26th to 29th May 2023
Wave Gotik Treffen 2023 - Pre-opening at Moritzbastei with Electro All Stars event by “Schwarzes Leipzig tanzt”, General Issues, Visitor Gallery, Victorian Portraits, Steampunk Picnic, Wine Tasting, Hearse Meeting, Pagan Village, Exhibition at Agra Café, Reading Erk Aicrag
The more WGT editions, the more interesting the travels. This time I (Nastja) arrived in Leipzig taking a night train from Stockholm. It’s been an adventure and not everything went well, but in the end I arrived in Leipzig safely and even managed to get some sleep on the train. Unlike the past few years, I wasn’t able to arrive already on Wednesday, so this time Thursday felt much shorter as there was only time to do some grocery shopping for the camp, get the wristband and just get ready to get to Moritzbastei for what feels like a tradition by now - an evening at Moritzbastei.
Reading by Erk Aicrag
The cultural program started this year a bit different though with a reading session of Erk Aicrag (HOCICO, RABIA SORDA) from his recently released poetry book ‘Until My Throat Bleeds’. The book was published in Spanish and in English. Erk was presenting some of the pieces out of it which had definitely a lot of personal meaning which made it an intense experience. At the end of the reading session, Erk opened up time and space for a Q&A session. The audience was a bit shy in the beginning, but after the first person was brave enough, other questions - in English, German and even Spanish - followed quickly. It’s been a very different WGT opening, and a very personal and emotional one.
Pre-opening event on Thursday at Moritzbastei: Electro Allstars
Just a short moment later, the evening continued with the traditional “Electro Allstars” co-organized by Daniel Myer (HAUJOBB, COVENANT, DSTR) and “Schwarzes Leipzig Tanzt”. This year’s guests were Dorain (RIGA), Frank (FRANK THE BAPTIST), Erk (HOCICO, RABIA SORDA), Niko (AUDIOTHERAPY, GIMME SHELTER, DSTR), Dennis (SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS), Dina (LEVEL ELEVEN), Donis (THINK ABOUT MUTATION, LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH), Geneviéve (THOROFON) and Hannes (KARTOGON, SNAKESKIN). The motto of the evening is: artists cover songs they love which can get really surprising and wild.
Just a selection of songs which we could hear that evening: ‘Sweet Dreams’ (EURYTHMICS), ‘Hate is a 4-Letter Word’ (SHOCK THERAPY), ‘1, 2, Polizei’ (MO-DO) or ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ (Tina Turner). As I said - it’s been wild and lots of fun. Also, songs I didn’t know were performed in a super engaging way. While the concept is now well-known, there is always something to discover. Besides the fun start, Moritzbastei is always a great spot to meet friends on the first evening and enjoy Leipzig by night. After all, I finished the night with a quick visit at the Agra Café for some songs to dance to before going to spend the first night on the camping ground after a year.
Around 20,000 people were expected in Leipzig for the anniversary of the 30th Wave-Gotik-Treffen. After the opening night and the Victorian Picnic on Friday, the program started with more than 200 bands, readings, medieval markets and a hearse meeting. Again, trams and other means of transport were overcrowded and lots of black visitors drove back and forth between the Agra site, Moritzbastei, Volkspalast, Völkerschlachtdenkmal or Täubchental to enjoy the Goth music and Goth attitude to life. With bands from around 20 countries, the music ranged from Future Pop, Post-Punk to Goth Metal, from EBM to Neofolk, from the Middle Ages to Industrial. There was also a medieval market at the Moritzbastei and the Pagan Village, where many big bands played. Furthermore, there were also exhibitions and readings in the program.
The concerts and events were spread across the entire city, for example in the venerable walls of the Moritzbastei, in the neo-antique “Kuppelhalle” of the Volkspalast, in the Schauspielhaus, Haus Leipzig, Westbad, Stadtbad and Felsenkeller. Like always, many bands overlapped, you had to weigh up a lot and decide what to see. The weather god was very nice to us - it was sunny, warm but not too hot. So, you could spend also a lot of time outside in the city and breath in the special WGT feeling. Scene DJs from all over the world invited people to dance until dawn in countless clubs. The Leipzig South Cemetery, consecrated in 1886, is one of the largest and most important European cemeteries in terms of art history. With its outstanding park creation, with around 500 important works of art and the largest European cemetery building, it is a large area monument. 560,000 Leipzig residents have found their last resting place here so far - including countless important entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and architects. Furthermore, the Lord Mayor and also the world-famous Thomaskantors and Gewandhauskapellmeister found their last resting place here. Again, there were guided tours through the cemetery in the course of Wave-Gotik-Treffen.
This year there was again an exhibition and guided tours on “Goths, Punks and Co. - Alternative youth in the sights of the Stasi” in the “Runde Ecke”. In the SED state, anyone who wore black clothes, teased their hair and listened to THE CURE or DEPECHE MODE was quickly targeted by state security. Another photo and art exhibition again was held in the newly designed Agra Café. And in Agra Hall 4.2, a few DJs played and partied every evening. It was always a great atmosphere. Short films, readings and lectures were offered as well, e.g., by Christian von Aster, Mark Benecke, Markus Heitz, Sebastian Fitzek and many more. As always, the large meeting campground was on the site of the former agricultural fair Agra on the outskirts of the city. There you the “Obsorgekarte”, which allowed you to camp, and also the “Pfingstbote”, the detailed WGT program book. From Friday morning to Tuesday noon, all WGT guests could use the city’s local public transport free of charge, with the exception of press people.
But the best thing about the Wave-Gotik-Treffen was its unique, magical atmosphere, which you could feel everywhere in Leipzig, and the wonderful “we”-feeling. For orientation, we can also highly recommend the free “WGT Guide” app, which a WGT visitor compiles himself every year. Well, and now, please enjoy lots of pictures from the gothic meeting.
Exhibition at Agra Café
Victorian Portraits on Pagan Village
Pictures by Nastja Iz, Daniela Vorndran and Betty Schulze
Written by Nastja Iz and Daniela Vorndran (General Issues)