Official Programme for Steampunk New Year Released!

(This event is now over – look for details of next year’s NEW YEAR EVENT soon!)

Hot on the heels of the announcement of short stay packages for the Splendid Steampunk New Year event in Leicester, the Victorian Steampunk Society (organisers of the Asylum) are pleased to release the official programme for the event.

Over the three days of the event there will be a whole host of fun activities, workshops, entertainment, celebrations and events to keep everybody smiling and to welcome the New Year in a most splendid way!

Along with the “event of the year” – New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner, and meals in the fabulous Pierre Marco White restaurant, the many activities will include:

  • A trip to the Richard III visitor centre
  • Sari Workshop and fabric shopping
  • War Games & a Games Room
  • Gin & Cheese tasting
  • Maker’s workshop
  • Nerf Gun Modding
  • Dance workshop
  • Bartitsu Demonstration
  • Bodice making workshop
  • Jewellry making
  • Comedy workshop

And a very special Sherlock Evening,  along with old favourites such as Tea Duelling and a Leicester-based Walk with the Spirits (Gin & Ghost Stories!).

Along with the ‘official events’ there will be a number of workshops and talks lead by participants, and impromptu events that the world of steampunk is famous for! (Oh, and that market what never happens – might not happen over the weekend too… but don’t tell no one right? shhh!).

Download New Year Programme (PDF)


Happy New Year Greetings Card




New packages released for Steampunk New Year!

(This event is now over – look for details of next year’s NEW YEAR EVENT soon!)

You asked and we listened… shorter New Year Packages are now available!

Obviously, the best (and most relaxing) way to enjoy our Steampunk New Year is to book for all three nights – that way you won’t miss out on a sackful of splendid activities and entertainment (it is also the most affordable, as we have managed to secure some unbelievable rates from the hotel), but we know that for some families three nights is just not possible.

We have a SMALL number of rooms available for one and two night packages, which will include access to the daytime programmes for the nights you stay.

We have also added NYE Gala Dinner ONLY tickets for our lovely local Leicester-ites to purchase (although the one night package is possibly cheaper than a taxi home on New Year’s Eve!)

One & Two Night Stays

Room Upgrade

2 night ticket (30-31st December or 31st December-1st January)
£190 per person on double occupancy
and £240 on a single occupancy

1 night ticket (31st January)
£120 per person on double occupancy (Double NYE Ticket)
and £170 on a single occupancy (Single NYE Ticket)

The Full Steampunk New Year Experience

Tickets for the full weekend of fun and festivities are still available.

3 night ticket (30th, 31st December and 1st January)
£240 per person on double occupancy
and £350 on a single occupancy

New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner

Kings Hall

It is also possible to book for the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner only
(no accommodation) at £75.00 per person.
(This does not include entry to any daytime events)

Steampunk New Year 2016

(This event is now over – look for details of next year’s NEW YEAR EVENT soon!)

Kings HallThe Victorian Steampunk Society, who run the Asylum, are hosting a very special event to celebrate the New Year in splendid steampunk style.

at the Mercure Leicester, The Grand Hotel

This festive season the Victorian Steampunk Society invite you to join them for a most splendid steampunk New Year celebration. Thanks to football, snooker and King Richard III, the City of Leicester is currently the “place to be”, so who are we to shun the trend?

We have secured exclusive use of the 4* Mercure Leicester, The Grand Hotel – where Victorian charm meets modern comfort in Leicester city centre. Here you can see in the New Year in splendid steampunk style, from the 30th December 2016 – 2nd January 2017.

Included in your package is:

  • Gala New Year’s Eve dinner in the historic King’s Hall
  • Dinner and Breakfast in Marco Pierre White restaurant
  • Exclusive use of the recently refurbished 4* Mercure Grand Hotel
  • Full programme of daytime events
  • Entry to the Richard III Visitor Centre
  • Guided walk of the historic City Centre
  • All entertainment

“This fine Victorian building is right in the city centre and has been modernised to create a stylish hotel with reasonably priced rooms. Wireless internet and satellite TV are available. There is also a cosy lounge bar and restaurant”The Times Newspaper.

Check in to Victorian elegance in a vibrant central location at the Mercure Leicester The Grand Hotel.  Just two minutes away from the newly regenerated Cultural Quarter.

Your classic room, combining Victorian details with modern décor, features a flat-screen TV and complimentary high speed WiFi. In Privilege and Superior rooms you can enjoy a Nespresso coffee machine, newspaper, robe and slippers.

