WGT 2014 - Hot days and blurred Gothic nights

With four days and nights that allow for almost 24 hour debauchery in the form or bands, performances, clubs and parties things can get blurry really fast.

This summer saw the 23rd Wave Gotik Treffen. What is Wave Gotik Treffen? It's one of the largest Gothic festivals in the world and is considered by some as a calling of sorts and almost certainly a must do for any hardcore Goth. The festival sees Goths from around the world congregate in Leipzig Germany to dance, drink, socialize and be seen with their dark brethren. The music is hugely diverse with Gothic flavours of Metal, Punk, Electronic dance, Ambient, Industrial, Folk, trad Goth and much more. Basically, if it's Gothic, it'll be at WGT.

Now for those of you who really have no idea what the whole Goth thing is lets dispel some misconceptions. If you think that Goth music consists only of The Cure and The Sisters of Mercy and that Goths look like funeral attendees, you'd only be partially right. Gothic culture covers almost all facets of music and a huge number of subcultures. You could argue that a lot of the music and subcultures that fall under the Gothic umbrella are not true Goth but, it's this collection of subcultures with that distinct Gothic falvour that make the Goth scene what it is. So, without getting to far off topic let's talk about the festival!

This year's WGT was hot! Goths of all types braved the heat with a mixture of leather, latex, studs, fur and spikes. As is usual for the festival, the venues were spread out across Leipzig and it could take up to an hour or so on the trams from the furthest opposing venues. On the up side it does provide the Gothic festival goer with ample opportunity to see quite a bit of the city. For those with slightly deeper pockets there are plenty of taxis that can get you from one venue to another in much quicker times.

Food for Goths? Sure why not! At WGT there is no shortage of meat in bread. BBQ pork or sausages were the staple at almost every venue. The largest venue, the Agra hall had typical festival snacks and meals and of course that staple of almost all festivals, Langos. For those who ventured to the medieval village there was some of the best BBQ meats, mead, beer and wine that WGT has to offer. As far as food and alcohol is concerned, this is the place to be! It is a wonderful village with a proper medieval theme. There are small hut like stalls selling all kinds of wares and a multitude of medieval Goths meandering around the place. You can even get yourself a drinking horn for your pint of mead.

The entertainment at WGT is almost endless. This is a festival were you either need to be an absolute party animal or like most of us mere mortals you need to pace yourself. With four days and nights that allow for almost 24 hour debauchery in the form or bands, performances, clubs and parties things can get blurry really fast. The basic form for a day is starting early afternoon at the medieval market with some music to match. From the early evening the various venues come to life with bands up until the middle of the night where the clubs and parties take over. If you make it through to morning, you can always pick up an Absinthe slushy for an extra kick.

This year really showed a fantastic spread of bands and genres. There were so many great bands playing that it was hard to choose one over the other. First up on Friday I caught Ascetic who bring some fresh blood to the new wave scene and could be thought of as a modern psychedelic version of Joy Division. The very metal Lantlôs threw out riffs and aggression followed by an old school goth favorite Mephisto Walz. Last up for the night was the always fun indie band White Lies. Saturday was a bit of a classics day starting with Lebanon Hanover followed by The Marionettes and ending with a fantastic set by industrial legends Front Line Assembly. Sunday brought some of my new favourites. I caught ambient act The Devil & the Universe by chance while waiting for The Lost Rivers and the must see Beastmilk. Both The Lost Rivers and Beastmilk put on stellar performances, not to be missed if you have the opportunity. Pushing up the distortion were metal bands Rotting Christ and Satyricon proving that WGT definitely does cater for the metal crowd. With a quick ride in a taxi I managed to haul my arse back up to the medieval market for a fantastic set by Primordial. These guys are possibly one of the best metal acts I have seen live in recent years. Every time they play front man Alan Averill pushes out huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm forming a strong bond with the audience and this time was no exception. I spent the last day of WGT checking out great rockabilly bands at Täubchenthal. Kitty In A Casket, Der Fluch and Bloodsucking Zombies From outer space set the bar high with great energetics performances. The last band of WGT for me was Canadian rock'n'rollers The Creepshow. The Creepshow certainly stepped up to the challenge of putting on a blazing show to end off a great day of rockabilly and a fantastic Wave Gotik Treffen.

This year's WGT proved that the Goth scene is as strong and diverse as ever. Great people, great bands and fantastic weather! What more could anyone ask for.

Written by William Riever, 2014-06-24