Friday, August 7, 2015

Springfield Steampunk Festival features top bands and a whole lot more

Ida Mae Specker & The Honest Mistakes
The Springfield Steampunk Festival slated for September 11, 12, 13 features some of the hottest bands around including Venus Lens Cap, Rusty Belle, HUMANWINE, Electric Sorcery, Ida Mae Specker & The Honest Mistakes, the Suitcase Junket and Tritium Well.

The weekend kicks off Friday night at 7:30p (doors open at 7p) with Opening Ceremonies at Hartness House Inn, 30 Orchard Street, Springfield. The group Rusty Belle performs at 8p-10p. “Rusty Belle’s songs include a magnificent fusion of genres from country to rock and blues to 80s pop, creating a smoothie of liquid gold…” (Culture Fly, UK )

Rusty Belle

Saturday’s line up includes musical performances by Steampunk band Venus Lens Cap whose music is inspired by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. They are scheduled from 12-1p at the Hartness House Inn. Gomez Richardson produces an organic and synthetic sound accompanied by vocalist Stacey Mendyka. The duo released their first CD, Spies of the Silk Trade, based on the illustrated hardcover storybook by D.R. Clarke complete with adventures of a spy named Vienna and an airship captain, McEwin.

Venus Lens Cap

They are followed (2-3p at the Hartness House Inn) by Kevin Colosa who plays the theremin. Colosa has performed with some of the world’s great thereminists and will also offer a workshop. He also plays with Tritium Well who is performing on Sunday from 1-2p at the Great Hall. Their sound is described as “high-energy, local, acoustic, Latin-spiced, folk-rocked, red-barned, reggae, rock, funk, roots, and blues that makes you want to dance.”

Simultaneously at the Great Hall from 2-3p, Matthew Meserve, Springfield-based keyboardist/singer will perform soulful interpretations of the classics.

Matthew Meserve
Then from 4-5p, also at the Great Hall, Ida Mae and the Honest Mistakes take over the stage. Ida Mae is a third generation fiddle player and a rising fore in American folk and roots music. She is joined by singer-songwriter Faith Wood and Springfield's own Rio Mueller on a homemade washtub bass. The trio plays a rambunctious version of old-time music that features original, contemporary lyrics set to old-time melodies with a rock heartbeat.

One of the main events of the weekend is the Stargazer’s Ball that takes place at the Hartness House Inn and features HUMNANWINE and Electric Sorcery. Guests are encouraged to dress Steampunk to mingle and enjoy cocktails and bar fare and especially the live performances. HUMANWINE takes the stage at 7p. A vocalist, Holly Brewer co-writes and performs with acclaimed multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Matthew McNiss to elaborate on the fictional land they call Vinland. “HUMANWINE makes music that dances between raindrops, sending up green shoots between the broken cobblestones of folk, punk, mythology and open revolt… a do-it-yourself apocalypse that is strangely utopian.” -Dan Abbott


At 8p, headlining from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom comes the progressive, psychedelic sound that is Electric Sorcery. Their brand of heavy rock music pulls together genres from fusion to reggae to rap and beyond. This electrifying group brings together some of the best-known original musicians in the Northeast Kingdom featuring Derek Campbell, vocals and guitar; Micah Carbonneau, drums; Chris Doncaster, bass and Luke Laplant, baritone sax. Their energy packed live show has been heard at venues and festivals around New England and New York.

Electric Sorcery

The Stargazer’s Ball also features parlor games (7-10p) and Telescope/Observatory Tours (7-10p) via an underground tunnel. Please note: The Stargazer’s Ball is a special ticket event with limited capacity, so you are encouraged to sign up early. Check the website at for details.

Sunday’s performances include Tritium Well from 1-2p at the Great Hall, (as mentioned above) followed from 2-3p, by The Suitcase Junket who is Matt Lorenz—a nationally touring, slide-guitar playing, throat-singing one-man-band. … “Not everyone can pull off the one-man-band gambit without lapsing into shtick but Amherst’s Matt Lorenz has it all down to an art […] the songs are what you remember.” -The Boston Globe

Matt Lorenz

Kevin Colosa, Thereminist performance and workshop, returns to the Hartness House from 10-11a.

In addition to the musical performances, the entire weekend is packed with Steampunk activities, including a talk by Bruce Rosenbaum who was dubbed the “Steampunk Guru” by the Wall Street Journal, an Absinthe Workshop/tasting conducted by expert S. B. MacDonald who is devoted to the world of absinthe and hosts regular tastings around the world. From children’s activities, to a Steampunk Fashion Show to tea dueling, and a tweed ride, to a closing event picnic, there is something happening every hour. All weekend, vendors from all over the country will be selling everything Steampunk and more. The organizing committee is still seeking volunteers to take care of a variety of tasks from pre-festival organizing to event set up to clean up and the myriad during-event festival activities. Volunteers will receive a full free weekend pass for a four-hour shift. Some of the tasks include manning the ticket booth, help with parking, runners, activity helpers for the fashion show, children’s activities, performers, workshops vendors, etc.

The Steampunk Society of Vermont and the Hartness House Inn present the Springfield Steampunk Festival. Tickets and full schedule: Proceeds benefit the Springfield Community Center. Lead sponsor is J.A.M. Fuel and Butler Bus Services. Main events will occur at the Great Hall, One Hundred River Street and the Hartness House, 30 Orchard Street. Shuttle buses will be running regularly.


  1. They should get the rusty trombone to come and play!

  2. I agree, I heard the Rusty Trombone's play. There music is Strokes of genius. Another good one is the Copper Pennies.


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