The Asylum – Lincoln’s Steampunk Festival

The cobbled streets of historic Lincoln are set to be transformed once again into the world’s largest steampunk festival on the 25th – 28th August.

For those not familiar, steampunk is a creative community and arts scene. It draws inspiration from our Victorian heritage but injects a huge amount of imagination and a science fiction slant. Whilst having its feet in the past, it has its heart in the present and celebrates inclusivity, individuality and self-expression. Anyone can join in, and the only rule is to ‘be nice to one another’.

Weekend at the Asylum will once again attract visitors from across the globe and transport Lincoln Castle to a time that never was. Now in its 13th year, the Lincoln Steampunk Festival will feature a fringe-style programme of art, literature, music, fashion and invention.

Highlights will include:

· Steampunk Markets

· Costume Competition and Parade

· The Asylum’s Most Splendid Promenade

· The Illicit Market

· Jet Pack Race

· Tea Duelling

· The Great Exhibition

· The Wacky Racers and Pararacers

The festival’s name was inspired by The Lawn, one of Lincoln’s historic lunatic asylums and the event’s original home when it began with just 400 enthusiasts in 2009. Over the years it has grown into what is potentially Lincoln’s largest annual event. The huge free street festival now brings four days of creativity and eccentricity to the city.

Last year the festival welcomed 50,000 people to the historic quarter to marvel at the amazing outfits and gadgets. They browsed the stalls at the market on Castle Hill and lined the streets to watch the annual steampunk promenade on Monday morning, the area bustling with enthusiasts and audiences, many of whom also took the opportunity to join in with their own outfits and accessories.

This year Monday’s parade, the Grand Promenade, will move off from Westgate Academy at 11am, travelling up Westgate turning right onto Bailgate. It will then turn left onto Eastgate before bearing round in front of the Cathedral. Finally, passing through the arch onto Castle Hill, it will terminate inside the Castle grounds (participants must have a wristband).

New for 2023 – look out for the Blue Plaque trail of spoof residents and events. Buildings in the Historic Quarter who would like to host one of the plaques are invited to get in touch via the website. 

The festival in the street including the market in Castle Square and watching the Grand Parade is free to attend, but you can upgrade your experience by buying a festival wristband which brings additional perks including entry to the castle and the market in Westgate School without further payment as well as access to features in the Assembly Rooms and areas of the castle reserved for wristband holders, where you will find additional features, catering and seating. Wristbands start at just £7.50. All under 16s are free with accompanying adults. Evening events and afternoon tea parties are ticketed individually. 

John Naylor, Festival Director, said: “We know that we have thousands of people looking forward to the festival and we can’t wait to bring our world of whimsy and eccentricity back to Lincoln.”

It is recommended that visitors use city centre car parks, as car parking is very limited uphill. For a full timetable of events, and to purchase tickets and wristbands, visit www.ministryofsteampunk.com