Room Upgrade

3 night ticket (30th, 31st December and 1st January)
£240 per person on double occupancy
and £350 on a single occupancy


Gala New Year’s Eve Dinner Menu

Kings Hall 2

Salmon gravlax,
potato & dill salad, dressed watercress

Chicken liver parfait, pancetta wrapped baked fig,
maple dressing, toasted walnut bread

Beetroot & butternut squash salad,
toasted hazelnuts, bramble dressing (v)


Roast fillet of beef,
potato Dauphinoise, honey glazed root vegetables,
buttered kale, red wine & shallot

Grilled fillet of turbot,
creamed spinach, herb potato puree, lemon & caper butter

Roasted vegetable & goats’ cheese Wellington,
tarragon cream sauce (v)


Lemon meringue posset,
glazed lemon tart, white chocolate shortbread


Selection of British cheeses,
crackers, celery, grapes & chutney


Coffee & petits fours

It’s WAR!

A Very Civil War


“A VERY CIVIL WAR” offers everything one could want from a political process: an unhelpfully worded referendum, ballots, campaigning, passion, corruption, universal suffrage (for anyone who can present a valid VOTER REGISTRATION card to Event Control at Westgate Academy, Lincoln from 26th to the 28th August 2016), hyperbole, tiny ID cards in which Doctor Geof will draw your face, as well as a plethora of fantastical campaign artwork by the mischievous instigator, topped off by the overwhelming suspicion that whatever the result is it won’t fix anything, whatsoever.

Created as a  mockery of referenda, “A VERY CIVIL WAR” is a large-scale interactive art piece. Like much of Doctor Geof’s work it is a light-hearted take on a more serious issue, designed to stimulate discussion whilst also bringing fun and humour to participants.

Like much of Doctor Geof’s work it also involves tea.

There will also be a rally on Sunday in the Castle at 4pm

To find out where Dr Geof is during the weekend he has kindly provided us with the GEOF-LOCATOR-TRON 5000 which we have installed below…

Geof-locator-tron 5000

Steam Powered Giraffe make their UK debut at Asylum!

…an unnamed source today confirmed that the Asylum Steampunk Festival will this year be hosting Steam Powered Giraffe for their UK debut.

Speaking from around a paw sticky with honey he revealed that Steam Powered Giraffe will be headlining features in a new dedicated music venue at the UK’s most popular steampunk festival.

We’ve been allowed a quick peek at the projected line-up and there will be a truly stellar display of bands and performers at this year’s event, with some big names, some new names and some old favourites too.

More than a band. More than a show.
Step into the world of Steam Powered Giraffe.

Steam Powered Giraffe is a musical project from San Diego, California. It was formed in 2008 by twin siblings David Michael Bennett and Isabella “Bunny” Bennett. Together, along with performer/artist Samuel Luke and a cast and crew filled with theatrical backgrounds, the group takes on the guise of singing antique automatons and the fictional robotics company that made them.

The quirky act combines comedic sketches, improvised android banter, and original music fused with multimedia visuals, billowing steam effects, and robot pantomime.

From their heartwarming nostalgic melodies to their funky cabaret rock, Steam Powered Giraffe’s songs are memorable, infectious, and as unique as the robots themselves.


Steam Powered Giraffe will be taking part in a variety of events over the course of the Festival including the evening events; The Eighth Annual Empire Ball and the Time Travellers

Steam Powered Giraffe

What to do about Weapons

Steampunks with amazing weapons

We accept and recognise that fantastic weapons are a big part of the steampunk genre and we are always delighted and amazed by the creativity involved in people’s accessories – of all kinds.

Please note however that we do not condone, encourage or want you to break the law in any way, shape or form and advise you most strongly to ensure that you carry, wear and display any weaponry in an acceptable and safe way.

We suggest that all weapons are transported to and from the event in a suitable bag, case or cover. When not in use we advise you to lock your weaponry in your car/accommodation etc. Please be aware that even replica weapons can cause alarm in a public place and take care to display them only when and where appropriate.

Large weapons

We apologise but would ask that you do not wear large live role play/latex type weapons (e.g. swords and axes) as part of your outfit. You may be asked to return these to your vehicle/accommodation. This is due to access issues primarily. Very large items can cause accidents in busy areas or in enclosed spaces.

