August 2, 2021 5.07 pm This story is over 33 months old

Steampunk festival plans expansion across Lincoln in future years

Expect Steampunk to only get bigger and better in Lincoln

By Local Democracy Reporter

Organisers of the Lincoln Steampunk festival have promised big plans for the event, which could see it branch out to the city centre, after securing a five-year deal to keep it in Lincoln until at least 2026.

The future of the Steampunk festival appeared to be in doubt earlier this year, when organisers announced plans to move the event from Lincoln to Newark for 2021.

These plans were then shelved after Kelham Hall, the primary venue chosen for the Newark event, went into administration. As well as this, Newark & Sherwood District Council confirmed that plans had not been submitted to the local safety advisory group for the festival.

While there will not be a Steampunk event in 2021 due to the ongoing fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, a deal has been struck between organisers, Lincoln BIG, City of Lincoln Council and Lincolnshire County Council to keep the festival in Lincoln for the next five years.

Left to right: John Naylor, Jackie Brockway, Cllr Colin Davie, Cllr Lindsey Cawrey, Lincoln BIG’s Sarah Loftus and Cllr Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The 2022 event will be the first of the agreed deal, which will allow Steampunk to use the uphill area of Lincoln on the castle grounds and the cathedral, but organisers don’t want to stop there.

Plans are apparently in place for there to be Steampunk events in the city centre, including in the Cornhill Quarter, starting next year.

This could eventually lead to the festival branching out to other areas of the county as well as Lincoln itself.

John Naylor is the organiser of the Steampunk festival. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

John Naylor of the Ministry of Steampunk called Lincoln the “spiritual home” of the festival and said he was delighted that it will be returning to the city for years to come.

“The Steampunk festival attracts thousands upon thousands of people every year, and we want it to keep growing and benefitting the city of Lincoln.

“Our hope is to expand the festival across the city, putting Lincoln on the map and making it similar to that of the Edinburgh Fringe.

“We are supremely grateful for the support and encouragement of Lincolnshire County Council, City of Lincoln Council and Lincoln BIG, together with Lincoln Cathedral and our other local partners.”

Steampunk is believed to generate £2.2 million each year for the local economy, so news of its departure to Newark before the eventual cancellation dealt a bitter blow to Lincoln, but the return next year and beyond is being welcomed.

Lindsey Cawrey, executive member for cultural services at LCC, said that securing the future of Steampunk in Lincoln was her first job in the role, and she is relieved to finally be able to share the news with people.

“Talks began with John and other organisers in May and we were eager to keep it in Lincoln. Steampunk is about so much more than just the festival itself, it’s about what it brings to the city as well.

“Hospitality benefits from it, tourism boosts as a result, there’s just so much to do over the four days it is on.

“Signing a five-year deal for the festival is a commitment to Steampunk, making organisers aware how much we value them here in Lincoln.”

Cllr Colin Davie, portfolio holder for economy, echoed the sentiments of Cllr Cawrey, telling The Lincolnite: “It’s great news for the city, we hope it can continue to out Lincoln on the map and perhaps expand across Lincolnshire in the coming years.”