Festival Steamfest (Bundamba, QLD)

3 August 2013 at Bundamba Racecourse

'If only I had thought of a Kodak! I could have flashed that glimpse of the Under-world in a second, and examined it at leisure.'
– H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

…Oh but I did have a Ko…Nokia and managed to capture some of the visual feast that was Steamfest 2013. Probably the weather wasn't conducive to what is normally a gloomily atmospheric celebration of this subculture, reminiscent of industrial age England. 'Sunny Queensland' lived up to its name and the corsetry, suits and top hats looked awesome but cloyingly uncomfortable in the midday heat.

Probably also, a racecourse wasn't the place to create mood, though the adjacent rail meant punters could enjoy a short steam rail journey that was true to the time they were attempting to re create and remember. A 'ticket' to travel was gained by donating a gold coin, and the experience was worth much more than the small change we dropped in the bucket.

Excitement prevailed for those who enjoy enticements of the shopping kind. Home and online businesses, had an outlet to tout their goods and came together to assist the steampunk novice with dressing and accessorizing. Seasoned steampunk aficionados had the opportunity to top up their wardrobes, though there were many who had whipped out the most glorious outfits. Onlookers could only gawp at the intricate styling and overall effect of these dedicated followers of Victorian fashion.

Mechanical novelties in bronze and copper entertained and delighted. A clockwork parrot that responded to voice command was a highlight, along with what looked like the time machine from the film of the same name. There could have been more 'free' entertainment like this, but what was there certainly was intriguing.

Probably the best part of the event was the stage, which hosted a number of bands of the symphonic and gothic metal ilk. Unwoman played an impressive electric cello, which told of her strong classical music background and influence. Starboy drew the biggest crowd of the day. They're known well by the steampunk crew, but should be played more widely because of their engaging vocals and instrumentals. They are a true aural treat.

It seems that the event wasn't well attended, that it was expensive to conduct business there and that there should have been more attractions and a larger variety of food, but the visual and aural candy was good. There would be many attendees who would go again, and perhaps more punters buying tickets next time if the organizers can take the best from this effort and tidy up what was lacking. What we glimpsed of the under-world though, looked very promising and hopefully this will become a bigger and better event in future…or is that past?

Line-up: Unwoman, Starboy

Reviewer: Sharon Brookes