Freaky Mutant Weirdo Variety Show Is Back as Outdoor Geek Culture Festival

PISCATAWAY, N.J., – Three of the top steampunk bands in the Northeast will converge June 4 at Vasa Park in Hackettstown, N.J., for the Freaky Mutant Weirdo Variety Show, a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly geek culture festival.

Attendees can look forward to live entertainment, cosplay, artisan vendors, educational presentations, and the unique steampunk competition known as teapot racing.

The festival is organized by A Halo Called Fred, who will take the stage along with Frenchy and the Punk, This Way to the Egress, and other top acts. The evening will cap off with an all-star jam by all three bands.

The entertainment lineup also includes Trio of Madness and The Munchausen Society plus the Karnevil sideshow, billed as “New Jersey’s premiere carnival sideshow experience.”

Food and beverages will be available for sale.

The show was previously held indoors over Thanksgiving weekend, but now it’s back in an expanded form after a two-year hiatus imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

When: Saturday, June 4, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Vasa Park (under the pavilion), 1 Vasa Drive, Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Tickets: $25 (adults), $15 (kids 14-18). $5 discount if purchased by midnight, May 4. Free admission for kids under 14. Tickets are available from the festival website: freakymutantweirdo.com

Steampunk? What’s That?

Steampunk originated as a science fiction subgenre, where the stories are set largely in the 19th century. It has since spawned a geeky subculture with events, cosplay, music, art, gaming, and lots more. Think of it as a whimsical mashup of old-time style and contemporary sensibilities.

“Steampunk is…the love child of Hot Topic and a BBC costume drama.”
– Bestselling author Gail Carriger

Teapot Racing?

Teapot racing is an activity where participants can drive Radio Controlled Teapot racers through a track and its obstacles. Presented by Splendid Teapot Racing, obstacles in the course include the Cogthulhu Curve, the Teeter Totter of Doom, and the S curve candlesticks. Teapot racers will be available for you to drive, or you can bring your own.

The Bands

A Halo Called Fred describes itself as “the greatest guitar, bass, violin, and Tupperware band in the history of all time and space.” Their 2020 release Go Home Drama You’re Drunk and Other Tales of Going through Hell to Escape the Evil Monkeys was named by New Jersey Stage music columnist Bob Makin as that year’s best independent album from a band in the Garden State.

Frenchy and the Punk consists of singer/percussionist Samantha Stephenson (“Frenchy”) and guitar maestro Scott Helland (“The Punk”). Hailing from Hudson Valley, New York, they’ve frequently performed at conventions and festivals in the U.S. and Europe. They describe their sound as follows: “Imagine Siouxsie Sioux and Dee Dee Ramone had a duo that was inspired by Django Reinhardt, Edith Piaf, Toulouse Lautrec and Deepak Chopra.” Their seventh album, Zen Ghost, is slated for release this summer.

This Way to the Egress, an “art-punk” band from Bethlehem, Pa., describes their music as “equal parts unruly vaudeville, ebullient world-beat, and three-ring circus.”

Trio of Madness, the psychedelic / surf / progressive / space rock band featuring Mike Wojik on Drums, Nick Charles on guitar, and Liz Gonzalez on bass.