Some 20000 goths from all over Germany, Europe and the world gathered in Leipzig, Germany, for this year’s Wave Gothic Treffen festival, just like every year for the last 24 years. During WGT’s four days, once a year, these 20000 people can meet and enjoy together the things that excite them all, the essence of being a goth. And if you’re not a goth, that doesn’t mean you still cannot have a loads of fun on WGT.
WGT officially unofficially starts with a warm up party on Thursday, so the early arrivals to Leipzig can start partying even before the first official day of the festival.
The main events are, of course, concerts in numerous concert halls, but across the city there are also many clubs in which you can spend your nights and various happenings during the day, like the Pagan Village, Victorian Picnic and many more, so surely everyone can find some place that will catch their fancy. The most visited and the largest concert hall is Agra hall and I dare say that the most popular club is Moritzbastei. Even though I am primarily oriented towards concerts, everyone, including myself, is bound to spend some time on Agra “catwalk” where you can see some of the most imaginative costumes inspired by past centuries and future times.
First day came and already there were two good concerts that we had visited. First there was Blutengel, who made quite a spectacle on the stage powered not only by sound but also by great light show and dancers. They opened with Sing, gave the audience Lucifer and Vampire Romance. They were followed by the second great concert of the evening, always great Deine Lakaien. No matter how many times you watch them perform, they always give you excellent performance with Veljanov’s flawless voice and their perfect set list too. Dim atmosphere perfectly suited their performance and recognizable style and sound. The public enjoyed hits like Reincarnation, Overpaid, Into my Arms, Over and Done, Fighting the Green, Love me to the End and Return. I hope they will return next year too.
That night we decided to go to the Darkflower club. We just had to check what Erk of Hocico sounds like at the DJ console and we quite liked it, as we felt punched by his beats among sets of some eighties music. Prior to Darkflower, we checked Patrick Codenys of Front 242 but it was too much of a techno sound for our old school ears. Yet in this lies one more proof that diversity is what WGT offers.
Saturday, another two great concerts. This time it was old school EBM, so we had the opportunity to see DAF, standing for Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, and Front 242. DAF created very good energy on stage, especially when you take into account that it was coming from only 2 people and that one of them was not even moving. However, Gabi Delgado made sure that there was no one in the audience who stood still while he was on the stage. The audience went wild on Der Mussolini, but no more so than during Mein Herz Macht Bum or Du bist DAF and Alle Gegen Alle. Front 242, great as always, had an excellent set list, playing all my favourites, including Don’t Crash, Lovely day, Im Rhythmus Bleiben, Religion, Welcome to Paradise and Headhunter, and gave us no rest for tired feet. And Jonckheere and De Meyer still have all the right moves on stage that even the youngsters would envy.
In the meantime we frequently visited the Agra market place looking for t-shirts, hoodies, CD’s, etc. and found a couple of extra gorgeous shops with handmade headpieces or jewellery and some newly discovered designer brands. You could even get yourself a pair of fangs, custom made for you on the spot by the famous Father Sebastiaan.
Sunday was very crowded on Agra. It seemed like everyone just went out for a lovely sunny day. We noticed many cameras and people posing willingly, so we took some shots ourselves and talked to a frequent visitor Katrin. Since we feel that WGT is not only about music, but also about people and the vibe there, we decided to ask Katrin for a little interview.
G&A: Katrin, you had the most wonderful outfit on the day I met you, can you tell me where it’s from? The dress was gorgeous and I liked your headpiece. Were they bought or made especially for this occasion?
Katrin: I made all of the dress by myself. I love sewing and I really enjoy making headpieces. To play with materials, flowers, feathers and other things. The dress is made just for the Treffen and also the headpiece.
G&A: This is a four-day festival; do you have a different outfit for each day? How much in advance have you started preparing your outfits for the visit?
Katrin: Oh yes, I wear a different outfit each day. For me, Treffen is a chance to wear beautiful clothes, to be the unique person I am. So, I’m dressing up every day carefully. This time I haven’t had that much time. I had only about eight weeks to sew and to complete my outfits. Normally I start planning my outfits and buying accessories that I cannot make by myself in January. I plan accurately what to wear on which day, what makeup I need, and so on. And then, at Treffen, everything changes. The weather is not what I wanted and I’m going to mix all that I have in my trunk and wear an instant outfit. This happened last year in the abnormal heat of the days and the year before.
G&A: Do you come every year? What do you think about this year’s WGT in comparison to the previous WGT’s?
