Interview with Ingimar Oddsson of Steampunk Iceland, Part 3

Welcome back for part three in our visit with Ingimar Oddsson, organizer of the Steampunk Festival in Iceland.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.


Airship Ambassador: If the festival, and Bildalia, had a soundtrack, what would it be like?

Ingimar Oddsson: We actually have a national anthem and it is rather conventional. But as ongoing theme I would think a mixture of balkan gipsy band and a circus band playing bittersweet tunes would do it for me.


Photo by David Sitbon

AA: What kind of attention has the festival generated locally, throughout Iceland, and across the world?

IO: Today in Iceland I think everyone knows the Steampunk Iceland festival. We have been lucky because it has been considered far fetched idea to have a Steampunk festival in the most remote village in the westfjords of Iceland. It has made the prime time news three times and lot of articles and radio programs have handled our festival nicely. The world? I don’t really know for sure. I thought most Steampunk enthusiasts had knowledge of the Icelandic steampunk festival but when I have visited other conventions I really need to introduce myself and what I stand for. So we must do better in presenting us to the world.


AA: It can seem like we’ve accomplished so much in sharing steampunk with others, but there’s always more people everywhere who have never heard of steampunk. Sometimes, it’s difficult to reign in the creativity and limit everyone and the event to just what can be realistically done, and done well. But, if you had unlimited access and an unlimited budget, what is one item you’d leap at to offer?

IO: Hahaha .. Airship of course. I have actually tried, and also steampowered whaler but it was just a little too expensive.


AA: Ha, just a tad. Anything you can share about 2017?

IO: Steampunk Iceland will have a great steampunk event preferably in the end of June. It will be in Akranes only 20 minute drive from Reykjavík. I will be there and my band The Old Spice but the rest is still in the pipes. Akranes is a town on a little peninsula reaching out in the Atlantic. Population about 7000, good camping area and lots of guesthouses and hotels nearby. Steampunk Iceland 2017 will be hosted by the Exile King of Bildalia.


AA: Sounds like a great start in your planning. How did previous experiences prepare you for this role?

IO: As a performer I have had some experience in bands and also in classical music. I wrote and managed my own musical in 1995 and that would have been the “biggest” project I’ve had so far.

It didn’t work out and I went bankrupt. That was probably the best school. Since then I have managed small events here and there and small businesses but also the Sea Monster Museum in Bildudalur for three years. Successfully I might add and that was my second schooling. Each event adds to my knowledge and when things go not so well I learn even more things than when everything goes nice and smooth. Experience really educates. My other education is in multimedia and intercultural communication, which has helped a lot in marketing.


AA: Any sea monsters in Bidalia? I think that could be pretty steampunk 🙂 What are the qualities a person needs as an event producer?

IO: Beside enthusiasm and being crazy? I would say that a person taking on managing an event of any size would have to be ready everywhere and always. There are people better at many tasks, and I have to see that and utilize their talents. But as a manager I have to be ready to clean the toilets as well as giving orders or handling finances. “Jack of all trades” …  At the same time I have to be able to communicate to all the “masters” out there and bring the project as a whole to its final goal. This is something I can always get better at.


AA: What are some key factors in producing a successful convention?

IO: Communication, communication. From the beginning to the end. The goal should be to create a memorable experience to all participants, but we won’t get there unless everyone work on the same page.


Photo by Sandra Dogg

AA: There’s a lot of work that goes into a convention – how long is the planning stage?

IO: When you know there is going to be one, you start planning. No matter how much time you have, you will always wish a little more time. But it will happen whether you’re ready or not.


AA: “If it weren’t for the Last Minute, nothing would ever get done.” During the planning and execution stages, what are some challenges of producing a convention?

IO: Financing is always the most difficult task and keeping the budget. It is always hard to guess how much you are going to have to play with. Even at the last minute it can go either way.


AA: There are always a million details to keep track of during the planning, from making sure tech equipment is in each room to having a garbage can at the registration table. What were some of the more interesting details that came to you in the middle of the night, kept you awake in the first place, or came up at the last minute because no one thought of them?

IO: I remember one last minute drama Haha, minijack to XLR adapter was missing at 11pm and the show was on, full house and we were in Bildudalur, far far away from everything.

