Leeds Steampunk Market was the very first actual steampunk event I ever went to back in 2013 when I had just got Steampunk Journal rolling. What I encountered there was some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the community. Back then it was run solely by Jo Neal and she was gracious enough to allow me to interview her for the Journal. Now, as Jo Burgoyne-Neal, she jointly runs the event with her husband Si. He’s more famously known as Captain Cumberpatch from Captain Cumberpatch’s Curious Creations. He’s been a regular trader around the area for several years and is a well known and welcome face in the local steampunk community.
Over the past few years, they’ve slowly built the Leeds Steampunk Market into something more. It’s interesting to see how they work things, actually. Instead of taking the “all in” approach to events with day time markets, entertainment and evening gig, they tend to keep it a lot more simple. In the interview, Jo said that she wanted to keep things separate so people didn’t have to worry about buying tickets. Which would free up disposal income for spending with the traders. Jo and Si cherish the traders and they’ve developed special relationships with them that promotes loyalty on both sides.
The last time I managed to get to a LSM meeting, it was held at the Thackray Museum. I also did a spot of photography for them at one of the Armley Mill events. Since then, they’ve evolved and expanded the event to include Bradford and surrounding West Yorkshire areas. Now called the Leeds & Bradford Steampunk Market, it still maintains the integrity and ideals that Jo talked about nearly five years ago.
It’s not just the dedication to the traders that keeps LSM as an event to continue returning to. Jo & Si are openly particular on the rules surrounding licencing and insurance. This has the advantage of bringing peace of mind to both potential new traders and consumers alike.
As well as shopping, you can expect the occasional game to play or film to watch. Armley Mill has a working cinema. Jo & Si regularly put vintage films on if you want to get away from the crowd for a bit. Should you wish to do the opposite and get more involved, they have displays such as Bartitsu or Birds of Prey and their growing attraction of Coffee Jousting.
Tea Duelling is arguably the most well-known and played sport in steampunk. It was conceived – in part – by Dr Geof, who was also one of the early organisers of LSM. Coffee Jousting differs from Tea Duelling in more than one way. It’s not just a change of hot drink:
- We have Coffee, not Tea – There’s no set rules on the type of coffee just yet, maybe that will be something introduced at a later date. For example, does freeze-dried give a different effect to percolated or any prepared by a barista?
- No milk to be added as it will affect the temperature – Professionals make coffee to the perfect temperature so this is an option if you have the means.
- Served in mugs not cups and saucers – Coffee Jousting has been described as made for “The Working Man’s Steampunk” so it’s served in big mugs. These should ideally be provided by the organisers.
- Biscuit to be used is the very delicate”Nice” biscuits – Different countries may wish to decide upon a different type of biscuit, but the Nice biscuits are crispy and covered in sugar.
- Biscuit is to be dunked in your opponent’s mug, not your own – The competition is then all the more dicey and, especially, silly.
- Held for count of 3 not 5 – You don’t want to wait around forever waiting for the biscuit to fall off.
- No chairs to sit on, you remain standing – Reaching over and using someone else’s mug of coffee is easier done when standing as the lean in isn’t blocked by the table.
It’s worth noting that should you require a chair due to a disability, for example, then you will be allowed to use one. The idea for standing originally came from someone who had trouble sitting due to mobility problems.
The May event in 2018 is the 30th event as Leeds & Bradford Steampunk Market. Every market has a charity stand and in May it’s Special Autism Services (formerly known as SACAR). It was established in 1999 in Bradford due to increasing demands from parents/carers of people with autism. They are a non-profit organisation that works for and with adults on the autism spectrum across Yorkshire, spreading autism awareness nationally. They make a positive difference to the lives of our members and through person-centred support we create opportunities for people to build confidence, develop social skills, increase independence and fulfil their potential.
According to the LSM website, at each event they give a free pitch to a relevant or local charity/good cause. All the traders donate something to a tombola to raise money. In fact I won a gorgeous heart shaped brass locket that I still wear. So far, they have facilitated £3,159.74 being raised and helped sixteen different charities and causes.
It’s really nice to see Leeds Steampunk Market doing so well. As one of the first dedicated steampunk events that I visited, I hold a special light for it. I plan to get up there for the May date as it’s their first three day event. If you’re looking to visit as well, it’s on the May Day bank holiday weekend Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th and Monday 7th May 2018.
It will be held at:
Bradford Industrial Museum, Moorside Mills, Moorside Road, Bradford BD2 3HP. Entry is free.
For additional information, including the weapons policy which should definitely be read, you can visit the Leeds & Bradford Steampunk Market website by clicking this text.