The Wave-Gotik-Treffen is a festival that’s been happening in Leipzig, Germany for the last 23 years. It’s a celebration of goth culture, and along with its large selection of shows from all forms of dark music, it’s a chance for goths of all ages to drop out of the rhythm of normal life to costume up in a friendly environment. For four days the city is painted black.
It was my second year attending (the first being 2012), and like the first year, by itself it would have been worth the trip to Germany — the shows are great, the outfits incredible, and you can’t go wrong with German beer. Thematic venues open up all over the city including vast warehouses, unused factories, gothic ballrooms, ancient theatres, medieval stages, and the city’s citadel. There are even a select few shows held in the crypt at the top of Monument to the Battle of the Nations, an enormous structure of pyramid scale built to commemorate the defeat of Napolean in Leipzig, and the city’s most well-known landmark.
This year WGT unfortunately coincided with a regional heat wave, and for most of the days the temperatures exceeded thirty degrees. Black wasn’t the best color to be wearing during this time, although at least a few people remembered their parasols.
I was lucky enough to catch some great shows by some well-known bands like Front Line Assembly, but also discovered some acts that were new to me like Cecil Corbel on harp and the Schoole of Night Berlin who sang compositions from John Dowland. The most unusual show that I was live symphony orchestra re-enacting Mozart’s Requiem with an accompanying ballet. My favorite event was once again the ball at Städtisches Kaufhaus, a dark gothic ball with the most surreal ambience that I’ve ever experienced.
After the music, the costumes were the aspect to like the most. All goth subgenres were well-represented including aristocratic goths in dark billowing gowns, cybergoths with their cyberlox hair extensions, punk goths with their ripped clothing and mohawks, industrial fans with nearly militaristic outfits, and even visual kei styles out of Japan.
Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2015 will take place May 22nd to the 25th.
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