The Empire Ball

We ask that no weapons at all be brought to the Empire Ball. This is a social event and weaponry would be inappropriate. The best place for displaying weaponry is during the day on Saturday and we are happy to accept submissions of your steampunk’ed items for The Great Exhibition.


Any item for sale must meet UK legal requirements with regards to weapons and replica weapons. We particularly draw your attention to the law with regard to the sale of knives and the Violent Crime Reduction Act as it relates to replica and reproduction weapons and derivatives thereof.

Photography at the Asylum

As a community we are very much aware that photographers find steampunks very photogenic, indeed, camera clubs often organise trips to steampunk events. Whilst the vast majority are respectful and considerate, there always seems to be a few that occasionally fail to follow common courtesy.

Robert RankinIn this post we are going to look at some guidelines to help steampunks who find photography sometimes a little intrusive, and offer some recommendations for dealing with photographers.

If you are a photographer coming to the Asylum Steampunk Festival, then we hope you will read this post to get an appreciation of how to approach steampunks when wanting to take a photograph, and we offer a few simple guidelines to get the best out of any photo opportunities.

And then, of course, there are a number of you attending the Asylum who are both steampunks and photographers!

Photography in the Street

If you are on the streets of Lincoln, photographers can take a photograph of you without consent. You have no legal right not to be photographed. A lot of paparazzi style photography is done in this way, using long lenses and often taking photos while the recipient is unaware to try and capture that candid moment.

If you spot a photographer taking candid shots of you on the street, then you can approach them and ask them politely to remove any images you are in – explaining that you don’t want to be photographed. Whether the photographer complies with your request will be up to the individual. We suggest keeping it polite rather than insisting that they delete your image. LM CookeThe photographer doesn’t have to do it if you are on the public highway, but if you are civil then they may be more amenable to removing any images that you deem to be unsuitable.

Photographing children is a completely different matter and I would urge you to look up relevant legislation if you are going to have kids with you.


Photography in the Castle

If you are in the Castle grounds, it is not on the public highway, so different rules apply, you are well within your rights to ask for photos to be deleted. Photographers should ask prior to taking any photos of you or your party.

If you do not want your photo taken then a simple ‘no thank you’ should suffice.

If they are insistent and continue to take photos, turn your back on them. Don’t give them an opportunity. You can mention the protection from harassment act 1997. If you continue to feel harassed by a photographer, try to find an official from the Castle or an Asylum steward. Photographer’s who are harassing members of the public (steampunks or otherwise) can be asked to leave the area.


We do know that for many steampunks being photographed in their awesome outfits is something they enjoy and they will happily pose for photos. So if you don’t mind your photo being taken, when a photographer approaches you, ask for their business card and also what Professor Elementalthey are planning on doing with the images afterwards. Remember, that if they are going to be selling the photo, then you are effectively an unpaid model. Once you’ve given your consent, they can pretty much do with it what they like. Always exchange details before any photos are taken.

Professional photographers and press photographers may ask you to sign a consent form and take some details from you – again this is entirely voluntary, and always read any forms before you sign.

Some basic safety precautions.

Don’t be led away from your party alone. If the photographer wants to take photos with a more photogenic backdrop, take someone with you.

The session is over when you say it is. If you become uncomfortable at any time, just tell them that you need to get back to the festival. Remember to always be safe!

A Guide for Photographers

We understand you want to get that one perfect shot, but you won’t achieve that with reluctant models and a hostile community. It’s quite simple – be polite and respect a person’s wishes. Many steampunks love being photographed – but many do not. Many like the attention; but again, an equal number find it annoying. As long as you ask politely, those who are inclined to let you photograph them will most likely do so, and those who refuse should not be offended.
Also, please remember that steampunks are not paid models, you do not get to order them around just to get the right angle.

  • Do ask politely
  • Do explain what the images will be used for and offer contact details
  • Respect the individual’s wishes
  • Remember steampunks are not paid models
  •  “No” means no

There are some fantastic photo opportunities offered by the festival, and if you are polite and respectful, that will continue to be the case. Buying a Festival Wristband will allow you into the different venues and you will be supporting the Asylum Steampunk Festival so it continues to be a spectacle worth photographing.

Lastly, it’s a steampunk festival – why not consider becoming part of the community yourself!

The Morgan Family

The Great Exhibition – Call for Exhibits!

Calling for exhibits from splendid steampunk makers and artists everywhere!

