Brass Screw Consortium Leads Big Weekend for West Coast Steampunks
Tactical Croquet at the Brass Screw festival.
Monday, June 13, 2022
The steampunk calendar is tilting westward this weekend in the U.S., as the Brass Screw Consortium Steampunk Festival takes place in Port Townsend, Washington along with events in Northern and Southern California.
The Brass Screw Consortium Steampunk Festival
Abney Park will be the musical headliner as this festival returns with a new name to historic Port Townsend, Washington.
Last held in 2019, the event will have a post-apocalyptic theme with a program that includes a vendor bazaar, fashion show, scavenger hunt, tea dueling, lectures, and the Bodgers’ Grand Exhibition showcasing maker projects. It happens June 17-19 at multiple locations in the city’s downtown.
Abney Park will take the stage for Saturday night’s Steampunk Hootenanny, with Hot Damned Scandal as the opening act. The latter, hailing from Bellingham, Washington, describe their sound as “outlaw ballads, dirty jazz, circus freakouts, shanty-rags, string band funk, lonesome heart-breakers, and whiskey bottle love songs [that] blend together in a sweet song syrup somewhere between a ramble and a roar.”
The weekend entertainment also includes the Den of Iniquities variety show on Friday night with modern folk music from The Shift along with circus performers Pop-Up Movement and the neo-burlesque troupe Sky Dancers.
Other guests include Lord and Lady Towers, who will preside over Nerf dueling in addition to the first-ever public presentation of Escapement Point, their new kinetic sculpture.
Battleground Productions will present the Pacific Northwest premiere of Nightmoor Manor, their gothic video series. Sunday’s activities include Tactical Croquet, a tournament that combines miniature golf and croquet with Alice in Wonderland characters.
The event was previously known as the Brass Screw Confederacy festival, but the organizers changed the name in 2020 to avoid association with the Confederate States of America. The move followed the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
Tickets cost $65 for a basic weekend pass or $90 for a pass that includes the Hootenanny. Online sales end on June 16.
Captain Robert and the Abney Park crew will be logging a lot of airship miles this weekend, as they’re also set to perform live on Friday, June 17 at Faerieworlds in Eugene, Oregon. If you can’t make either show, they’ll be presenting the latest in a series of live streaming concerts on Saturday, June 25.
Weed Steampunk Festival
This free steampunk festival takes place June 18 and 19 in downtown Weed, California, near Mount Shasta in the far north of the state. Activities on both days include live music and steampunk vendors. In addition, the organizers will host a costume contest on Saturday and a gadget contest on Sunday.
Sunday will also feature the Rat Rod and Specialty Car Show and Contest. Per Dictionary.com, a “rat rod is a custom car with a deliberately worn-down, unfinished appearance, typically lacking paint, showing rust, and made from cheap or cast-off parts.” That would seem like a good fit for a steampunk gathering.
The festival is presented by the Weed Chamber of Commerce. It was originally scheduled for May 21 and 22. Though this is the inaugural event, it appears to be a replacement for the Steampunk Dunsmuir Festival, which was held in Fall 2019 in Dunsmuir, about 17 miles away.
In case you’re wondering, the city’s name is not derived from a certain psychoactive plant known to grow in the region. It’s named for 19th century businessman Abner Weed, who owned much of the property on which the city now stands.
Idyllwild Western Steampunk Symposium
This Old West-themed steampunk gathering is set for June 17-19 in Idyllwild, a Southern California mountain resort near Palm Springs. Activities include live entertainment, games, tea dueling, panels, make-and-take workshops, and artisan vendors.
It all happens at the outdoor Butterfield Amphitheater, 54201 Ridgeview Drive below the Idyllwild Community Center Playground. The address is also listed as 26184 Calif. Route 243.
Adult tickets cost $15 for a one-day pass or $40 for a weekend pass. Discounts are available for military, first responders, seniors (65+), and teens 13-17. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free.