NEWBIE FAQ / - HELP
Welcome to my website, I guess you are thinking about going to the next Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, and you want as much information as possible to help you make decisions, well done, you have come to the right place, however first things first DON'T PANIC!
So if you have never been to WGT before you probably have a host of questions that you want to answer... I will try to answer them here, if you don't see your answer send me your question and I will answer it directly (no worries).
I've planned this website for you, to try and answer the key questions...
First you will need to think about getting to Leipzig
Second you will need accommodation for the period of the festival
Thirdly you will need information about Leipzig and the various venues
I have listed a few key questions below. The rest of this website will answer more of your questions and will go into far more detail on each subject. See you in Leipzig!
I'M A LONE TRAVELLER
Where can I meet friends?
Each year we organise a Pre WGT Meeting to allow first timers and everybody else to meet up and renew friendships and acquaintances. The event takes place on the Thursday evening before WGT. If you are a lone traveller then I highly recommend you come along to give you a chance to meet a few friendly faces (more details in the supporting Facebook Group or on the Pre Meet page of this website)
GETTING TO LEIPZIG - WHEN, WHAT, HOW
When should I book my travel?
This will depend on where you live, if you live outside central Europe then I guess you will be flying into Germany. If you live in the UK then flights will be on sale six/seven months before you travel, go for a budget airline if you can cope with poor customer relations, being treated like cattle and have the ability to keep the weight of your suitcase down, else go for a national carrier. Tickets will be at their cheapest when they first go on sale, and will rise in price rapidly after the first couple of weeks (start checking from early November before WGT if you live in the UK). If you live in the USA then flights will be available early too, however the price will fall, reaching a low point approx two months before you want to fly. If you live outside of Europe / USA then I guess the best advice is to check airline prices as early as possible and purchase your ticket when they reach your budget.
What method should I use to get to Germany?
If you live on mainland Europe or you don't like air travel then you can drive to Leipzig or get the train. Driving will take the longest, approximately 24 hours from the UK (depending on where you live in the UK). Train travel will be quite expensive, more so than using a budget airline. You should be able to book a ticket right across Europe from a travel agent or on the web depending once again on where you live. If you live outside of Europe you may find it cheaper to fly to the UK or another European Capital and then use a budget airline to get to Germany. The cost of an average budget airline ticket form Stanstead London to Berlin (return) is £100 depending on when you book the flight.
What is the best Airport to fly into?
You have a few choices, there are two similar airports in Berlin and two small airports around Leipzig. Once again depending on where you live will dictate where you can fly into. If you live outside Europe then you will probably fly into Tegel Airport, west Berlin or Schonefeld, south Berlin. In you live in the UK you will have the choice of all four airports above, depending on what airline you use. All have their advantages and disadvantages, however they all provide easy access to Leipzig by public transport. NOTE: From 2020 Schonefeld will become Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport and Tegal will close.
How do I get to Leipzig from Berlin?
The best method is the ICE train, it takes an hour and twenty minutes to travel the 120km from Berlin to Leipzig with only a couple of stops on the way. I advise purchasing your train ticket online before you travel and then simply making your way to Berlin Hauptbahnhof for the trip down to Leipzig. If you don't book a train ticket you may well find yourself standing all the way to Leipzig as the train is very often full, and most Germans book in advance so that seats are reserved.
ACCOMMODATION - WHERE
Where should I stay?
Your accommodation in Leipzig will once again depend on your budget. You have a few options, there are a host of hotels in and around Leipzig, or you could use one of the few hostels, or you could decide that you want to camp. If you go for a hotel pick one that is within your budget range as close to the Hauptbahnhof in Leipzig as possible (that way you will be central to all the venues and the best of the shopping in Leipzig). The same goes for the Hostels. If you are camping you have fewer choices, you can camp at the Agra the main venue for WGT or on one of the outer town sites. I have provided a list of 80 hotels on the Leipzig Hotels page.
When should I book?
Book your hotel/hostel as soon as you know you want to go to the next WGT. I book a year in advance, reserve your hotel (its free) send them an email or use their site. The later you book the less choice you will have. Wave Gotik Treffen is not the only event that will happen in Leipzig whilst you are there as it is bank holiday weekend. If you are going to camp at the Agra simply book your WGT ticket and camping ticket at the same time from the official website. Hostels will fill very fast, once again send them an email as soon as you can to reserve your place.
When is the latest that I can book a hotel?
Although all the popular hotels fill fast you can book a decent hotel up to 1-2 week before WGT. I have done this for friends and people that have asked for help with booking. Many of the people that reserve hotel rooms will hand them back (especially if they have to travel long distance, and don't have the funds to make it to the festival) about a month before the festival.
What is the best hotel in Leipzig?
