Wave Gotik Treffen About To Celebrate 30th Anniversary With Massive Lineup
Everything you need to know about this year’s edition of Leipzig’s alternative Cornucopia, taking place from 26th to 29th May.
It’s no secret that goth isn’t just a genre of music. Since its development as a reaction to the extroversion of mainstream music in the late 70s and early 80s, goth has always been about the broader collection of art and culture that inspired the bands that fuelled the movement. Starting with acts like Bauhaus and The Damned, goth has now given birth to coldwave, darkwave, electronic body music, modern synthpop, and many subgenres of industrial. Leipzig’s Wave Gotik Treffen is a city-wide celebration of everything the movement has become over the decades. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the iconic gathering, taking place from 26th until 29th May.
WGT was first held in 1992 as the subgenres of alternative culture had caught on throughout Europe. Germany has always been a haven for underground culture, and the historic city of Leipzig is the perfect place for the festival, which is split across over 50 venues that include everything from clubs to churches and cathedrals. Historically named Whitsun, WGT’s takeover in the days after Pentecost is a slight head nod to the subculture’s religious freedom and open-mindedness in juxtaposition with the mainstream. Overall, there is the encouragement to participate in the wider scene and not just swoop in, catch a favorite band, and leave. Thus, tickets are only available for all four days – but the festival’s organizers and longstanding attendees would advocate that this wouldn’t be enough time to fully let all that’s on offer sink in.
Since its inception, WGT has been a magnet for European bands who are up and coming within the scene and is often an opportunity for them to reach a much wider international audience. However, the 2023 lineup is varied and as innovative as ever, with acts like Fiasko Leitmotiv (I) and Bragolin (NL) up next to all-American A Place to Bury Strangers. Artists come from everywhere from Australia (Zanias) to Denmark (Left Hand Black), Mexico (Stranger & Lovers), The UK (The March Violets), and Greece (Teknovore).
Genre-wise, the only requirement is that bands are dark and moody enough to fit the general atmosphere, so expect there to be plenty of all-black outfits. Yet apart from that, anything goes. Genres represented range from post-punk and apocalyptic folk to metal, so long as they have a gothic element. Previous years saw events like the famous Victorian picnic as well as readings and lectures that celebrate the ties between gothic music, poetry, and literature.
Of course, there is no way of highlighting gothic culture without taking note of the huge influences it has had on fashion, especially with regard to modern-day Victoriana and outfits inspired by the era. The festival is a way of celebrating the out-of-the-ordinary, bizarre, and dramatic. WGT’s website hosts a gallery of some of the most spectacular dresses, costumes, and makeup that have been spotted over previous years. Likewise, if you’re in the mood for atmospheric surroundings, the cemeteries section sees some of Leipzig’s more macabre areas become a draw for many of the festival’s attendees.
So how best to enjoy this hotspot for everything Goth has to offer? As if in the knowledge that there’s far more to see here than any one individual could hope to over the course of four short days, the organizers actually have a forum where you can get to meet other festival goers and chat. This also means that, through their smart feature that matches attendees with those who have rooms to spare, turning up means finding new friends as well as new bands. In this way, WGT isn’t a big anonymous event like an arena concert but proves to be as intimate and immersive as you want it to be.
Hostels are normally booked well in advance, and the festival does tend to swell the city’s population, but tickets are still available at the time of writing and can be ordered from the website itself. Having thought of everything, WGT is also disabled-and-child friendly, as under 12s go free and there is even a minded play area for children while adults enjoy the festival. Tickets also allow free use of public transportation within a selected zone in the city, meaning it’s easy to get from one venue to another.
Whether you are new to goth culture and want to see a selection of what there is to offer or a dedicated veteran of the scene, Wave Gotik Treffen can be experienced from so many different angles that there is something for everyone. There is only one difficulty, in fact – how to choose where to go first.