Katrin: I’ve been here for the last six years and for me it is one of the highlights of each year. I can meet people and friends from different places, talk, have fun and can go to concerts with music I love. This year was a premier for me, it was the first time without my boyfriend – we had a breakup in January – and so it was very special for me. And if I look back, it was the best Treffen since I’ve been going to WGT. It was more relaxed, more funny and really gorgeous.
G&A: Where do you spend most of your time at WGT? On concerts or other events? Which clubs do you enjoy the most and what kind of music attracts you?
Katrin: I think I spend most time at Treffen with people I like. We’re sitting around, drinking strawberry punch, enjoying slushies – especially the blue one that gives you a blue tongue – and talking to each other and enjoying the atmosphere. This year I managed to go to five concerts. This is a record, the last WGT’s I saw two or three bands. Most of the time I am very busy chatting and having fun. I enjoy Dunkelromantischen Tänz the most, this year at the Stadtbad. And the most beautiful event every year is the “Blaue Stunde” on Thursday night in the park. This is my personal highlight every year. My taste in music is very diverse. My favourite music genre is metal – this year I enjoyed the “Beyond the Black” concert very much – Rockabilly and Psychobilly, so on Mondays I’m in Täubchental, and sometimes EBM. Sometimes I just want to party, then I change clothes to some very comfortable ones, go to Moritzbastei or some other club and dance. But I also enjoy listening to music like Otto Dix.
G&A: You are from Bavaria. How long does it take you to come to Leipzig? How do you travel and where do you stay in Leipzig?
Katrin: I drive by car to Leipzig and this took about five hours without breaks. I stay in a holiday flat with a friend. It’s really funny to dress up with company. And it’s much easier, if you have someone who closes your dress in the back.
G&A: What is it about WGT that you love the most?
Katrin: Being myself and meeting friends. During WGT you can wear what you want, you can totally express yourself and you meet so many people who are the same as you… this is really great. And I met friends from all over Germany, some of them I just meet during WGT, so this is very nice. So I could not say what is better… to meet lovely friends or be myself.
G&A: Do you have any suggestions for the people coming for the first time and what kind of advice can you give to new visitors?
Katrin: Never make a detailed plan. This will fail 99% of the time. Treffen makes its own plans with its own dynamic. I’ve planned so much the last five years, nothing really did happen like I planned, so this year I said, ok, maybe this and this and managed to see more concerts, have more fun and no stress.
After parting with the lovely Katrin we went to see Clan of Xymoy and London After Midnight because, basically, that’s what you do on a gothic festival: those two names are a must see. Although I stopped following Xymox many years ago, when they opened with Stranger or played Moscovite Musquito and Louise their performance brought back some nice memories of a band that once I held very dear to me, although in the end I still can’t get along with Jasmin and Rose. London After Midnight started so forcefully with Your Best Nightmare that all the LAM fans must have felt a powerful kick and afterwards you could enjoy them also at somewhat slower pace of Shatter, Demon or Sacrifice. And it was great to see that there was at least one artist, Sean, who thanked the press people in the pit. This refreshed us – exhausted and on the edge, boiling and trying to catch that right moment or two in the impossible conditions of the overcrowded pit in a very dim light – more than all the water Delgado had previously poured onto our equipment out of the 30 bottles that he had prepared to pour onto himself or onto us. But, far be it from me not to thank all the other artists who gave us all the excitement and audio and visual stimuli that made us high: fortunately, this time no one disappointed us. We even made it to Klute at Stadbad. After people cleared off the space at the end of Jager 90, it seemed that only real Klute and Leather Strip fans remained and Klute gave us hits like Desert Storm, Tequila Slammer, Bones in the Furnace, Nose Candy, but, to our great surprise and joy, at the end of the show we could even hear some Leather Strip repertoire.
The last day was rainy and, well, although you can’t except much from a rainy Monday, we went in search of a rose in full bloom, The Frozen Autumn, a very dear band who really blew the audience away at Felsenkeller. This talented and dynamic duo from Italy brought us their best song selection and it seemed that they didn’t want anyone to stand still. Apart from their all-time hits like Is Everything real?, This Time and Before the Rain – I can also remember hearing Radiostation from their side project Static Movement – they played songs from their new EP Lie in Wait, including a song that has become an instant hit, We’ll Fly Away. I’d like to see more of them at future WGT’s. After that, we finally went to see Clock DVA at Volkspalast. That is a beautiful, classy hall and we enjoyed just being inside it. Although the performance was very static, we danced with the last atoms of our strength to everlasting hits like Soundmirror, Sign and Hacker.
Text: Marija Buljeta
Photos: Marija Buljeta