For the past couple years the Up in the Aether group has been having Steampunk gatherings at The Phoenix Cafe in Hazel Park, Michigan.
At their monthly gatherings lovely ladies and dapper dudes bring out their steampunk finery from capes and corsets to top hats and tiny hats.
The DJ plays popular steampunk sounds as folks swing, sway, and sashay to the music.
Not everyone dances though and nobody finds fault in that as some finery is made to be displayed and not athletic wear.
Corsets, for instance, were made to slim the figure, emphasize the ladies features and display them in the best possible light, though breathing was never really factored in.
Who could really fault a lady for sitting out the dances or, for that matter, a gentleman for keeping her company?
Whether these fine folk congregate on the dance floor, hang at the bar, chat at the chairs, or slip outside for a breath of fresh air (or hot smoke) they unite monthly in their steampunk soirees.
These same folks have been faithfully attending the World Steam Expo for the past few years and were sorely distressed when they heard that it was not going to happen in 2013.
So they are banding together to have a similar, if scaled back, event over Memorial Day Weekend 2013.
Currently they have a Kickstarter campaign running to raise the funds to make it happen.
At this point they are only 14% funded with two weeks remaining and tonight some of them were sounded defeated with a Churchillian resolve to continue in spite of the expected failures.
Some Kickstarters blow their goals out of the water and others fall on their faces but this one has potential though it will need to be tweaked to succeed.
For instance the $55 level preregistration should be their bread and butter level as it is simply paying for attendance in advance and if the goal is not met the pledge doesn’t go through. The World Steam expo attendance was in the thousands and only 300 would meet their goal. However it is sold out at five pledges and an $85 level premium is sold out at four pledges.
The Kickstarter campaign has only three support levels below $100 and six support levels above $100 including three of $1,000 or more. It appears to be relying on larger contributors and corporate sponsors; however that sort of supporter isn’t going to kick in if they don’t show strong support on the lower levels.
The Kickstarter also doesn’t mention who the performers, artists, lecturers, and others that have committed to coming if they succeed. How can folks get excited about the performers if they don’t know who they are?
This commentary isn’t meant to be a kick in the ribs when they’re down but rather perhaps a kick in the butt to cut the defeatist attitude. After backing around 20 Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns it seems clear that they just need to do a quick revamp of the kickstarter with a more bottom up build to get the grass roots commitment of the attendees.
Taking the limit off the pre-registrations will get those who want to get behind it to put their money on the line. They are the ones who would come and if they commit to it, they will promote it. Similarly putting out who has committed to perform will show the performers that the con is putting out the word about them and they will in turn help put out the word on the con.
It is still going to be a tough two weeks of promotion but if they get half the quality of The World Steam Expo it will have been worth the effort.