Each year we hold The Great Exhibition. It is a magnificent exhibition of original 2D and 3D artwork of all types produced by attendees.  A splendid celebration of Steampunk creativity, originality and eccentricity.

So please consider whether you have anything you would like to exhibit.

If you have a piece that has not been exhibited anywhere else before, then it is eligible to enter the Asylum Awards.

Anything you have created at any time and exhibited anywhere, may also be exhibited, but will not be eligible for the awards. (Mainly because judging is completely anonymous and previously exhibited items may be able to be identified).

So whether it is something new or something you want to exhibit that has previously been made public, come along and help build the greatest of great exhibitions.

Go to The Great Exhibition page for full details.

Your Asylum Needs You!

Steampunk Kitchener Poster

We need YOU! Yes YOU!

We have some amazing events over the Bank Holiday Weekend, but many of them wouldn’t happen (indeed many of them wouldn’t have been invented) without the amazing participation of splendid steampunks!

We have three events in the Castle where we are looking for wristband holders to take part, please follow the bold links and fill out an entry form. They are all ideal for reckless eccentrics and the splendidly mad!

The Flying Display is a mad idea that started in 2014, when a few mad souls gave a display of ‘low altitude flying’. Now the event is open to all-comers – you can have a team entry or perform solo aerobatics. Other than insanity, there are really no great requirements for this one, although flying helmets and parachutes may be wise for safety’s sake! We would love to have some international teams for this.

The Jet Pack Race is for anyone with any kind of jetpack or wings or any other means of ‘flying’. (We’d like to point out that leaving the ground at any point is NOT required!)

The Wacky Races is for anyone with a steampunk vehicle of any sort, and believe me, the definition of vehicle is an incredibly loose one!

Always remember that it is not the winning that is important, it is how splendidly you can take part!

What is Steampunk?

Well to begin with let’s clear up the name. “Steampunk” started as a joke. There was a movement in science fiction to write in a genre known as “Cyberpunk”. When various writers began exploring similar concepts and ideas but setting them in a pseudo Victorian world the term steampunk was jokingly coined. The name stuck but even steampunks are constantly debating “well what is steampunk?” Like all communities however steampunk has grown and developed a life of its own.

More SteampunksA Diverse Community

Steampunk now encompasses a wide variety of input from a highly creative and artistic community. It includes writers, musicians, dancers, sculptors, model makers, costume makers and a host of other disciplines and skills.  It has been summed up as; “Well can you imagine what things would be like if the Great Exhibition had never finished?”

Traditional Values

Two SteampunksSteampunks try to take some of the very best parts of the past and make them part of a bright future.  We value good manners and polite conduct and try to encourage this by setting an example for others. We think things should be made to a high quality and to last thus helping the environment. We value and encourage creativity and have been asked to collaborate in educational and arts projects across the country.


Steampunmk Catwoman and BatmanAll-inclusive

Whilst things are set in a pseudo-historical world which harks back to our Victorian heritage we do not promote any of the inequalities of that past. Indeed ours is deliberately an all inclusive community. You will find steampunks of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds. We also come from all walks of life from students to academics and from comedians to solicitors.

Polite Rebels!

Can you still call it steam-PUNK?  Punk in the seventies was a rebellion against contemporary society.  We are most definitely rebelling but we are making a stand against: throwaway society, poor manners and antisocial behaviour, homogenisation and commercialism.  More SteampunksWe are punks who are polite, friendly, care about the environment and the past and encourage creativity.

The DIY ethic is very strong in steampunk. With creativity being the main common denominator this is hardly surprising. It also fits in with our philosophy on sustainability, durability and craftsmanship. It is more environmentally friendly to take an object and repurpose it giving it a whole new lease of life than to recycle it.

Steampunk with WingsA Maker Culture

Steampunks often make or modify everyday objects to fit the neo-Victorian aesthetic. This could be making a wood and brass cabinet for your PC or a mock raygun suitable for an adventure with Jules Verne.

Steampunk started as a science fiction genre but it is now a community and has its own fashions, music and tastes. We are a community that enjoys socialising, often dressing in distinctive steampunk fashions. We visit historical sites as well as enjoying music gigs and performances.

Two more steampunksWith a Warm Welcome to Newcomers

We welcome the “Steam-curious” – say hello, ask questions – there are no barriers to steampunk – and frighteningly for some, no rules about what exactly steampunk is.

For many of us, two words have come to sum up what we aspire to as a steampunk community; Be Splendid!

Europe's biggest and longest running Steampunk festival