.
The festival has a permanent TARDIS for photo ops, as well as “the classic ‘face in hole’ style photo op with a carnival theme set up,” she says. “Both of these are free for our attendees to use.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring canned food and monetary donations for the annual Gears of Giving food drive, which benefits the Tarrant Area Food Bank. If you bring at least five canned goods, you’ll get $5 off the festival ticket price.
Last year’s Steampunk November drew more than 1800 attendees, she says, and “based on our consistent growth over the past years, we are estimating turnstiles to be around 2300-2500 this year.” Most are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, “but we get people from all over Texas and some travel from all over the country.”
A variety of ticket packages are available, including a weekend pass ($35), two-day pass ($30) and day passes for Friday ($20), Saturday ($25) and Sunday ($25).
On-site camping is available, and the organizers have arranged for room discounts at local hotels. See the accommodations page for details.
All photos except Aurelio Voltaire are by Paula Ward. They are from past events and used by permission of Steampunk November. The publicity photo of Aurelio Voltaire is used by permission of Steampunk November.
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