It is with an enormous sense of disappointment and genuine sorrow that I have to inform you that we cannot run an Asylum Steampunk festival this year (2021).
The road to this point has been extremely challenging.
COVID has obviously impacted every activity on the planet but we have striven throughout to work for the steampunk community.
We managed in 2020 to offer the only major steampunk event of the year, Sanctuary I, in the face of massive adversity.
This year we were delighted to see so many happy faces at Sanctuary II in May. This buoyed us up and kept us working towards an Asylum even though we were instructed that the safety people of Lincoln felt it was unwise for us to go ahead and set some major obstacles in our way.
Unbowed we built new relationships in Newark and have made some great new friends who are keen to support us. We created what should have been an amazing steampunk festival whilst still maintaining our unflinching focus on your safety. Sadly circumstances entirely outside our control began to strike. Asbestos in the Palace Theatre took a stunning venue off the agenda and then there was a totally unexpected bombshell. Kelham Hall Ltd was forced into Liquidation. This happened as we were running another event and so we were ourselves away and out of action in Shropshire.
Alongside this we have faced a bewildering campaign of shameful toxicity and venom through social media and within a community that generally prides itself on being positive, inclusive and encouraging.
We have had just nine working days to try to save the festival. We looked at lots of possibilities and have been knocked back every time. Suggestions, offers of help, ideas and encouragement aplenty but even with literally hundreds of emails and phone calls almost daily trips to Newark and Lincoln, meetings on zoom and in real life it became evident we could not secure an alternative safe space suitable for gaining the correct approvals to run the event for you.
We finally managed to contact and meet with the directors of the company managing Kelham and petitioned them to allow us to go ahead (with us paying our way of course). They were in a position to make a huge positive gesture to both the steampunk community and the people of Newark and Sherwood. Sadly they did not feel that this was appropriate for them. They seemed very concerned about how allowing us to go ahead would lead to disappointed brides complaining and so our application was turned down. We therefore have no option but to cancel the Asylum steampunk festival in Newark this year. We are very sorry.
We will be refunding all tickets purchased for this year over the next few weeks. Any indomitable tickets transferred will be reinstated for the next Asylum in Lincoln. You don’t need to do anything or contact us but it may take up to twenty eight days to complete all of the transactions. Sorry we are volunteers doing this in our free time. These demands on our private lives have been overwhelming.
There is a possibility that we may still be able to arrange some features for you in Newark. We will be making investigations and canvassing to see if this is what you need. These would generally be free during the daytime and we are considering some evening features too. This would be not be the Asylum but would still serve to show our determination to be a positive contributor to Newark and may ease the disappointment just a little.
Sincere thanks for the amazing support and encouragement we have received. Literally thousands of messages of goodwill have been received with other heartwarming gestures too. These have kept us going when we have felt like throwing in the towel. We are sad that we cannot run our flagship event but we are most definitely not giving up. We have the Town That Never Was at Blists Hill in less than a week and other events unfolding over the rest of this year and into 2022. The Ministry of Steampunk is learning, evolving and changing so that we can robustly face challenges that arise for future events and we can continue to grow and develop by offering the very best steampunk events in the World. If you want to join us on this ride through creativity and imagination then we look forward to seeing your smiles somewhere soon.
We have some upcoming announcements of plans through the rest of the year and developments for existing events along with some amazing new events for next year. In the meantime please stay safe and thank you for your support and patience.