Tough question, depends on what you want...
The Steigenberger Grandhotel if you want five star accommodation.
The Hotel Ibis Leipzig Zentrum if you want value for money.
The Seaside Park Hotel if you want four star luxury at an excellent price.
The Hostel Sleepy Lion if you want cheapness with excellent facilities and a building full of Goths.
The Novotel or Holiday Inn if you want an average type of hotel in the centre of town.
WGT FESTIVAL - OFFICIAL WGT PROGRAM / WEBSITE
When can I buy tickets?
Tickets go on sale normally at the beginning of March before WGT, check out the Tickets page of the official WGT Website.
What no bands announced, when will we know who is playing WGT?
Don't panic, every year people ask the same thing, When will bands start to be announced? When will tickets go on sale? Is the festival still taking place this year?
DON'T PANIC! The official WGT Website normally starts to post updates from the Feb/ Mar before WGT (or has done for the past few years). This may seem very late for those travelling long distance, and causes much consternation on various forums but don't worry the festival will take place.
Why does it take so long to make announcement?
Well the festival organisers have much to plan including the selection of bands from the 7000 that apply together with written confirmation from each that they will attend, selection of DJs from the 2000 that apply, finding 20+ empty venues, Safety planning, local transport negotiations, security organisation and all the city bureaucracy that must go with all of the above (and don't forget the festival takes place over a bank holiday so much will be happening across the city the same weekend). Because the festival is unlike any other you can well imagine that the organisation is difficult and protracted...be patient, information and band listings will start in March.
When does the Official WGT Program get published on the WGT Website?
Don't panic the Official WGT Website does not publish the program till about 2 weeks before the festival. Only when all the venues and bands have confirmed 100% is the program slowly published. It will be updated daily, so Don't print it until you travel.
Where do I get an Official WGT Program?
When you go to get your wristbands or tickets in Leipzig you should also receive a folded black map of Leipzig, this will also have the full WGT program on the reverse. The program will have all the venue on it and all the bands and other events that are taking place. If you fail to get your hands on a program when you get your wristbands I would suggest heading to the WGT stall at the Agra where they normally have spare programs. Last years Map is available on the Maps page of this site.
LEIPZIG & WGT VENUES - MORE INFO
What is the best method of getting around Leipzig?
Trams are the best method for getting around Leipzig, once you have your WGT ticket and armband you have free travel on public transport (Note: Free travel is normally from noon Friday to noon Tuesday). If you are burdened with shopping then I recommend jumping in one of the many taxis, they are quite cheap. There is even a special WGT Tram number 31, this runs from the Hauptbahnhof to the Agra via the Kolhrabizirkus.
What is the main venue of the festival?
The Agra is the main location of the festival, there are 20 or so other venues but nothing the size of the Agra. If you didn't want to travel
around Leipzig you could spend all your time here (although that would be an utter shame, as you would not see the delights of the other venues).
What will the weather be like during WGT?
Leipzig has a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters, although there can be the odd cold snap when the temperature drops below freezing. The average annual rainfall is 760 millimetres (30 inches), between 50 and 75 millimetres (two and three inches) each month. Average temperatures range from around zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit) in July and August. Over the past 8 years we have had WGTs of burning heat and torrential rainfall, be prepared if you are camping and everybody should take an umbrella. The Agra can get very wet if it rains, long frocks / dresses are best left in your hotel room if it looks like rain.
Is Leipzig safe?
The simple answer is yes, or its as safe as any other city in Germany. I have never heard of any trouble or muggings etc. The festival has been going on for many years and the locals seem to either stare in wonder or not notice us.
I'm not Caucasian/European will I be safe?
The simple answer again is yes. The Festival has a very international flavour (with bands from all over the world playing) that will bring people from every part of the world. There used to be a Goth/Fetish Shop in town ‘Hautnah’ that had a map of the world at the back of their store, they encouraged you to place a pin in the map to show where you are from, by the end of the four days the map was always covered, people will be at WGT that have come from South Africa, the USA, Australia, Japan, Chile, Israel, Mexico and just about every other nation. I personally have found all these Goths from other nations to be extremely friendly, always willing to help you out if you can’t find something or to point you in the right direction if you are lost.
What about all the refugee immigrants in Leipzig?
Well in 2016 there was not a single incident involving any of the so call immigrants, in fact in most cases people did not even see an immigrant, so there is nothing to fear, Leipzig is safe.
Im Gay will I be safe?
Simply yes, or as safe as anybody else
Im Gay what is there to do?
