12th - 16th May 2016
Wave Gotik Treffen 2016 - General issues & visitor gallery
5 Days of Love, Peace and Happiness! All around me are familiar faces, familiar places... (in reference to ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules)
The black hippies are back for the 25th edition of the WGT, the biggest festival of its kind, which attracted over 20.000 visitors from all around the world. The WGT, Wave-Gotik-Treffen, has the emphasis on “Treffen” (meeting). It´s all about celebrating the gothic culture and meeting friendly open-minded people from all around the globe. And Leipzig, with its kind people, old buildings and interesting sights is the perfect spot.
Leipzig has been a trade city since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. Leipzig was once one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. Leipzig became a major urban centre within the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after World War II. It offers a vast variety of museums, churches and historical sights. I personally know a lot of people, who come to Leipzig just to enjoy the city’s cultural delights. The full festival ticket costs 120,-€, which includes free rides with all trams, s-trains and buses within the city limit and free entrance to its museums and exhibitions, and is totally worth every penny of it, even if you would not visit a single concert or party.
Central meeting point for many were the old walls of the Moritzbastei where several concerts, parties and a medieval market were taking place and where also one of the pre-parties was held. Over 50 different venues spread over the city, using some of the finest Architecture and sights Leipzig has to offer. A grand total of 250 concerts, featuring everything from Future-Pop to Goth-Metal, from EBM to Apocalyptic Folk, Medieval and Chamber Music to hard Industrial, Musical and Opera. 500 paries, 50 photo and art exhibitions, readings, signings, the big “gothic shopping mall“ at the Agra, and much, much more are included in this fantastic package deal. Readings and lectures by Christian von Aster, Mark Benecke, Lydia Benecke, Markus Heitz and many more round of the program. A delight for the dark at heart, strolling the shopping streets and picnicking in the parks.
Already for the 25th time, the yearly Wave Gotik Treffen was taking place in Leipzig and more than 20,000 people from all over the world – of course mainly dressed in black – followed the call. The 25th edition of the “festival of festivals“ has broken all audience records: every event I go to is packed. Leipzig is ours once again. Turning Leipzig into a colourful black magic wonderland and enjoying it. Enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. At the end, promoters spoke of about 23,000 people attending the festival, and besides there were many more using the event just as a meeting of like-minded. Many of people travelling to Leipzig refrained from paying for the festival ticket and used the festival to just meet other Gothic people from various countries.
As midnight special, we got PETER MURPHY, being know foremost as front man of BAUHAUS. He is also called the “Godfather of Goth”. Another special was the appearance of PIL – PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED. Like every year you could not see all the band you liked to since there were so many overlapping stage times and the venues were not really close. But WGT always means meeting friends is more important than seeing all the bands you like. This is the positive side effect.
Two years ago, we had the hottest WGT ever, this year, the weather was much too cold and it was rainy, even though there was less rain than forecasted. It was slightly stormy on one day, but all on all we had luck!
As already mentioned, WGT does not only mean concerts and parties. There is so much more. The 1886 sanctified cemetery “Südfriedhof” belongs to the biggest and art-historical most important European cemeteries. It is a big memorial with its outstanding park, with about 500 important works of art and the biggest European cemetery building. About 560,000 Leipzig impressions38people found their final resting place on the area, amongst them important industrialists, scientists, artists and architects. During WGT, there were several behind-the-scenes tours on the cemetery taking place. At the “Runde Ecke”, also this year was the exhibition “Children of the Night” leading you into the life of Goths in former East Germany. At the Agra event hall, we were attending the art exhibition in the café with works of Nils Franke, Sabine Graf, Daniela Hellerforth, Andrew Tong, Werkstatt Nimzer & Bernhardt and Ekaterina Zaydel.
The big festival campsite was as always situated at the area of the former agricultural exhibition “Agra” at the outskirts of the city. With the “Obsorgekarte”, you were allowed to use the campground and you received the program book “Pfingstbote”. With your festival wristbands, all visitors - except press people - were allowed to use the public transport for free from Friday morning to Tuesday noon. But the best thing at WGT still was and is the unique, magical atmosphere you could feel anywhere in Leipzig. Goth from numerous countries celebrated peacefully together, enjoyed all facets of their sub-culture and were delighted by their gathering painting the streets and squares of the city black.
I especially noticed this year that there were less Cyber Goths but more Steampunkers and more people dressed in black than during previous years. This year, we made it to the Steampunk meeting on Saturday afternoon. The pictures are online in a separate gallery. In front of the Agra, there were too many photographers (it seems to get more and more each year) and passing the entrance was kind of running the gauntlet and I definitely don’t like it to be photographed without being asked beforehand. Of course we did ask people before we took pictures.
WGT 2016 was once more a great festival, being again full of various facets. Its guests were culturally changing the whole city for a few days. All in all, there was also a great variety of food offered, also for vegetarians. It was great to meet like-minded friends. And soon, already the preparations for next year’s WGT edition will start. A compliment goes to the organisers, helpers and the press officer of WGT. It was a pleasure once more to take part in such a well-organised event. It was an overall successful and professional event bringing fans of the Wave and Gothic scene together. Thanks to all artists too! We already look forward WGT 2017, taking place from 2nd to 5th June in Leipzig.
Pictures by Bettina & Karsten Schulze