Steampunk world takes over Australiana Pioneer Village at inaugural TeslaFest

AUSTRALIANA Pioneer Village (APV) will be home to the Victorian-inspired world of steampunk this weekend, with the inaugural TeslaFest set to take place around the grounds.

Festival manager Amirah Black said the event on Saturday, 27 and Sunday, 28 July was a "pilot" event, gearing up for the "full show" in 2020.

"People are travelling to Wilberforce from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Goulburn, Bathurst, Lithgow and all around the greater Sydney area purely to support the TeslaFest's concept, support APV, see the Festival grow in the coming years and contribute to the Hawkesbury region," Ms Black said.

Steampunk is a sub-culture that is growing in popularity. It harks back to the 19th century age of steam-powered machinery, and features 'futuristic' inventions as people in that era might have envisioned them. Post-apocalyptic themes are important in steampunk, as is punk fashion and style.

A huge part of the culture is being anachronistic - out of time and place - meaning this weekend's TeslaFest will feature costumes and characters that take snippets from different eras.

An element of steampunk is based around science fiction works such as those of HG Wells and Jules Verne. Think fantasy, horror and historical fiction.

Festival director Dijor Machon from Schofields said APV was "the right fit" for TeslaFest, which has been put together in association with Steampunk Australasia.

"Part of the concept for TeslaFest is that the event is immersive and has atmosphere which APV holds in spades. I remember visiting often as a small child when Bill McLachlan ran it so there is a lot of nostalgia attached to the site for me personally as well," Mr Machon said.

Punters can look forward to artists and artisans at the Makers Market over the weekend. There will also be live acts playing on the outdoor stage, including musicians, dancers and magicians. The Iron Throne from Westeros will be there. Take a seat on it and long may you reign.

If you're lucky, you might catch the double wedding; organisers have confirmed two couples in steampunk attire will be tying the knot during the festival, with Argonauts escorting them to the altar.

The event is family friendly. Mr Machon said children could take a ride on the recently-refurbished train, stab at apples with Swordplay School of Theatrical Fencing and Stage Combat, take part in Tea Duelling and Hay Rides, and dress up and enter the Juniors sections of the Costume Competition on Saturday and the Inventors Competition on Sunday.

Reenactments from The Order Reenactors, Legio IX Hispana and The Argonauts will provide educational opportunities for the littlies.

Ms Black said you didn't have to be part of the steampunk scene to get enjoyment out of the festival, meet people, or find a new hobby.

"Everyone regardless of what pigeonhole society shoves you into deserves to let go and have fun in an inclusive environment," she said.

"APV's Main Street is Steampunk Central which opens out into The Alterniverse where the melting pot of camps start; Postapocalyptic Wastelanders eyeing off your bottle caps, Romans drilling down the path and keeping an eye on the Wastelanders, sketchy elves trying to figure out if there's iron in the Medieval Knight's armour ... it's the whimsy that crosses divides."

Go to teslafestaustralia.com for tickets and information. Pre-booked camping is available on site.

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