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MoS Proclaims ‘Cautious Optimism’ About Asylum Steampunk Festival

Friday, February 12, 2021
Sanctuary Cosplayers
Photo: Diana Clark

The Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln, UK is the largest steampunk gathering on Planet Earth, but with COVID-19 still raging, what are the prospects for this year? In video comments on Facebook Live, festival director John Naylor expressed cautious optimism about staging an event in August, but warned that “it’s not a guarantee. We can’t say it’s definitely going on.”

The festival is produced by the Ministry of Steampunk, which also puts on smaller events, and here, too, he was hopeful. He’d like to return to Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, which he described as “a venue that’s made for steampunk.” It also has the advantage of being mostly outdoors, he said.

He’d also like to do another event at Kelham Hall & Country Park near Newark, which was the site of last year’s socially distanced Sanctuary festival. It was one of the few in-person steampunk gatherings held during the pandemic, but he said it provided a model for public safety. “We were able to not only run an event for our community, but run an event that was then held up and celebrated by the local authority and the medical people involved,” he said.

Naylor has a day job with The Nexus, a film and TV production studio in Sheffield, and the Ministry of Steampunk has moved its offices into the facility as a cost-saving measure. He sees this as a possible venue for smaller indoor events.

All plans are tentative, and he advised steampunk fans to stay tuned for future announcements. “Let’s come out of this pandemic and ultimately think creativity couldn’t be killed by a virus,” he said.

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