A Place To Bury Strangers (USA) – Absolute Body Control (B) – Aeon Sable (D) – Antipole (N) – Antlers Mulm (D) – Apoptose + Fanfarenzug Leipzig (D) – Apokalypse Orchestra (S) – Ash Code (I) – Assemblage 23 (USA) – Baical (D) – Betterov (D) – BFG (UK) – Blackbriar (NL) – Blind Delon (F) – Blitzkid (USA) Reunionshow – Bloody, Dead & Sexy (D) – Bootblacks (USA) – Bragolin (NL) – Buzz Kull (AUS) exklusive Europashow 2023 – Cat Rapes Dog (S) – Cattac (D) – Chameleons (UK) – Corpus Delicti (F) – Covenant (S) – Curse Mackey (USA) Europapremiere – Darkwood (D) – Das Ich (D) – De / Vision (D) – Deine Lakaien (D) Dark Star Jubiläums Konzert – Der Fluch (D) – Der Tod (Death Comedy) (D) – Diary Of Dreams (D) – Die Andere Seite (D) – Dorsetshire (D) – Dragol (D) – Edwin Rosen (D) – Eisfabrik (D) – Eisregen (D) – Elvenking (I) – Empathy Test (UK) – FabrikC (D) – Faun (D) – Fiasko Leitmotiv (I) – Fire + Ice (UK) – For All The Emptiness (CDN) – Forced To Mode (D) – Forever Grey (USA) – Frank The Baptist (USA) – Front 242 (B) – Frontline Assembly (CDN) – General Dynamics (UK/CDN) Livepremiere – Gewalt (D) – Ghosting (D) exklusive Reunionshow – Gitane Demone solo (USA) – Goethes Erben (D) – Gossenpoeten (D) – Grausame Töchter (D) – Grey Gallows(GR) – Harpyie (D) – Harsh Symmetry (USA) Europapremiere – Hekate (D) spielt „Sonnentanz“ – Heldmaschine (D) – Hocico (MEX) – Iamnoone (I) – Ikon (AUS) – J:Dead (D) – Jäger 90 (D) – Je T’aime (F) – Kaelan Mikla (IS) – Kiew (D) – Koenix (CH) – Kreign (USA) Europapremiere – La Frontera Victoriana (D) – Leatherstrip (DK) – Lebanon Hanover (D/UK) – Left Hand Black (DK) – Lisa Eckhart (A) – Lord Of The Lost (D) – Lucas Lanthier (USA) – Machinista (S) – Manntra (HR) – Milliken Chamber (USA) – Minuit Machine (F) – Mono No Aware (D) – Monolith (B) – Nachtmahr (A) – Neuroklast (D) Livepremiere – Oberer Totpunkt (D) – Pahl! (D) – Parade Ground (B) – Paradox Obscur (GR) – Patenbrigade:Wolff (D) – Perchta (A) exklusive Deutschlandshow 2023 – Piston Damp (N/DK) – Ploho (RUS) – Poison Point (F) – Qntal (D) – Ragnarök Nordic & Viking Folk (I) – Rauhbein (D) – Rein (S) – Remember Twilight (D) – Rosa Crux (F) – Rosegarden Funeral Party (USA) – Rotting Christ (GR) – Scherbentanz (D) – Sebastian Fitzek (D) – Shaârghot (F) – Shireen (NL) – Sieben (UK) – Skeletal Family (UK) – So Long Until The Seance (NI/UK) – Solitary Experiments (D) – Soman (D) – Steintor Herrenchor (D) – Stranger & Lovers (MEX) Europapremiere/Europa- Exklusivshow 2023 – Strobo.Lolita (D) – Suicide Commando (B) – Sündenklang (D) – Super Besse (BY) – Synthattack (D) – Tales Of Nebelheym (D) – Talk To Her (I) – tAngerinecAt (UK) – Teknovore (GR) – Temmis (D) – Tension Control (D) – The KVB (UK) – The March Violets (UK) – The Mission (UK) – The Other (D) – Thyrfing (S) – Toal (D) – Traitrs (CDN) – Tristan Brusch (D) – Ultra Sunn (B) – Undertheskin (PL) – Untoten (D) – Unzucht (D) – Utmarken (S) – V2A (UK) – Versus Goliath (D) – Vision Video (USA) Deutschlandpremiere – Vlure (UK) – Vortex (D) präsentiert “Häxan” – Vogelfrey (D) – Wingtips (USA) – Wolfenmond (D) – XIV. Dark Centuries (D) – Zanias (AUS) – Zynic (D)
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