A Scene Report by Luna Pallida
Wave-Gotik Treffen ~ Leipzig, Germany
June 2nd – June 5th 2017
I had the opportunity to experience this year’s Wave-Gotik Treffen (WGT) festival, the 26th WGT, in Leipzig, Germany. I caught an evening flight from New York on the Wednesday before WGT began and landed early on Thursday. Due to the anticipation of the next several days, I was able to steal maybe 2 hours of sleep during the flight. Once I hit the ground and cleared passport control, I headed straight for Berlin’s main train station, Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The train ride from Berlin to Leipzig was only 1 hr and 15 min and more comfortable than I thought. On the train, I had the opportunity to meet a German couple who were also on their way to WGT and, after sharing a beer and conversation, the three of us arrived at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof train station.
At this point of the trip, I had been awake for nearly 24 hours and, although I really wanted to nap, I needed to pick up my tickets. While there are two places to purchase or pick up tickets, I picked up my tickets at the Wily-Brant Platz. Luckily the line was not too bad and moved quite quickly. While in line I met several of my friends and friends to be.
With no time to sleep, I began preparing for Thursday night, which is the unofficial opening of WGT. There were many opening parties to select from and I choose to attend Moritzbastei. This venue was fantastic and certainly made an impression on me. If I had to describe this venue, I would say picture an underground labyrinth with a dungeon-like atmosphere. The main dance floor was set up in a dark room with incredibly high stone vaulted ceilings and a fog machine keeping the dance floor shrouded in mystery, not to mention the music was spot on playing mostly goth and darkwave. While I felt terrible for leaving before my friends and the rest of the dance floor, it was finally time to call it a night at 6:00 am.
Friday, the first official day of WGT, I decided to check out Agra for some shopping. I enjoyed Agra because many of the vendors who attended were those who made many of their own products like Parfume Nior. Despite the terrorist threat which occurred at The Rock am Ring festival in Northern Germany that day, people did not seem deterred from attending the evening’s festivities. That evening I attended the Gothic Pogo party to see the band Madre Del Vizio. Fulvio Tori did not disappoint as his vocals were amazing and full of passion. The band was on point and didn’t miss a beat. Overall they delivered an amazing performance. They choose a selection of songs from their albums Dio Dio Dio and Les Fluers Dul Mal. They drew a large crowd and, even with space at a premium, it did not stop people from dancing.
On a side note, Gothic Pogo party is where I learned about cup deposits. Apparently, in Leipzig you pay a small cup deposit at the bar. This deposit fee varies by venue. I paid anywhere from 0.50 to 2.00 Euros, which you got back when you returned your cup. This was not the case for beer but rather for mixed drinks, wines, and other beverages that required a cup.
Saturday, I went to see Masquerade, Scary Bitches, and Bloody, Dead & Sexy at the Täubchenthal. Although the headlining band was Sex Gang Children, I made the decision to leave and go see The Breath of Life at the Felsenkeller, which fortunately was only stop away on the tram line. The Breath of Life gave a great performance full of commentary and performed not only new songs off their newest album, Under The Falling Stars, but also several beloved favorites such as Nasty Cloud. Unfortunately, the sound system at this venue was terrible which diminished to some extent the quality of the music. The crowd turnout was lower than expected but this could have been due to the fact that, at the same time The Breath of Life was playing, Sex Gang Children and Lebanon Hanover were also performing time. These types of tough choices can make anyone frustrated, but they are also great problems to have!
Cabbing back to the Täubchenthal to catch the When We Were Young Party was well worth it as I got to hear sets from DJs Exploding Boy, Vagabond, and DJane Madlyn. Their sets were a mixture of Gothrock, Deathrock, Darkwave, and Post Punk. What made their sets worth listening to was their ability to play both well-known and obscure tracks from a variety of amazing bands. The atmosphere was energetic and the dance floor was packed.
I do not recall exactly when Saturday melted into Sunday, but at some point I returned home to nap and freshen up my hair and makeup. At the Agra Konzert-Halle, the opening band was She Past Away who put on a great performance although I wished the sound volume was a little higher given that the size of the venue hall was quiet large. Volkan Caner and Idris Akbulut mostly performed tracks from their album Belirdi Gece. Afterward, Gene Loves Jezebel with Jay Aston, Pete Rizzo and James Stevenson delivered what I thought was a pretty good show, darn sibling rivalry. Nevertheless they played one of my favorite songs, Desire. After waiting with much anticipation, The Mission played. After 30 years I have to say they sound virtually the same and delivered a sensational show. They opened with my personal favorite song, Beyond the Pale, and I am pretty sure I was pissing off the people around me as I sang along quite loudly. Moving along they played some material form their newest album, Another Fall From Grace, which I thought was a pretty decent album and recommend it to anyone who has not yet heard it. The Mission packed the venue hall and I was glad that I brought along my fan.
My time at WGT was short. Although the festival lasts until Tuesday, Monday sadly was my last day. So after The Mission I headed over to the Gothic Pogo Party to dance and see my friends. The Gothic Pogo Party was just starting to get lively and, while I did not shut the place down, having left the party a little early at 5:30 am, I heard the party went until 9:30 am Monday morning.
WGT was more than I expected and while I could have crammed in more activities like the Victorian Picnic, Sixtina the Absinth bar, visiting art exhibits, and taking a stroll around a few of Leipzig’s cemeteries, I would not change a thing. I met so many new people, bonded with my close friends, danced to my heart’s content, and had the privilege of seeing many bands that mean so much to me. Besides there is always next year!