But sound nerds are also to be found in Bildudalur. We had a surround television system brought to the stage in twenty minutes.

I have had similar moments from time to time but things always get sorted out…. somehow.


AA: Along with all the planning of what the convention is going to be, marketing the event is important, too, to bring people in. How did you promote the festival beforehand?

IO: I have always tried to find the least expensive way. Of course sharing the event, all my friends and so on but also I try to get interviews, TV, radio and newspapers. We published our own newsletter ourselves; The Bildalian Post and created some mini events in Reykjavík to reach out. It is also good idea to start a crowdfunding campaign or publish a song or a video few months before the event.

Still, nothing is ever enough and to reach the mainstream one might have to become mainstream. And that’s something to think carefully.


Let’s break here in chatting with Ingimar. Join us next time when he talks about the challenges in running a convention event.

Keep up to date with the latest news about the Steampunk Festival in Iceland on their website, and about Ingimar on Facebook, Bandcamp, and YouTube.

Published in: on October 5, 2016 at 6:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Recap – Motor City Steam Con 2016


tl;dr The inaugural Motor City Steam Con was fantastic, you should have been there, and you should sign up right away for next year’s event on July 14-16, 2017.

If you missed the inaugural Motor City Steam Con just outside of Detroit, Michigan, on July 22-24, and sadly, that means most of you, you missed a fantastic event!


Organizer Salathiel Palland watching the fashion show.

Photo by Heather Kenya Cushing


Just under seven hundred people gathered at the Holiday Inn for an amazing assemblage of guests, entertainers, vendors, panels, and events.

Things officially kicked off with a rousing and very energetic opening ceremony. Con organizer Salathiel Palland sang “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon while automatons from the Dance Centre studio danced around her. The Detroit Mass Choir accompanied her.


Gabriel Brass Band, photo by Ofeibea Loveless


Next came the Gabriel Brass Band playing Second Line immediately followed by 30-some airship groups.

Sal introduced the guests and entertainers, and the ceremony wrapped up with a medley of songs by the band, which got people out of their seats and dancing. It was a high energy performance which set a great tone for the whole weekend.


Diana Pho, photo by Ofeibea Loveless


James Neathery and Ofeibea Loveless, photo by Ofeibea Loveless

The weekend continued with a who’s who of steampunk creators – here’s just a few of the people who were there:

Myke Amend

Eli August

Bethalynne Bajema

Philippa (Pip) Ballantine

R.S. Belcher

Steampunk Eddie

Frenchy and the Punk

Karianne Gottschalk

Sarah Hans

Leanna Renee Hieber

Tee Morris

James Neathery

Diana M. Pho

Ashley Rodgers

Kevin Steil

DJ Vorteque

Arlow Xan

Eric Larson, Teslacon

Aloysius Fox, International Steampunk Symposium

Mike Zawacki and Scott Norman, Wars of Other Men


Samantha Stephenson and Scott Helland, photo by MIGeekScene


Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine, photo by MIGeekScene

There was continual musical entertainment in the main room, author readings, a tea room, vendors, parties, and of course, plenty of panels.

Among the many remarks attendees made by attendees was the pleased amazement at how well and smoothly everything ran, especially for a first year convention. Registration had badges for everyone and VIP bags waiting. Rooms were well marked with schedules, security and badge checkers were on hand but unobtrusive, and the hotel staff was wonderful and helpful at every moment. Aside from the inferno raging outside the hotel, I didn’t hear one negative comment about the convention itself.


Sara Neathery and Azriel le Fey, photo by MIGeekScene


Karianne Gottschalk (2nd from left), photo by MIGeekScene


The Friday night party, sponsored. by Rusted Crow Distillery, and hosted by the Crew and Captains, Bret Daly And Courtney ‘Splintercat’ Stoll, of the Corsair Iniquitous, was great fun. Great drinks and jello shots for those who imbibe, music for those who dance, and an accommodating hotel which let people take their drinks and dancing out into the much cooler lobby area.

The Sunday closing ceremony not only had a great shout-out to the guests,  the con staff and volunteers, but also had a touching tribute to Michael Wiggins, a valued and much missed member of the community.


Lindsay Dowd, photo by MIGeekScene


Fashion Show, photo by Heather Kenya Cushing

The weather may have been desiccatingly hot around the country during the entire weekend but this a was cool convention to attend.