Glitter+Trauma: queer Wave party for gothic girls, indie boys, sissy punks and trans rockers during the annual Wave Gothic meeting in Leipzig, it takes place from 23:00 at the Sweat Club (Peterssteinweg 17). Apart from that the very small gay scene in Leipzig is in the center of the city and of its night life. Leipzig doesn't have a gay area. But most of the gay bars and clubs are located within or close to the ring that encloses the city center and they can all be reached easily within a few minutes.
GERMANY - GENERAL INFO
Will my Mobile Phone work in Leipzig/Germany?
So long as you have enabled it via your service operator you should have no trouble making and receiving calls in Germany. There is excellent reception just about everywhere except the Moritzbastei (as its underground). If you have a smart phone it is advised that you turn the internet off, else you face a large bill when you get home.
What is the Time Zone in Leipzig/Germany?
German time is GMT + 1
This is the important bit it, remember to change your watch. It sounds like quite a simple task, however many people are caught out each year, several people I know (including myself) have failed to change their watch and turned up late to meet people on the first day (and I even managed to miss most of a band that I wanted to see on the Friday because I had failed to change my watch). Simple, but with so much going on it becomes one of them things you forget to do.
Do I need to learn German before I go to Germany?
Whilst not 100% necessary it would be good if you know a few words of thanks. You may get a little stuck in bars and restaurants if you don't know any German. Learn to order a beer, good morning etc. One positive outcome of the World Cup being held in Germany in 2006 (and of Leipzig being a host City) was that many people have been taught English, many Taxi drivers can now converse with you as can many restaurant staff, and some trams have announcements in German and English.
The BBC website has some lessons to learn the very basics, if you have the time its worth checking it out. Other than that I would not worry about it.
SOME OTHER INFO FOR NEWBIES
So here is some more random info for those going to Leipzig for the first time
Of Brightly Painted Lions
You will see these all over the city, they seem to be everywhere. They are all part of Leipzig’s Olympic Games Bid, probably the 2018 bid now that London have won the host city for 2012. In Berlin they have something similar only in Berlin they have Bears.
What to Wear
With baggage allowances restricting what you can take with you its hard to look exceptional. With such long days I advise that you dress as well as you can but stay comfortable, however don’t expect to look the best, some people really go for it and wear some amazing clothes and have fabulous make up. Just one other thing to note, if you’re into the military look, be aware that it is illegal to display any reference to the Swastika or to wear the Totenkopf (see below). Many Germans wear militaristic clothing but not with all the emblems (a German citizen was given a suspended two year jail sentence for wearing the ‘Hitler on Tour’ t-shirt that was also popular during the 80s in the UK).
Also note there are few places to sit at most of the venues where you will see bands play. If you have a long day of watching bands you may want to wear clothes that are appropriate for sitting on the ground. Many people will dress to excess just to go shopping in the Agra, however you very rarely see these people late at night.
What NOT to Wear
The wearing of NSDAP / Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, and has been highlighted on the Leipzig Police website, it would be unwise to wear these or any other extremist group badge (you may find that many Germans are quite vocal and may get unpleasant if you wear these symbols).
Shoe and Boot advice
Now am I being stupid in giving advice about shoes/boots? Well if you read just about any review of WGT then you will read about how sore peoples feet were after four days of standing on concrete. If you work on your feet you will probably be OK, for the rest of us mortals wear shoes/boots that are comfortable (or take a second pair to change into), make sure you break in your Boots / New Rocks before you go to Leipzig. You have been warned 'Treffen Foot' is a common complaint after a few days.
Drug Free Festival
I have never been offered drugs in Leipzig, and to my limited knowledge I have never seen drugs being used at any event or venue. If you are going to WGT to rave your nights away then you may find yourself disappointed. Its not my place to judge, its just not my thing but I am quite happy that the festival seems to be drug free.
A few people have asked about German Goths over the last couple of years, they have asked will they be safe dressing up in amongst German Goths or is there a difference. If I had to give an answer and if I was to use a stereotype for each country then I would say that the average German Goth tended to dress more Trad Goth style, more lace and frills than we certainly see/wear in the UK. There are also less New Rocks, the preference seems to be for a high paratrooper boot with buckles. However that said there is no way of spotting the difference as Leipzig will be full of Goths from all around the World. Check out the Photo gallery on the official WGT website, here you will find hundreds of photos of people that attend the festival.
I got called a 'Grufti' what does it mean?
You may hear or be called 'Grufti' whilst walking around Leipzig, Don't worry you are not being insulted. Since the mid-1980s, the followers of a youth culture in the Central European post-punk / gothic - and wave motion have been called Grufti. In 1980s and early 1990s, members of an emerging subculture in Germany were called Grufti[e]s (English "vault creatures" or "tomb creatures"); they generally followed a fusion of the gothic and new wave with an influence of new romantic, and formed the early stages of the "dark culture".
If you have any questions I would suggest you join one of the many forums / message boards listed here