Interview with Kat Mahoney STEAM FEST
Save the Date
August 21st & 22nd 2021
Artsquest Center at Steelstacks
101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 18015
Steam festival founder Kat Mahoney is the owner/visionary director of @wediscovergeeks. Kat took time to talk to The Valley Ledger via Zoom. Kat talks about the exciting, Steam Festival, coming to Steel Stacks in 2021. (Steam Fest is Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Makers & Video games.)
TVL– Hi Kat, please tell us a little bit about STEAM FEST and how you kind of hope things go with social distancing and wearing a mask. What are you kind of hoping for the festival?
Kat– Well we actually secured the 2021 spot and 2022 with Arts Quest on and we’re really excited about it because they completely redid a lot of their inside, they reconstructed a lot of stuff. So, what we normally did was an inside event where now were pushing more towards the outside. Though we still will have the theaters and the upstairs for speeches and panels. But all that is going to be completely secured and we’re going to make sure that we have masks on hand make sure we have sanitizer on hand we are you know limiting the amount of people that can actually go into the speeches, the panels and workshops, so it’s basically going to be ticket-wise, a ticket is going to be required this time because we are limiting. Last year we did it was it is completely open people could go in-and-out as often as they wanted but, we’re really monitoring the limitations of who’s going and in who’s coming out in in you know actually having that security for everybody to feel secure and safe, as much as possible. So outside is pretty much where a lot of people actually feel safer and more secure. They feel better. When they say the weather and the environment around you makes a difference, it’s very true. Being enclosed can make a difference. We’re really pushing towards an outside event.
TVL– The Steampunk kind of culture has gotten bigger over the years. How did you get involved with steampunk and what do you think about it?
Kat– I’ve loved steampunk for a very long time. The themes around steampunk, grunge, post-apocalyptic, they kind of go together because they all utilize recycling and reusing items. People are not wasteful in this type of industry. All of those genres kind of go together. They really fit in for me because I am part of the science, technology, engineering and math type industry. If you look at steam, they use part of the science when their making things. Its all about measurements, it’s all about not being wasteful and utilizing every bits and pieces when you can. You have the technology and inventing things, being able to create something that has not been created before, yet useful for people. You have the engineering parts of that as well, whether people want to believe it or not when you put things together, that is part of engineering. Some people are like, “I’m not an engineer,” but technically if your putting things together your kind of in that segment. You have the art and the math as well because everything is creativity and everything is math. You have to know measurements and angle. It all fits in together. It works out very well.
TVL– Are you going to encourage people to come dressed in the steampunk ensembles? Along with wearing a mask.
Kat– Yes exactly, the great thing with the steampunk and post-apocalyptic is a lot of times they did wear masks. They worked with so many different chemicals and products. They used a lot of welding tools and techniques. Everybody always wore a mask so it kind of goes hand in hand.
TVL-What can you tell us about the speaker’s who will be there?
Kat-We have speakers from all over the world that come. One of our speakers is from Japan. He built from hand, a robot that plays music. You can request a song and the robot will interact and play music for the audience so he will talk a little bit about that.
TVL– That’s awesome.
Kat– Yeah, its so amazing how many creative activities can come out of this. It’s great and inspiring. Most of the stuff if from extra parts that he had laying around. That’s a wonderful thing to have. We also have several different speakers will talk about video game development. We have science going on with different chemicals. Kaleidoscope science center is also going to be there. They will teach how to take something from nothing and put it together and you actually get a chemical. So, we really have a lot more focus on the science, engineering art and makers.
TVL– I think it’s so fascinating because I like all of that. It’s all very interesting to have everything combined. Sometimes I think it’s thrown in with the horror genre sometimes. It is fascinating with the science and technology
Kat-That was the whole idea around Steam fest. There are so many different careers, hobbies and interests that revolved around steam education. Even when you were talking about the horror genre, if you’re doing cosplay and you take little parts and put them together to make a horror cosplay, that’s steam education. You’re actually putting that together and making something out of that. Even in the horror genre, Frankenstein for instance, was a steam education.
TVL-There will be lots of vendors there? They will have art and different products available?
Kat– We have some of the most unique and amazing vendors that you will not find at other festivals in certain areas. We focus on the uniqueness, the art, the science and technology portion. Our vendors are phenomenal, they’re from all over the world. They handcraft things or they create things from their own piece of mind or they’re intellect. It’s amazing to see what is actually out there that a lot of people think they can’t get ahold of unless they’re on the internet. There are vendors that are out there, even in our local area that are brilliant. That’s what we like to showcase.
TVL– What can you tell us about the performances and who will be performing at STEAM FEST?
Kat– We actually have a whole different genre of performers because our STEAMFEST focuses on several different genres. From grunge to steampunk, post-apocalyptic, alternative and regular acoustic bands. Our whole festival is about creativity. We want to show a different aspect of creativity in the entertainment industry.
TVL-You will have to check out Lee Hoffman and her husband Ralph. They have done so many amazing things with Steampunk.
Kat– When people bring to us, have you seen so and so, have you reached out? That’s what we’re looking for and I think that’s why it makes such a great community.
TVL-What would you like to say to the people that will be attending STEAMFEST?
Kat– To keep an open mind that this event is not like any other event that they’ve attended before. If you’re into science, its different if you go to a science convention. There is a totally different industry as compared to science and mixing it with technology or mixing it with makers in art. The same with any type of technology convention alone. We are a mixture of all of that. I would definitely say, come with an open mind and creativity, make sure you bring a note pad because your going to learn a lot. There’s a lot of different people within the community that your going to want to learn about.
TVL– Thank you so much Kat. Thank you for taking the time to talk with The Valley Ledger.
Kat– Thank you.
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