Image by High Royds Hospital
Image by High Royds Hospital

There’s a lot to do this weekend at the Asylum. What will you do? Along with all other attendees, I’ve received a programme, but maybe you’re not going this year and want to know what’s happening or you may be planning to go next year and want to know what it’s like. Bookmark Steampunk Journal as I’ll be covering the Asylum after the event. I might even update you as it happens.


It all kicks off tomorrow with the “gates” opening at 10am. There are a number of markets open throughout the day and Friday really acts as a preamble for Saturday. There are some notable events taking place, such as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at 4pm in the Main Ballroom. It’s a little like speed dating, except without the dating. You can enjoy tea and cakes and a chin wag until the Mad Hatter calls to change places and you meet a new person to talk to. If you’re here for the first time or looking for some new friends, it’s the perfect opportunity.

The interestingly titled Virgins Meet Up isn’t a place for those longing for the touch of a gentleman or lady, it in fact refers to newcomers to the event. It takes place in the Widow Cullens Well at 5pm until 5.30 and a few Asylum veterans will be there to give information and advice.

Leading us into the evening is Lady Elsie’s Fashion Gala. It starts with a cocktail at 7pm in the Oval Room before moving into the Main Ballroom  to view fashion items on the catwalk.

There are three options for evening entertainment: The most sought after evening is the Major’s Soiree. It seems to be a bizarre cabaret of acts including musicians, comedians and interesting performers. Tickets usually sell quickly, so unless you’re very lucky, you’ll have to go to either the Friday Night Bucket Gig at Westgate Academy from 8pm. This free gig (to wristband wearers) is headlined by Brass Zeppellin. Alternatively, if you’re viewing the aforementioned Fashion Show, Frenchy & The Punk will be performing there after it’s concluded.

copyright Laura Steele. Used here with permission.
copyright Laura Steele. Used here with permission.


Saturday is where it starts. Depending on what type of steampunk you are will depend on where you want to be. The markets will be still happening throughout the day as well as workshops and games. From caring for your steampunk items to learning how to make them, there’s something for everyone. The Ballroom hosts a number of events including Tea Duelling at 1pm and Formal Dance classes at 3pm. Tinkerers will prefer the Tennyson Suite as that is host to the Taming Metal workshop as well as It Works! Form and Function in Steampunk Gadgets.

Bookworms will prefer the Westgate Academy which has a Book Fair including a writing workshop with Sam Stone and Fiction for Younger Steampunks. The Castle is host to a more light hearted approach to the day with the Teddy Bear’s Picnic at 11am, Steam Western at 12 (High Noon) and Nerf Vaders at 1pm. The latter is a type of live action Space Invaders with everyone’s favourite plastic dart gun.

While all this is happening, the Widow Cullen’s Well will be holding Steampunk Table Top Gaming all day. One of the most amusing happenings I want to see is the Gangs of New Lincoln UN-RUMBLE. It’s styled like the Gangs of New York film where they all charge and start fighting. Of course, we’re all jolly nice fellows and will instead shake hands and tip our hats. Turn up at Castle Square, 5pm, and pick a gang.

The evening gives way to the esteemed Empire Ball – another strictly ticket only event. Tickets fly faster than a steam powered Humming Bird, so you’ll be very lucky if you’re attending this year. If you’re on the other side of the door, and you have tickets, Oh Dear, What Would the Major Say? is at Bishop Grossetest University from 8pm. The evening’s entertainment has been dressed up to the Major as a round of folk singing, but is in fact a burlesque and boylesque show!

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any free entertainment on Saturday night, so if you’ve not managed to get tickets, it will be off to the pub with you.

copyright Laura Steele. Used here with permission.
copyright Laura Steele. Used here with permission.


The final day sees more Tea Duelling in the Ballroom as well as an introduction to Bartitsu. I must say, I’ve been to a class of Bartitsu and it’s great fun, so please go along if you have the chance. If fighting isn’t your scene, then at the same time in the Tennyson Suite, Gary Nicholls is giving a talk about his behemoth photography project The Imaginarium.

There’s more writing fun in the Westgate Academy starting with a writing competition at 11am, Weapons in Steampunk Fiction at 12, Confessions of a Writer at 1pm and concluding with The Supernatural in Steampunk Fiction at 2pm.

Also at 2pm over at the Castle, there’s the Wacky Races – a little like the Soapbox Races and that promises to be lots of fun. At 11am in the Castle there’s The Queen’s Parade which is open to anyone wanting to take part as long as you have a flag. The parade is overlooked by Queen Victoria and will finish with a minute’s silence.

Arguably the most interesting thing to happen on Sunday is The Illicit Market. Here small time sellers get to peddle their wares in a market that doesn’t exist. Audible markers signify the start and end before the authorities arrive. Sellers must pay £2 to enter and discretely hide their goods about their person. Buyers are allowed in at around 3.10pm. There are no stalls, tables or furniture, sellers must sell while stood with a customer. Once the closing bell has been sounded, you have 5 minutes to leave. If you take even one second more, you get fined £1. If you leave after 4.10pm then you have to pay £5. There’s no change from the “Piemen” so have the right money.

To add some excitement, there may be a random sound to warn of approaching authorities. In which case, you must remains still and silent until the all clear sounds.

I will most definitely be attending the Illicit Market, if it exists. Which it doesn’t. Certainly not at 3pm in the Assembly Rooms, Bailgate. No.

I will be attempting to update the Journal on Saturday with some photographs of the day, so bookmark the site, like me on Facebook by clicking the button to the left.

If you’re going to be there, look out for me and be sure to say hello.


One thought on “ASYLUM! TOMORROW!

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