If you like an opening ceremony that makes you want to jump up and dance,  a wide variety of music and panel discussions,  along with great venue staff and the ever friendly fellow attendees, Motor City Steam Con should be added to your convention list.


Eunice, handling the Green Room, photo by MIGeekScene

Special thanks to Sal for inviting me as a guest, Eunice for the airport transportation and green room noms, and the Ops and Security team for such a low stress and fun filled weekend.


Published in: on July 31, 2016 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Interview with Salathiel Palland, Motor City Steam Con, part 3

motor-city-coverWelcome back for the conclusion of our chat with Salathiel Palland, organizer of Motor City Steam Con in Michigan.

Read part one here.

Read part two here.


Airship Ambassador: Do you talk with other convention organizers to trade ideas?

Salathiel Palland: Yes, Eric Jon Larson, the producer of Teslacon and Morgan Kollin the producer of Youmacon have been the truest and most generous mentors a girl could ever wish for. They have given freely other knowledge and have been nothing but supportive. Truly wouldn’t even have done this without their support and their belief in me.


AA: For the aspiring convention planner, what lessons did you learn along the way for Motor City Steam Con?

SP: Pick your people very carefully; plan a budget and stick to it!; plan, plan, plan!


AA: With all of that work, you’ve had a chance to meet a lot of people. What kind of networking, associations, and new friendships have come out of your work on Motor City Steam Con, before, during, and after?

SP: I have met so many wonderful con heads and traded table space and website advertising. Most of the time I have been in the vendor room and it feels like coming home when you see familiar faces. I met one of my best friends in the world, Elisabeth Martin and her amazing an talented husband Alex at a con in their booth the Blonde Swan. I have a wonderful customer, Ginger Vaughn, who I see at almost every can and I just want to give her free stuff all the time because she is so supportive. I have met some truly beautiful people


AA: What are some things you would have done differently?

SP: Nothing, really. It’s all about the journey.


AA: What suggestions and encouragement would you give to people who want to attend?

SP: Please just come prepared to have drama-free fun!


AA: How might someone prepare for this year’s events?

SP: Practice not sleeping and dancing until you drop.


AA: What should a first time attendee know about the convention, and what shouldn’t they miss?

SP: That we were all first time attendees and we know how you feel. That if you are feeling too shy to talk to people, but still want to be engaged, that we have “talking benches” you can sit on that will let others know that you are open for conversation. And that we don’t bite…hard.

 motor city tea

AA: What other steampunk things are you involved with?

SP: I am in the Detroit Steampunk Collective group, I organize various steampunk gatherings, parties, and concerts during the year.


AA: Looking beyond steampunk and Motor City Steam Con, what other interests fill your time?

SP: I am a serious bibliophile, I love books, I love singing, I love dancing, knitting, pop culture, trivia!, movies, and honestly I just love producing events.


AA: How do those interests influence your work?

SP: In so many insidious ways…


AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?

SP: I don’t get to bellydance or dance as much as I used to and my reading time has taken a major hit.


AA: What other fandoms are you part of (as a fan or participant) ?

SP: I grow up in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy fandom, I am a Supernatural freak, Firefly, comic books forever, tabletop RPGs forever – I’m just a big ‘ol nerdy nerd and proud of it.


AA: What is on your to-be read -watched-listened pile right now?

SP: I can’t even look at that right now. It is so large, I’m afraid if I sneeze, the mountain will fall off the night stand and bury me alive in an avalanche.

 motor city want you

AA: Ha! I know that feeling! Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

SP: My mom, Eric Larson, Morgan Kollin, Don Watts, Sue Watts, Elisabeth Martin, and too many more to name.


AA: What is the best advice you’ve been given?

SP: The buck stops with you so make sure the final product is your vision.


AA: When you do interviews, what is something that you wish you were asked about but haven’t


SP: Why are you so damn sexy!?!


AA: Well, that’s a pretty good question! Why are you so damn sexy? Any final thoughts to share with our readers

SP: I love that you all yearn for something magical and different and that you keep pushing us event producers to dream bigger. And we will keep thinking of you and the fun you deserve!


Thanks, Salathiel, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!

Keep up to date with the latest news about Motor City Steam Con on their website.

Published in: on July 20, 2016 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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