This Hulloween, enter into the weird, wacky and wonderful world of Steampunk, inspired by Victorian fashions and engineering. A combination of science-fiction, fantasy and history, with a Halloween twist, will transform Hull city centre for a weekend of spooky and spectacular tomfoolery.
The Hulloween Steampunk Festival, which runs from Friday 28 October until Sunday 30 October, is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the city, in addition to the global Steampunk community.
The Hull public is encouraged to play a full part in the proceedings, with tickets available for a costumed ball in the splendid setting of The Guildhall, a ghostly magic and mystery show at Social, and Halloween afternoon tea at the Holiday Inn Hull Marina, in addition to a free zombie shamble and fancy dress competition, talks, displays, markets and a grand finale parade.
The Immortal Ball at the Guildhall will be the flagship event of the weekend, taking place from 7pm-11pm on Saturday 29th October. Everyone is invited to get dressed up in their best Halloween costumes or Steampunk finery and come along for an evening of music and monsters, as you jive, tango and waltz the night away. Tickets cost just £35, to include a buffet supper.
The evening will start with music by the award-winning Unity String Quartet who will play a mixture of classical and contemporary pieces suitable for dancing, so you will have the perfect chance to glide around the ballroom to your heart’s content. Lady Elsie Tinker will be encouraging everyone to join in with some historically-inspired dances from the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries. These are relatively simple social dances, great fun to take part in and not too demanding.
Finally, the dancefloor tempo will be cranked up and you will be able to let your tangled hair down and dance the night away to some Halloween disco classics.
HullBID has organised the weekend in partnership with the Ministry of Steampunk and co-funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “We’ve been planning the Hulloween Steampunk Festival for a long time, and it will give more reason for people to visit Hull city centre. We’ve seen the positive impact the Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln brings, attracting visitors and supporting local businesses, and we want to replicate that.
“We know people from Hull attend Steampunk events elsewhere, and now they can enjoy the experience on their own doorstep. The Steampunk culture is a great fit with the character of our city centre, and the historic streets and magnificent buildings will add a new dimension.
“We’ve welcomed some huge crowds this year with the return of Hull Street Food Nights and the Yum! Festival, and for our first Dino Day event. The Hulloween Steampunk Festival is a first for us, and we’re hoping for another big turnout, whether people come along to take part or just to take a look at the fantastic spectacle of creative costumes on show.”
Dave Mays, who has two events at Social in Humber Street, said: “I don’t remember seeing Steampunk at all in Hull before but I’ve seen it elsewhere and I’m expecting a fun and exciting weekend. I’m really pleased that HullBID is bringing it here. It’s a great addition to the events calendar.”
Social will be the venue for The Library of Eerie Tales at 7pm and 9pm on Friday 28 October, with organisers suggesting you should ‘step into the shadows this Hulloween and experience an evening of unearthly delights. Sylvia is a time travelling magician who invites you into her world of illusion and theatrical magic.’ Tickets can be bought for just £7 (7pm) and £7.45 (9pm), ages 16+.
It will also host a free Hulloween gig for ages 14-plus from 7pm until 11pm on the Saturday, with performances from Fire (The Unstoppable Force), The New Republic, The Hagley Wood Vampires and Deep Six Blues.
The Holiday Inn Hull Marina will be holding a special Halloween-themed afternoon tea at 2pm on Saturday as part of the Festival, and Dan Reid, General Manager of the hotel, said: “The Hulloween Steampunk Festival is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Hull to the Steampunk community, and it also gives local people a chance to take part in something new and thought-provoking.
“Holiday Inn Hull Marina always seeks to support events such as these to bring colour and excitement to the city and provide further nourishment to our culture. For our part, we will be supporting the festival with our traditional afternoon tea – but prepared and served the Steampunk way!”
Guests can join horror non-fiction writer Mark Iveson, Steampunk and thriller writer Samantha Lee Howe, and David J Howe, editorial director of Telos Publishing, who specialise in horror and science fiction books, and enjoy tea in the company of the Ministry of Steampunk. Tickets are available now, priced at £15.90.
Other attractions on the Saturday will include a Steampunk Market in Trinity Square and Hull Minster, from 10am until 3pm and, at 11am, a ‘Zombie Shamble’ – a fancy dress walk setting off from Primark in Carr Lane, making its way through to Trinity Square where the costume competition will be judged. Sunday sees an ‘illicit market’ in Zebedee’s Yard from 9.30am-10.30am, where traders can only sell items they can store on their person, and which promises to be a lively event.
The festival culminates in a grand finale parade from the Museum Gardens to Trinity Square at 11.30am on the Sunday. Everyone is welcome to get dressed up and join in.
The programme will also include Hull history walks, ghost walks and a Steampunk exhibition and talks in the Streetlife Museum, including from local Steampunk groups Hull Wilberforcian Steampunks and the Hull Steampunk Rebels.
Dave Mays added: “It’s vital to have things like this going on. We’ve had a great summer down at the marina with the Yum! Festival and Humber Street Sesh and nine days of Freedom Festival and this gives us something really different and special to look forward to. It gets people into the city and into venues they might not normally visit.”