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WGT 2024: A Gothic Disneyland

Leipzig, Germany, 17-20 May 2024

The Wave-Gotik-Treffen or WGT for us is by far the kind of event that we’d sooner be seen dead than seen not attending it, even though the schedule is ridiculously clashing, we’re dying of heat exposure, those hundreds of events in dozens of different venues are located way too far of each other and the line to Fetish party is a sadistic exam of our patience. Yet no matter what, every May it’s the same procedure as every year and we’re like Gothic snails, carrying everything we own on our backs, heading to Leipzig for the most important Gothic long wickend of the year. Why???!

Because WGT is the world’s largest Goth gathering in the universe and no matter the program, we long to be a part of it and even if alone, feel part of a universal whole that on some level feels like we do, one way or another. And then the program and all other practical aspects of it (hey, did I eat today?) feel secondary.



This year WGT fell on an earlier weekend than usual, which also brought us chillier temperatures than before. For a change, that felt nice, especially to the more Victorian of us, who are layered in bustles and skirts and are usually baking whilst keeping our undisturbed pale faces calm, this time could enjoy the cooler climate. All thank Gods no rain and that was already a win. And this brings me to the biggest event of the first day, and that is Friday’s Victorian Picnic. An event that started small, back at the outskirts of Agra at the other end of the festival, is now a major attraction in the city’s massive Clara Zetkin Park. It’s an event of its own, though free of charge and no one will check your festival pass. However, the park is packed with historical and Victorian-inspired dressed attendees, as well as lovely décor, picnic attire and accessories that would make Tim Burton jealous. By now, many photographers set up their photo booths with carious backgrounds there, inviting you for various photo and video shoots. You should allocate a better part of the afternoon for it if you plan to attend, come prepare with refreshments and a good pit of patience to make your way through the park.

Worth to mention, through the WGT there are other picnics taking place, which likewise are not official parts of the event, nevertheless invite you to be among like-mind aesthetics and make memorable photos in beautiful set up. There is a steampunk picnic, for example, as well.

What festival pass does cover, however, is most of the city of Leipzig, its clubs, art galleries, National Opera and museums. The program you receive along with your wristband gives a good overview of all possibilities, so please put your sleeping on hold until the following week and start making plans! There is also an unofficial App existing, that links to your FB where you can mark where you want to go and see who of your friends might be going, too. This comes in handy and might save you a lot of time, because “omg, where are you?” is the most texted question of WGT of all times, as we all try to navigate our way between all the things we want to see between all the people we want to hang out with.

Agra and the Pagan Village (Heidnisches Dorf or HeiDo for short) are the main points on one side of the city, and Moritz Bastei another in the city center. You might want to make them your two bases and count from there how you want to plan your days and nights. At afterparties, regardless what you do, most often you will end up at Moritz – an old fortress with many dungeon-like pathways and smokey dance floors. The atmosphere is so beautiful and spooky, you’ll want to hang out there and dance, regardless the music. Earlier in the evening they do concerts there as well, however they do get filled quickly and you must be there way in advance if you want to see any. Also, the catering there is great, affordable and very filling! As good as the food is, the seating is very limited, so keep that in mind. But a great location nonetheless. And there is a smaller medieval market at the top of it that is open during the daytime with nice music, food cooked on open-air and some nice merchants to shop from.


A big event of this long weekend is Obsession Bizarr on Saturday night, aka the Fetish party. No photography allowed there, but trust me, when I say that all things kinky and latex and sexy and open are there, whilst set in a beautiful old theater décor with a variety of dance floors, very good DJ sets and an overcrowded section of playrooms that shut down way too early whilst the main floor party is still going. The lines are notoriously long, but it is worth the wait, if that is your scene. Bear in mind, dress code is strict and it will be inspected upon entry.
Since a couple of years, the festival has more than one official market place, one being at Agra hall and one at its unique designated space at the same tram stop as Moritz Bastei. I strongly recommend you visit both, though the latter charges entry fee of 5e that you will get back if you spend over 50e at the shopping are there, just remember to keep your receipt from the entry. Excellent choice of fetish attire as well as general gothic gear will definitely give you enough to shop from at least for one day of the festival.

