FantasiaFest and the First Dutch European Steampunk Convention

Everyone could enjoy themselves and show just how much fun steampunk can be.

FantasieFest Meppel Netherlands
Visitors at FantasiaFest and the Dutch European Steampunk Convention in Meppel, the Netherlands, July 28 (Hilde Heyvaert)

Seeing that this event was a combination of the FantasiaFest fantasy fair and the very first edition of The Dutch European Steampunk Convention, or D.E.S.C. for short, I will start with the fantasy and work up to the good stuff: the steampunk people are no doubt waiting for, this being a steampunk blog and all ^^.

For starters there was FantasiaFest, which is one of the smaller fantasy events in The Netherlands, and all about good clean family friendly fantasy fun. It’s got a stage with haystacks as seats where you can watch a couple of fun bands, a battle field for kiddie battles, the kind of shops you see everywhere ranging from pagan supplies, LARP stuff and all kinds of fantasy related clothes and accessories and more of the kind. The one thing that really set it apart was the open jousting challenge, because we so rarely get to see knightly style jousting, let alone live and in full action.

They had plenty of space around to wander and rest or sit down for a meal. The food, by the way, was not only extremely fairly priced, it was also extremely good. Definitely the best food at a festival of the entirety of 2013!

Basically, if you’re into smaller fantasy events, this may be your bag. If you prefer the big ones, you’ll probably find this too small to your liking.

And now for the thing everyone has been waiting for: D.E.S.C. ’13!

They had bands, Aeronautica and Pyrates. Victor Sierra had originally been announced but had to pass due to circumstances, sad but these things happen, and all kinds of other entertainment at the encampment itself.

Not only had The Steampunk Objective set up their entire camp, rather than select bits and bobs you see at other events where they are limited by the space granted to them by the organization, regaling people will all kinds of marvels, vehicles and all imaginable kind of steampunk bits and bobs. It was great to see them pulling out all the registers and seeing things we hadn’t been able to see before.

Not only the Dutch steampunks were there this time, but they were joined by the German Steampunk Expeditions Gessellschaft, who brought along not only a variety of awesome props, but also organized a shooting gallery where visitors and fellow steampunks could fire foam darts with steamified toy guns.

The British steampunks closed the ranks of their side of the event, but proved that being last definitely did not mean least with their tea themed fun where they sold awesome accessories and other bits and bobs, and then some and organized the tea dueling, an excellent and most civilized past-time for the distinguished lady and gentleman.

And of course there were many, many more nationalities present, all steampunks that had come down to join the fun and meet likeminded individuals in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

It was great to see so many types and styles of steampunks, all contributing in their own way and doing their utmost showing the public just how diverse and awesome the movement can be. On many occasion you found fantasy fan or visitor gathered together with steampunks to improvise a band, sit around and talk, tea duel or simply enjoy one of the many interactive set-ups all around the convention. It didn’t matter whether someone was portraying a persona or simply showed up dressed in one of the many steampunk styles being themselves, people could enjoy themselves together and show just how much fun steampunk can be.

Next year D.E.S.C. will be back, no doubt even better than the already grand first edition. So if you can make it, don’t miss it, because you’re not likely to find this many steampunks in one spot, of this many nationalities, anywhere else in Europe at an event that is an equal amount of fun.

In the meantime, you can keep an eye on the event’s Facebook page to keep up to date with all new information. More photos can be seen here.

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