Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig (05-10 june)
As Whitsun fell quite late this year, we had to wait until June to head out to Leipzig for the annual Wave Gotik Treffen.
Under a scorching 35 degrees goths and lovers of all things dark came together for 5 days to meet up and celebrate their passion.
More than just a music festival, WGT is truly an all-round experience that incorporates all aspects of the gothic lifestyle. Over the weekend The entire city was reshaped into ever fluctuating new entities. Turn a left corner and you might believe yourself to have walked into Victorian England, expecting to come across Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper at any given moment. On another street you may want to duck and take cover from a Viking’s battle axe or share a horn full of mead and some drinking songs if he’s in a better mood.
And then of course there’s the bands themselves more than two hundred artists from all across the globe cover just about every subgenre imaginable. Whether you’re into classic wave and postpunk or have an ear for the harshest industrial beats, whether you’re a certified metalhead or into introspective shoegaze, you’re bound to find something of your liking.
In fact, the only real issue you have is that there’s so much going on that you have to make some hard choices at times. We should be able to go back in time every day to see everything.
The early birds on Thursday could already enjoy one of the parties at the main venue in the Agra of in the Villa. With different floors each with their own style, you got all the practice you could wish for to fine tune your dance moves.
The next day the festival really got started. Those who could drag themselves out of their tents and beds early enough could enjoy a nice sunny Victorian pick nick in the Clara Zetkin Park, a relaxed place under the cool trees. Besides of being an ideal spot out of the heat, it was also a prime opportunity for journalists and curious visitors to get a peek at the darkly romantically inclined WGT goers and their oft outrageous and delightful costumes.
After office hours more and more goths poured into the city for the weekend and the festival to really set in. The main Agra hall is the south of the city kicked if off with deathrock pioneers Christian Death for a show that was both theatrical, heavy on the guitars and grotesque. Longtime fan favourites Apoptygma Berzerk got everyone in a dancing mood while White Lies was quite a pleasant surprise to find on a stage like WGT. There would be quite a few surprises to follow in the days coming.
Many festivalgoers had flocked that evening to the Kohlrabizirkus for some harsh electro beats courtesy of Mexican duo Hocico Getting in early was an absolute prerequisite as was proven by the immense row of people that was queuing patiently to get in to the venue. Perhaps a a slot in a larger venue like Agra would have been more agreeable.
No matter, there were plenty of other things going on Friday night. For instance, you have the chance to go and see an exclusive avant-premiere of Wagner Reloaded. A daring collaboration between the Finnish cello band Apocalyptica, mostly known for their unique covers of metal classics and Gregor Seyfort. They brought a spectacular spectacular theatrical extravaganza that could rival Cirque du Soleil.
Those who sought a somewhat more introspective emotional catharsis headed out to the altes Landsratamt where Lantlos and Alcest presented their new artistic direction. Especially for the French act Alcest the difference with their earlier works was significant but no less impressive on stage. There was no trace left of their old black metal tinged roots. More than ever, they take their inspiration from the shoegaze scene of the eighties. Something became all the more apparent if you happened to witness Slowdive in the Agra two days later.
For more trips down memory Lane you could head down to the Theater-Fabrik for instance to witness some fired up old fashioned gothrock like Mephisto Waltz.
Anybody who still had any energy left after the gigs and the lingering heat had taken their roll, could rejoice in one of the countless after parties or just relax for a couple of beers. For the others it was tile to crawl into their sleeping bags or take the tram back to the hotel.