This might be a shock to many WGT night creatures, but there are bands performing, too! The program is packed with live acts all over the city, so take your pick. It is already a WGT tradition that a) all your favourite bands will be playing on the same day but at different locations and b) all your friends will have a conflicting schedule. And so you will first struggle to make a choice, and then will cancel everything in favour of drinking mead and hanging out with your crew at HeiDo, listening to whoever’s playing there, because that feeling and atmosphere is just priceless. So my advise would be, do not waste time chasing bands, but go for that unique experience of being in a Gothic city, all dressed in black or whatever you feel your most yourself in, and spending time with like-minded people, surrounded by the dark exravaganza. At this point I cannot even say anymore if this is Goth or simply alternative, or some form of modern art, but the way the city feels during those few days over Pfingsten weekend is unlike anything I have ever seen. Like Gothic Disneyland, only more real, more black and heartfelt.

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All that being said, I will mention a few band highlights. For me personally it was Prayers, the Mexican cholo Goth. I didn’t know what to expect but it was so danceable, so cool-looking and somehow so conceptual and unlike other Goth acts I have seen, it was unforgettable. What did I see? – Three angry tattooed guys in black, being angry at the world, but presented in such a way, you won’t confuse them with anything else. Too bad they weren’t available for an interview.

Diva Destruction was another great act I was happy to see live, although again, a classic Gothic girl act, but so genuine and full of energy, I danced the whole show away though I knew only one song! As I am sure was the case for most of the audience, seeing their reaction of her major hit song, but still, the Agra hall was filled and it felt great dancing among it.

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Nitzer Ebb never fail, that is just timeless and I love watching them live. Agra does not have the best sound system, though, but with the charisma of the frontman and the uncompromising beats of their songs, I’ll dance to them in any surroundings.

As the concerts run, the eternal question is – where do we go for after-party? For me the choice always lands on the Dark Romantic Dance, which seems to shift locations as if it is a secret and we never want to be found. From come more easy to get to central spots, this year we found ourselves in the far outskirts of Agra that even local taxi drivers struggled to find. Whilst location itself was a very pretty palace situated in a dark park, getting there and worst, getting out of it, was not fun at all and even scary at times. The pathways were not lit and there was no indication we were even on the right way! Although the party was beautiful and the dance floor did teleport us into some magical faraway world of dark fairytales, I do wish that next year it will return to a more civilized location in the city area.

Overall, WGT is magical, regardless of its line-up. However, as times progress and the popularity increases, I do advise you book your arrangements sooner in advance and opt for more central options. It will save you a lot of transport times and costs, and will make the whole experience more convenient. I also think that staying in Leipzig for a week is just enough time to enjoy the festival and save the travelling dates before and after to separate dates will make it easier, as the last night at Mortiz is very special and you wouldn’t want to rush it.
Outfits-wise this is your chance to go as big and as extravagant as you can possibly imagine, especially on the first 2-3 days of the festivals. By the WGT Monday it is usually good to take an easy day and have a more comfy outfit for a relaxing day before going big again for the last party night out.

If you’re a first-timer and need more advise and insights, I suggest you follow the Sad Goth page on FB, there is a ton of useful information and many friendly members ready to give their expertise on every topic.
There is so much inspiration and so many possibilities to enlarge your Gothic experience in Leipzig, that no matter all the time limitations, schedules and overwhelming impressions, I cannot wait to be there next year again and dance the night away in my most elaborate outfit!

The 32. Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2025 will take place June 06 – 09, 2025 in Leipzig, Germany: WGT Website

Journalist: Marina Minkler
Photos by De Leanne Art @de_leanne

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski