So, there is a secret meeting held at one of the Libraries in Salt Lake where a covert conglomeration of individuals is planning for a Steampunk Festival in Salt Lake City. I am planning on showing up in full Damsel regalia with all of my ideas and opinions for how to do a steampunk show, but I do need to collect my thoughts first, so I'm doing it here. Here are the elements to my dream steam show!
*First off, it might help to actually TELL people about it! Come on! We live in the golden age of social network marketing! Get the show OUT there so you can get people TO YOU! I'm always enraged when I'm at a festival nicely lacing up a lady who is extolling the wonders of an upcoming steampunk of which I know not! Friends, I cannot BEGIN to illustrate unto you the countless hours I have spent searching for events that have the appropriate characteristics to encourage me to vend there. POST your events to freaking forums, blogs, livejournals, facebook, EVERYTHING!
*SWAG BAGS. Yes, I said it. This is the most awesome idea ever! People could purchase normal tickets or PREMIUM tickets which included ACTUAL good swag. Here's what you do!
- Get every single vendor to put a sweet coupon, business card, or catalog into the bag (coupons for the show are the best!). Get little booklets printed that have information for local steampunk groups, ads for other steampunk events, bands, performers and even vendors that want to show their stuff, but couldn't make it to the actual show! These booklets would also have the schedule of all the splendid workshops for the show (more on that later!).
- Get someone (like me) to make ruffled cravats where you could pull the ruffle out straight and it would have the show name and year printed in fancy Victorian writing on it! Everyone can wear cravats, and they would be a great stand-in for the t-shirts!
- Have "ladies" and "gents" bags, and put cameos into the lady's bags and steampunk cufflinks into the gents. You can grab some people who are good with glue and purchase hundreds of cuff-links and hundreds of cameos and settings on etsy, and each of these would probably only cost $1 or less to produce. They don't need to be something big, but free jewelry is always a plus.
- Encourage any vendors that are able to put in free samples of their product. Let's say you do perfumed oils-include a little sample! I know this wouldn't be possible for everyone, which is why I still insist on including really valuable coupons. It WILL get people to come into your booth!
*WORKSHOPS GALORE!!!! If this event was held at a hotel, it would be easier to set up these types of workshops in the conference rooms, but if you REALLY think about the kind of workshops that you would like to attend, you'll see that I'm freaking brilliant. Here's a few that I would be overjoyed to attend:
- It's a classic. Nerf/steam guns. For this workshop, the people that actually want to DRESS UP the guns need to bring one. We need to have someone brilliant like the people from League of Steam to show us how to paint, distress, age, texture, and deck the guns out.
- Tea Parties. I would love to learn proper tea etiquette, get a little booklet of recipes for biscuits, scones, dainty puffs, and everything snobby and tea-ish. This workshop could also encourage the throwing of your own tea parties and feature ideas on how to get tea-groups started
- Steampunk Hair. It's true, I just barely met the very handsome and distinguished OWNER of a STEAMPUNK HAIR SALON right here in salt lake! I would love for a hair dresser to come in and teach mens' and womens' Victorian hairstyles, with a modernized steampunk twist. OH, here's the link for Absinthe Hair Parlor. http://www.absinthehairparlour.com
- Simple Accessory workshops. I would be more than happy to teach people how to grab scissors, a needle and thread, and FIRE for making simple, but elegant accessories. There are so many little things you can do that make a BIG impact when they're put together skillfully and artistically.
- Steampunk Jewelry Extravaganza! Okay, I know that everyone and their dog is making steampunk jewelry these days, but this would be a GREAT opportunity for one of the potential jewelry vendors to give the attendees tricks and tips for making good, high quality adornments. What's that, you say? You're afraid that people will NOT purchase your goods because they figure they can make it themselves. This is where you can show your supreme intelligence and integrity. You will only show them the basics, but you'll display SHOW-STOPPING pieces. I'm not talking about an old watch body with some extra gears and a twig super-glued onto it. Yes, that stuff IS easy for anyone to make. YOU would show your true talent and passion with intricate pieces that the wise customers would look at and say, "Oh my heavens! I'm not going to make THAT! I can SEE how much work and love is put into that, and I'm smart enough to know that you purchase your supplies in great bulk to get the superb prices, and since I only want to make ONE necklace, I would be a damned fool to try and pay retail for the raw materials and spend many frustrating hours making an inferior product!!" (I PROMISE, the people that attend steampunk events ARE on a higher intelligence level than other shows I've done. Even though they're very much into DIY, they are also incredibly respectful, since they actually KNOW for themselves what it takes to make such things. This is what I have found, and I'm sorry if people out there disagree.)
- Calligraphy. Have someone adept teach people with real ink-pots and quills!
- Paper-making. I know it might sound dorky, but this is SUCH a neat thing to do. Be sure to have the instructor to bring many yard clippings.
- OBVIOUSLY, have panels where very cool people discuss steampunk literature, tv shows, movies, music, costumes, home decor, and such.
- Oh! A crash course in steampunk home decor! I would LOVE this.
- Haberdashery. Have some lovely person teach the ladies how to make fascinators from strange and wonderous things.
- Leather-working. Learn the basics of stretching, molding, stitching, stamping, and working with leather!
*That does it for the workshops, but how about some great little mini events like a "Mustache-Off" for the men? OH, baby.
*By the way, there are constant requests for steampunk models needed for photographers! If you really pushed your show out there for photographers, and maybe even had some little faux Victorian backdrops set up, it would be a fantastic place for photographers, models, promoters, and EVERYONE to meet and mingle.
That's about all I've got for right now. If these ideas don't actually get incorporated into some shows, I HONESTLY might think about starting up my own Steampunk Event. I know it's daunting as heck, but you had best believe I'm passionate about it, and the more steamers that I meet, the more impressed and elated I am by such human beings! Anyhow, if you ladies have anything to add, or if you think I've seriously overlooked some huge obstacles in all of my wild dreams, please let me know!