OVERVIEW OF WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN (WGT) FESTIVAL / LEIPZIG
Welcome to Sadgoth's guide to Wave Gotik Treffen, I hope you will find the answers to all your questions here about Germany, Leipzig and the WGT festival.
Wave Gotik Treffen or WGT (pronounced Ve Ge Te) takes place over the Whitsun (or Pfingsten) weekend in Leipzig Germany every year. It could be said that WGT is the biggest and best gothic festival anywhere in the World (it certainly trumps any other festival that I have attended). This website is my unofficial guide to the festival, it should help you get to Germany and Leipzig and help you get the most out of the festival. This website is update throughout the year, but for up to date announcements and information please join the supporting Sadgoth.com Facebook Group (click on the link in the top banner).
The dates for WGT change from year to year as Whitsun (also known as Pentecost in the Christian calendar) occurs seven weeks (50 days) after Easter, however the date will always fall between the 10th May and the 13th June. It is also worth noting that the dates do not always coincide with Whitsun in the UK or other nations due to the way in which Eastern and Western Christian calendars are calculated. The festival takes place in Germany however there are always attendees from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, France, Russia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and just about every other corner of the World with a alternative subculture, Leipzig really does become the United Nations of Goth for a few days. For a few days each year Leipzig and WGT really are the 'Centre' of the Goth World and everybody in the scene should go at least once, although once you have been you will catch the bug and you will keep on coming back, there is no other festival like it (Personally I have been going every year since 2002).
There are many reasons to go to WGT, but most people will be drawn by the huge list of bands that play, over 220 bands that will play at 50+ venues across the city and your mission (should you choose to except it) is to see as many bands as possible whilst travelling the length and breadth of Leipzig. You dont need to worry about what type of genre of goth music will play, they all do plus many that you have never heard of before, so expect to hear everything from Trad Goth to EBM, from Goth Metal to Neo-Folk and from Medieval to Powernoise (plus there are always Classical and Opera shows to watch as well as free museums and exhibitions and all the supporting events like the Victorian Picnic, Non-Tox, Sixtina etc).
It’s quite hard to describe the feeling of the festival, it has a fabulous laid back atmosphere, and it’s not intimate like many of the UK festivals, although many of the venues are. I guess that's because there are so many ways to experience the festival that everybody will find some way to enjoy themselves. The multinational nature of the festival adds huge amounts of enjoyment to the weekend. Knowing that people have travelled from across the world to be here is very special. No other festival seems to encapsulate this in the same way that WGT does. Eating outside the Agra is like eating at the United Nations, the languages and accents are from just about every corner of the World. Of course the majority of people that you encounter will be German, but not just from Leipzig, like you most will have travelled many miles to get to Leipzig. At the railway station (Hauptbahnhof) you will encounter a sea of black dressed people prior to the festival starting, making you feel at home and safe from the moment you arrive. Leipzig itself is a wonderful City, just walking around the city is most enjoyable, and most of the people in black are truly friendly, if you can’t find something, just ask, the chances are that they will speak some English (or answer you with a broad American accent). And just to note that I have yet to see any trouble in all the years that I have attended, in any festival location.
WGT is unlike many other festivals, it takes over the entire city with venues right across the greater Leipzig area. However there are a number of key venues (although over the years many have come and gone), the biggest festival site is the Agra Messepark where the Headliner bans will play, Heidnisches Dorf (pagan village) is a brilliant location set in the woods where much of the medieval music will play, and then there is the Moritzbastei, the Felsenkeller, Haus Leipzig and the wonderful Volkspalast (to name but a few). Its also worth noting that bands from all the corners of the world will play at the festival, however if you don't know any of the bands or if watching bands is not your thing then don't worry you still have shopping, clubbing and some wonderful sightseeing that should keep you more than occupied. However there is never enough time to see and do everything, and for sure you will be total exhausted at the end of the four days, but totally happy and adamant that you will come back.
So people have asked "what makes WGT different from other music festivals?", my response (and forgive the analogy) is that most festivals are like going to a restaurant, you enter and never leave for the duration of the meal, your options are limited to whats on the menu, and you don't really have to do much, everything is served to you. WGT is different, its more like a buffet restaurant (to continue the analogy), you have to get up and and get what you want, you can pick and choose from a huge range of entertainment whilst wandering around the city enjoying all the sights and scenes and if you don't like what the official festival has to offer then there are a huge amount of 'fringe' entertainment that is put on by supporting clubs, bars and venues that you can indulge in (like the mini synth festival at Non-Tox, bands and reads at Sixtina, and the after parties at Moritzbastei, not to mention the Victorian Picnic and many other events around the city)
So whilst you read my website you should note that I am from the UK, so there is a slight British slant to the information on this site and my writings. The festival morphs each year so this website can only ever be as up to dates as the last festival, therefore you may find that some of the information on this website is out of date, however I have tried to give an honest and realistic explanation of my own experiences or from people that I know who may have a greater understanding of certain aspects of the festival. I have no connection with the organisers (although I do help to moderate the official WGT website forum) and this site is not for profit, there are no adverts, and all costs are borne by me (and thanks to everybody that has contributed over the years).
Many people ask and email me about WGT (normally as they have yet to attend) and my one real piece of advice is always to 'Plan Well', there is so much to do and see, and not really that much time. You should plan early too (if you have the chance), from how you get to Leipzig, to what you take and what bands you want to see, especially if you want to see certain bands. Many people find themselves shopping all day and give themselves no time to see bands, that or you turn up for a band and find it packed and that you cant get in to the venue (a semi regular occurrence). You need to set your priorities and plan the rest of the trip around them. You can always bank on public transport being slower than you thought and more packed. Getting in to see popular bands is always difficult, even at the Agra, the largest festival venue. Get there early and remember Germans don't really queue. However don’t let me put you off by all this, you will have an excellent time, and guaranteed you will want to come back next year, so dont just dream it, get your arse to Leipzig...Do it!
NOTE: Whitsun is a Christian festival which originated from the pagan celebration (Beltane) of Summer's Day or the beginning of the Summer half-year in Europe.
WHERE IS LEIPZIG?
Leipzig is located in Saxony to the East of German at 51.34 latitude and 12.37 longitude and it is situated at elevation 116 meters above sea level approx. 190km south of Berlin