Steampunk Extraordinarium 2017
Hello everyone. This weekend Mr A and myself put on our steampunk clobber and headed off to deepest darkest Wales for the annual Steampunk Extraordinarium at Blaenarvon Ironworks.
Set in the Welsh valleys, the Ironworks is worth a visit in its own right. Along the Big Pit coal museum, Heritage Centre, Blaenarvon Heritage Railway and the surrounding countryside, the ironworks make up the Blaenaevon World Heritage Site.
It is a free entry site, so great for families watching their pennies. Visitors can explore the best preserved 18th century ironworks in the world.
The workers cottages show how the iron workers and their families would have lived. Each cottage depicting a different period in time from the 1700’s right up till the 1960’s.
The Wee Crafty Folk
The event is organised by a group of collectively known as The Wee Crafty Folk. To quote their Facebook page –
“We are artists, crafters, actors, entertainers, steampunks, faeries, wytches, wyrdo’s, hippies, teachers, healers, readers, believers, geeks, freaks, designers, bakers & makers!”
They hold fayres every month in various locations in the valleys. Their philosophy is to create events that are entertaining, interactive and friendly. This sign at the entrance to the Ironworks sums them up perfectly.
It would be impossible to introduce the Wee Crafty Folk properly without mentioning their founder Charlotte.
Charlotte is an artist who creates the most amazing items out of recycled materials (check out her latest makes on her Facebook page Charlartcrafts). She was also the controller of mayhem over the weekend, ensuring everything ran smoothly.
Steampunk Extraordinarium – Daytime
Mr A and I arrived at Blaenarvon just before 2pm. We timed this carefully because we wanted to catch The Wee Crafty Folks afternoon pantomime. The panto is based around the adventures of the airships Maximillian (the good guys) and the Wolfsberg (the bad guys) and their crews. There are jokes, songs and dancing with plenty of room for audience participation.
Following the pantomime there was a range of steampunk and other musical acts on stage in the shed. The other shed contained a steampunk market where you could purchase all manner of steampunk crafts, hats, jewelery and other delights.
There were more stalls outside selling more crafts, food and steampunk clothes and accessories. The fabulous Historical Habidashers were there and they were very pleased to see Mr A sporting the gorgeous waistcoat that I bought from them for his birthday.
And the lovely Jaunty And Rakish whom I bought this fabulous feathered hat band from.
There were also a number of awesome steampunk vans and caravans in display such as the teardrop caravan I featured in My Sunday Photo post.
For the kids there was crafts, face painting and circus skills lessons.
Saturday Night – Saucy Shenanigans Show
The days events came to a halt at 5pm. From 6pm the entertainment took a slightly more adult theme and was ticket only. The tickets cost a mere £10 per person. Mr A and myself considered this very good value for money as there was 7 acts performing, some of whom are quite famous within the steampunk community.
These were our favourite acts of the evening.
The evening entertainment started off with a second pantomime from the wee crafty folk. Similar in theme to the afternoons event but a little bit naughtier. This fabulous lady(?) was one of the performers.
Paul Snook and his Retro Band
I saw Paul Snook for the first time a year ago at Blaenarvon. He had the most amazing animatronic backing band playing with him on stage last year.
This year the band stayed outside in their specially converted caravan.
On stage this year Paul was joined by his Retro Band.
You may be thinking he is on his own there, but look a little closer. The Retro Band live in the photo frames. Introducing Paul Snook on drums, Paul Snook on double base and Paul Snook on keyboards.
What is not obvious from the photo is the fact that the pictures were Harry Potter style magic and the musicians within them moved to play along with Paul.
Montague Jacques Fromage
Montague Jacques Fromage is an american steampunk and probably the most famous person I know. He performs in steampunk events all over the world including America, Canada, New Zealand, and Belgium. So it is a real treat to have him at Blaenarvon. He has a well-earned reputation for wearing the most amazing steampunk outfits and for having an eye for the ladies.
Monty’s act is known as Steampunk Funk a delightful mix of song and rap. Audience participation is encouraged with both singing and dancing.
We had a brilliant day at Blaenarvon, and are very much looking forward to doing it all again next year.
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