So this year The Biggest and Best Gothic festival in the world hits the 25th anniversary mark. It’s seen a lot of changes and challenges for the organisers behind the festival, such as the security not being paid one year so they left the main Agra site unprotected and Neo Nazis broke in and set fire to tents. I remember being at an all night party in the room at the back of the Agra which is now used as cafe, partying hard and ready with the rest of the attendees to confront the Nazis if they turned up, but they didn’t reach the venue.
Another year one of the organisers ran of the with the ticket money meaning that the last couple of days the line up and venues were cancelled. On the Monday several bands announced they were paying for free but whether they did or not is unclear as other bands who did not play have metioned these bands were actually paid. The following year the organiser responsible is alleged to have rejoined.
One of the main driving force behind the festival Marco Göthel quit and started his own successful festival – The Amphi festival which is also a festival worth visiting. There has also been the threat of redevelopment of the main venue the Agra which would be a big blow if it did happen as it may prevent the festival happening. More recently there has been the loss of some great and favourite venues used by the festival due to covering the cost of hire. Venues like the ParkBuhnne and Werk2 which were very popular venues.
I remember attending my first WGT in May 1999, the main reason being that one of my favourite groups at the time Ikon were making their European debut only to find out when I arrived they had cancelled due to the band receiving no confirmation from the organisers about payment for their flights. I flew into the epic Templehof airport and met a couple of friends who loaned me a tent. The whole event was just wow and showed how poor the UK scene was at the time (and still is). Bands I managed to see where Still Patient?, Scream Silence, Lore Of Asmody, The Last Dance and Inkubus Sukkubus at the Parkbuhne. Him, Joachim Witt & Project Pitchfork,at the Grosse festival hall.(now the Agra) Goethes Erben at the Grosse festival hall. Sex Gang Children at the grosse festival hall. Sepulcrum Mentis, Neon Dream , Illuminate and Sanguis Et Cinis at the Eiskeller Conne Island. Monday was Black Metal monday (sucked) managed to see Therion and tolerate 2 minutes of Dimmu Borgir at grosse Festival Hall. I did try and go see the only Goth gig on that day at The Moritzbastei The House Of Usher but along with another 30 people we missed it due to the time changing/ no-one knowing which room it was in ;). Hardly any UK visitors but had a great time meeting a drinking with people from around the world. The gothic markets at the Agra site (not the main hall) and in Moritzbastei were the thing of Gothic dreams.
Despite all this it is still going strong and next week Leipzig will again be painted Black next week. So what can we expect from the line up. Well for me it looked a stronger line up for the 20th anniversary, there are quite a few big names playing but some can’t live up to the standard their past performances. The main reason I go to Leipzig is to see new bands or bands who don’t play the UK. If it’s Your first time you will be amazed and blown away by the whole event, however I have seen lots of changes over the years and it is becoming a bit like Whitby for people dressing up in costumes rather the coming to enjoy the music. But each to their own 😉
Recommended places to visit are Völkerschlachtdenkmal, Südfriedhof, Heidnisches Dorf (pagan village) and Moritzbastei which will add to Your great memories of the WGT.
The highlight of this years event is on 12.05.16 when the amusement park BELANTIS will be taken over completely by the visitors of the 25th Wave-Gotik-Treffen. There will be some Mittelalter bands playing and clubnights with something for everyone hopefully 😉 8pm til 5am.
If you care about sound quality/mixing at gigs then the venue to be concerned about is Altes Landratsamt very poor everytime I have been there.
Here are my recommendations of bands to see from not the strongest of WGT line ups(no obvious headline apart from Peter Murphy).