Posted by Amaranth
Wave Gotik Treffen – The Gothic Pilgrimage
Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig is one of those things you can’t really describe – it has to be experienced firsthand to really understand the scale, extravagance and excitement of it all. But for those of you who are not lucky enough to be able to make it, I’ll try recount some of the highlights of my experience of the 20th Anniversary and my fourth WGT.
Arriving a day later than usual (on Friday) we headed straight out to Viona’s Victorian Picnic. The lovely lady always draws a crowd and this year was no different. In fact this year was the biggest I have seen it yet. Now being included in the official program of events it attracted a much broader crowd and a larger number of spectators and photographers. In fact this year I really noticed an increase in the “paparazzi” across the board hanging around outside the venues pouncing on all and sundry. You may know my view on this type of photographer if you have ever heard me speak about Whitby Gothic Weekend – but that’s a topic for a whole blog post on its own! At least there was some sanctuary inside the venue grounds, with those willing to pay or have a pass to get in, actual patrons of the scene or bona fide press.
Saturday morning was another smaller gathering of fabulously fantastic creative creatures, with Stakall’s picnic in the Southern Cemetery (which is most certainly a place you have to see if in Leipzig, more akin to our landscaped gardens over here). With the more intimate gathering, spectacular costumes and surrounds, you truly felt exported to another realm (or perhaps that was the wine ;)
Treffen always amazes me not only at the vast number of Goths – I could never imagine there being that many in the world, let alone in one place – but also at the sheer diversity, quality and passion each display, in their look, zeal and knowledge of the music and scene. The jaw dropping splendor and creativity will give you whiplash if you let it. And yet these lovely beings still came to you with the polite request of “photo machen bitte”. I really love the sense of mutual admiration I experience there without any of the snobbery that can sometimes be bedfellows with beauty.
Fashions at WGT would be impossible to umbrella under one description. But as clothes are wont to do, definite similarities could be seen in flocks and were largely dependent on the locale, occasion and bands. The picnics and events such as the Romantic Dance at Victor Jara and theatre or literature based acts drew a crowd of noble ladies and gentlemen, with their crinolines, wigs and frock coats. Werk II and the Falsenkeller which held some of the Deathrock acts and the Gothic Pogo Parties were a-strut with mowhawks of every hue and clothes which look like they were in sore need of a stitch or two. The Viking and Medieval village was ladies in smocks, fairies and princesses, with hairy fir covered men clutching at their horn of mead. The trad Goths, some with chalk-white faces (a style I only ever see in Germany these days) tended to haunt the Agra and When We Were Young parties, and I believe there neo-folk parties where military uniform is the order of the day. It’s nice to know that music and literature still have such an influence on style even though the style can now stand as a scene of its very own.
Bands that greeted my ears during the weekend consisted of Deine Lakaien, Girls Under Glass, Nosferatu, Fields of the Nephilim, The Beauty Of Gemina , Tying Tiffany, Mephisto Waltz, and a number of swirling, drumming medieval bands which flowed beautifully in the background while partaking of the honey wine. With 278 bands there’ll always be aural delight but unfortunately there’ll also be a number you just can’t quite race across town in time to see.
And in the midst of all these visual and auditory offerings is a world of chance meetings and catching up on old times. Its times like these that you realize goth supersedes nationality, location and even language. Friends are met and made from all over the world and you relate as though they lived on your doorstep. You also realize what an industrious and self creating scene we are, each taking control of keeping the scene alive: Bands, DJs, Writers, Photographers, Designers, Artists, Models, Promoters, Journalists, business people working to build their castle from the inside and each black-clad person adding another brick. And I feel so fortunate to count many of these industrious and inspiring people among my friends.
Speaking of such talent, I was once again fortunate enough to shoot with the multi-talented Viona alongside the beacon of style Shien Lee as well as two other very lovely ladies for a gifted designer followed by a wonderful dinner in this esteemed company. Here’s a sneak behind-the-scene peek – but you’ll have to wait for the final shots!