Lights and music mark start of festival

Jordan McArthur, of Christchurch, performs at last night's Fire and Steam in Oamaru, launching...
Jordan McArthur, of Christchurch, performs at last night's Fire and Steam in Oamaru, launching the 2021 Steampunk NZ Festival. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN
Oamaru's Harbour St came alive with lights and music last night as locals and visitors celebrated Fire and Steam, which launched the 2021 Steampunk NZ Festival weekend.

The North Otago town’s Victorian buildings were used as a canvas for projection mapping — and the street was also lit up by holographic art installations and various other lighting projections — as Mads Harrop and The Beat Skips performed on the main stage.

Covid-19 interrupted the 11th-annual Steampunk NZ Festival last year, but it has gone full steam ahead this year.

Despite border closures affecting international visitor numbers, most ticketed events over the weekend had sold out, Steampunk NZ trustee Carolyn Lewis said.

People were coming to Oamaru from "all over New Zealand" for this year’s Adventures in Astronomy-themed festival, which also included many free events for the community.

"Basically, people are trying to find really cool things to do in New Zealand," Ms Lewis said.

Events over the next three days include a steampunk market, tea duelling, teapot racing, a fashion show, a gadget quest, and dinners and dances.

"It’s just a case of getting out there, see and be seen, flaunt your fashion and just have a bit of fun."

The organising committee had pulled the four-day festival together in about three months, holding off on a decision to go ahead this year due to uncertainty around Covid-19.

"We really only made a decision to run it properly three months ago," she said.

"Here we were worried about Covid, and all of a sudden we had the [Canterbury] floods."

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