Phantasium Eindhoven Netherlands
The market opens at Phantasium in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, February 22 (Hilde Heyvaert)

For the 5th year in a row the Einhoven Beursgebouw in The Netherlands was home to Phantasium: a convention all about fantasy, medieval times and steampunk. Even though there was a big emphasis on steampunk, with the opening night featuring three steampunk bands (The Violet Steam Experience, Abney Park and Victor Sierra) playing live and The Steampunk Objective having set up their camp so to speak on one of the balconies they convention made sure to offer plenty of diversion and distraction for the guests that were there for everything else. Shops were varied, offering all kinds of things from re-enactment supplies, mead, clothing, ball jointed and other dolls to food and refreshments. Continue reading “Phantasium”

The Violet Steam Experience Live at Phantasium

The Violet Steam Experience Phantasium Eindhoven Netherlands
The Violet Steam Experience perform at Phantasium in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, February 22 (Hilde Heyvaert)

With their visually enticing combination of beautiful steampunk tribal dance and Victoriana style costumes, taxidermy and adorable steampunk mechanical set pieces, all of this combined with their most excellent music, The Violet Steam Experience was the first of three steampunk bands to please the audience’s ears on the opening night of the fifth anniversary Phantasium convention held at the Eindhoven (The Netherlands) Beursgebouw.

Continue reading “The Violet Steam Experience Live at Phantasium”

Archeon Midwinter Fair

Archeon Midwinter Fair Netherlands
Nautilus-style car at the Archeon Midwinter Fair, the Netherlands, December 9 (Hilde Heyvaert)

The annual Midwinter Fair at the archaeological and historical museum compound of Archeon is probably traditionally the last event of the year. Partially indoors and outdoors this fair exhibits the best of history, music, fantasy and various subcultures and fandoms. And despite the horribly cold and bad weather of this edition, the turn-out of visitors seemed to be really quite large (at least on the Sunday when I was there). Continue reading “Archeon Midwinter Fair”

Emporium Vernesque

Emporium Vernesque Arnhem Netherlands
Emporium Vernesque in Arnhem, the Netherlands, November 10 (Hilde Heyvaert)

The organization of this brand new steampunk convention has done a great job offering a wide variety of workshops, performances of both bands and tribal dance, and other things to participate in such as a group shop taken with an actual antique camera, the steampunk bake-off and many others. Aside from that there were several bars offering a wide variety of decently priced drinks, you could get some food (either from the venue or one of the many places within walking distance in town) and a handful of shops offering their wares to visitors. Continue reading “Emporium Vernesque”


FACTS is one of those conventions that for the longest time just offered the same thing over and over again. The one year was better than the other but generally speaking it may have been one of the biggest Belgian cons, it was far from the best. Not this year though, this year FACTS got their act together. Whether this is because of the ever growing competition from new cons such as Japan Expo Belgium (happening a mere few weeks after FACTS) or Antwerp Convention I’m leaving up for debate, fact of the matter (pun intended) is that FACTS this year buckled up and presented a fun, well organized and far more original program than it has in years. Bravo FACTS! Continue reading “FACTS”

Paris Manga and Sci-Fi Show

While in Europe Manga, J-culture and sci-fi conventions are a-plenty and pretty well represented in all the bigger (and some of the smaller too) countries, I have to say that the French are pretty undisputed when it comes to putting conventions together.

Throwing Manga and sci-fi into one big mix may seem quite strange, but they pulled it off seemingly effortlessly, mixing both in the hall of Porte de Versailles convention centre where the event was held. Continue reading “Paris Manga and Sci-Fi Show”

American Southwest Boom in Steampunk

Steampunk has been a minor attraction at anime conventions in the American Southwest at best but that is all changing now. In the last twelve months, twelve new and different steampunk events have been announced in the region.

The incredible growth of steampunk conventions in the United States and especially the South is the fastest and most pervasive change in convention fandom I have ever seen. Why is this happening? Continue reading “American Southwest Boom in Steampunk”

Antwerp Convention

Antwerp Convention Belgium
Poster at the Antwerp Convention, Belgium, May 6 (Hilde Heyvaert)

The second edition of Antwerp Convention, or in full: Antwerp sci-fi, fantasy and horror convention really did not disappoint. As is the thing with conventions there was a lot of merchandise available, but contrary to other cons there was a very wide diversity and a lot of things at this event was stuff not seen at others. The sales focus is not just on the current hype, but on entire genres, which is a great change from many other events. Continue reading “Antwerp Convention”