Well, having just spent the last two weeks partying and travelling like there is no tomorrow, it is finally time to sit in from of my computer and let you guys know what I’ve been up to. For those of you who follow me on IG, you would already know that my OH and I went to WGT and Download (back to back!) so expect the next few posts to be about these festivals and the parties we attended alongside them. So, without further ado, let’s kick-star these series by talking about WGT.
Wave-Gotik-Treffen, or WGT for you and me, is an annual 4 day Goth festival held in the German city of Leipzig. Being one of the largest, if not the largest, goth festival of its kind, it is 4 days packed with music, bands, djs, poetry and literature, museum visits, cemetery visits and so much more. WGT is what I would call ‘an intense’ festival. If you want to fully immerse yourself and get the most of the festival, then this is one where sleeping is not really an option.
So, how does it all work? Well, the main arena (and camping site for those who chose to do that) is at the Agra, which is on the south side of the city. In the Agra you will find the medieval village, a stage where the main headliners plays, a large shopping area and lots of food stalls. However, this festival takes places all over the city, with over 50 different venues, and over 220 bands. The good thing is that your festival ticket includes free travel to the city and the city does happen to have the most efficient and comprehensive tram system I’ve seen, so it is easy to move around the different venues.
The best thing about this festival is the variety of it all. You can attend an opera, or a literature reading, or simply go shopping. The possibilities are truly endless. On the Friday, there is an unofficial Victorian Picnic which is truly spectacular. Hundreds of people dress up in the most magnificent Victorian, medieval and romantic goth styles, while having a picnic or just having a drink by the lake. For me that was the start of the festival and what a start it was! From there we started on our frenzy task of seeing as many bands as we could squeeze in (while eating and drinking everything on our path!) And after a long day of dancing and shopping, the best way to unwind is to, of course, party at one of the many clubs such as the amazing Moritzbaste which was my OH’s favourite venue.
What about the music, you ask? To be honest, it is nicely varied – expect to hear everything from Trad Goth to EBM, from Goth Metal to Neo-Folk and from Medieval to Powernoise (plus there are always Classical and Opera shows to watch). Whatever your taste (within this perimeter) you are bound to find a few bands you like. And if you don’t, then you can explore Leipzig which is a beautiful city, as well as go shopping, visit the free museums, attend the different high tea events and so much more. On that note, I would say that the city is bigger than I first thought it was, so chose a one to two locations each day and stick to those. The last thing you want to do is spend all your time on a tram.
One thing I will say is that this is a festival where preparation is everything. WGT has an app which releases the timetables a week before the big event – use it! This is not a festival you can just wing, I mean you can, but you will not get out of it as much as you could. Make a plan of each day, including how far each location is of each other and even which clubs you want to party at. Obviously you will make new friends and plans may change because of it, but you need a schedule. Also, locations hosting popular bands will obviously get busy, so get there one or two bands earlier to avoid disappointment.
In terms of accommodation, if you want to stay in a hotel (strongly recommended as you don’t want to travel with a tent and two suitcases full of Gothic gear) then you must book this ASAP. If you are still weighting in your options, it does not hurt to book your hotel sooner rather than later, as you can cancel it later if you decide against attending the festival. We stayed at the City Nord by Campanile (10 min away north from the main station) and that was perfect for us, as we were close to all the main venues but we were in a nice residential area where we could sleep with the windows open and not worry about the noise of people partying outside. If, on the other hand, you want to be in the middle of the party, then stay at the Penta Hotel, where a lot of the bands stay so you can have the full on experience.
In terms of clothing, this is the place to bring out your creative side. Yes, a lot of people wear a simple band tee and black jeans and if this is you, then that is absolutely fine, but if you want the chance to push your boundaries, then this is the place. Some people were indeed walking advertisements for Killstar but others really went out with their DIY skills and made some amazing head pieces and costumes (specially during the Victorian picnic). Some have criticised WGT as being a solely about the expensive fashion and nothing more, and whereas I can understand their point of view – isn’t it nice being able to be as extravagant as you want to be for a week without being judged? I know I am lucky that London is not as judgmental as other cities, but I still receive negative looks and rude comments when I am wearing a goth outfit, so it is amazing that I have an event that allows me to push boundaries and get creative with my outfits without worrying about the comments/looks – it is also great to sit by a cafe and people watch for a while. The town itself also gets really involved in the festival, with the main tram line having a few black trams! The locals are also extremely nice, always asking if they can take a picture of you and asking you where in the world you come from. And that is another thing – it is so nice to see people from all corners of the world in one town. Sitting outside the Agra, you can hear a multitude of languages and accents – it is the United Nations of Goths!
So, with that being said – would I go again? Hell to the yes. There is something truly magical to witnessing a city transform into a gothic paradise. The music on offer was beyond excellent, and the attention to detail was second to none. You will arrive home after the festival utterly exhausted but with a massive grin on your face.
If you are thinking of attending next year, I would strongly recommend you to read the Sad Goth’s WGT guide. It literally has every bit of information you want and need before making your decision. I would honestly say that this is one of those festival that you must do at least once in your life and I hope that you do make it one year!