Dennis Miller has a great line concerning the masses and social media: “Never have lives so less lived been so well chronicled.”

While that idea is equal parts funny and true, the first annual Springfield Steampunk Festival was conceived in precisely the inverse fashion.

According to organizers, Springfield, Vermont’s local affinity for the sci-fi subgenre actually began with like-minded Facebook users who formed a group to share photos and thoughts on all things quasi Victorian and elaborately mechanical.

One of those thoughts was that maybe, someday, the group could put on a festival. And in January of this year, a partnership with the Hartness House Inn made the cyber mutual admiration society a physical reality. The event is taking place this weekend, Sept. 11-13, and Hartness is hosting.

We’re “tossing aside the quaint, pastoral Vermont image in favor of a virile, vigorous, bustling Yankee mill town with attitude,” says attorney and selectboard member George McNaughton. “Think of youth busily engaged in making things, designing things, and inventing things. That indeed would be a brand that Springfield could be proud of.”

In addition to the absinthe tastings, fashion shows, and tea duels, the inaugural Steampunk will also offer up healthy doses of music including Amherst’s own Rusty Belle, the Jules Verne-inspired Venus Lens Cap, Tritium Well, and Electric Sorcery — the last of which will headline Saturday night’s Stargazer Ball.

“It just wouldn’t feel like a festival without music,” notes show coordinator Sabrina Smith. “So we reached out to a few of the bands that we knew would be a fit. Others approached us as they heard about what we were doing and wanted to get involved.”

Adult tickets for the Springfield Steampunk Festival range from $20 to $65, depending on prepayment discounts and length of ticket validity. Discounts apply for children and seniors. An additional $10 is required on any admission ticket to attend the Stargazer’s Ball on Sept. 12.

Next up, some Roger Salloom news: The focus of the critically acclaimed indie film So Glad I Made It: The Saga of America’s Best Unknown Singer performed his 32nd annual free concert in Northampton last month.

“When we started in 1983, Northampton was a much different town, of course. No Calvin or Pearl Street … We brought in Pulitzer Prize winners and were on the scene long before promoters brought in Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles,” says Salloom of the concert. “But we said we’d keep doing it ’til it stopped making sense. Thirty two years later, it still makes sense.”

Two upcoming events that will require no cents include Salloom’s upcoming performances at the historic Red Lion in Sturbridge, Sept. 19, and Noho’s Union Station, Sept. 27. For more info on the singer/songwriter or the impending shows, kindly point your browser to

Last, but not least: Congrats to Valley veteran Livio Gravini and Westfield’s The Kings, both of whom recently secured slots at the upcoming Big E by besting the competition in the recent Cityblock “Masters of Music” competition. Other confirmed “E” acts include Alabama, Sept. 20, KISS ax-man Ace Frehley, Sept. 27, and Kansas, Sept. 26. The Crawler was fortunate enough to catch up with Kansas violinist David Ragsdale recently. Check in next week for the interview.•

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