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Wgt 05 agra vorplatz.jpg
WGT in Leipzig
Genre Gothic rock, gothic metal, EBM, industrial, noise, darkwave, neo-folk, neo-classical, medieval, experimental, deathrock, punk, symphonic metal
Dates4 days on Whitsuntide
Location(s) Leipzig, Germany
Years active1991 – present
Website Official Website Wave-Gotik-Treffen Leipzig

Wave-Gotik-Treffen (German Treffen means 'meeting') is an annual world festival for "dark" music and "dark culture" in Leipzig, Germany. 150+ bands and artists from various backgrounds (gothic rock, gothic metal, EBM, industrial, noise, darkwave, neo-folk, neo-classical, medieval, experimental, deathrock and punk music being examples) play at several venues throughout the city over four days on Whitsuntide. The festival also features multiple all-night dance club parties, several fairs with medieval, gothic, and related merchandise, a variety of cultural exhibitions and performances, large themed picnics, and a number of unofficial fringe events. [1]

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Meeting event in which two or more people assemble

A meeting is when two or more people come together to discuss one or more topics, often in a formal or business setting, but meetings also occur in a variety of other environments. Many various types of meetings exist.

Dark culture, also called dark alternative scene, includes goth and dark wave culture, electro subculture and parts of the neofolk and post-industrial subcultures. In this context the "culture" is not to be understood as closed subculture, but as social environment, a milieu, which comprises people with similar interests and preferences.


With 18,000 [2] to 20,000 [3] regular attendants, the WGT is one of the largest events of the gothic, cybergoth, steampunk, and rivethead subcultures worldwide.

Goth subculture contemporary subculture

The goth subculture is a subculture that began in England during the early 1980s, where it developed from the audience of gothic rock, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The name, goth subculture, was derived directly from the music genre. Notable post-punk groups that presaged that genre and helped develop and shape the subculture, include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus and The Cure. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify and spread throughout the world. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from 19th-century Gothic literature and gothic horror films. The scene is centered on music festivals, nightclubs and organized meetings, especially in Western Europe.

Cybergoth subculture that derives from elements of cyberpunk, goth, raver, and rivethead fashion

Cybergoth is a subculture that derives from elements of goth, raver, and rivethead fashion. Unlike traditional goths, Cybergoths primarily listen to electronic music more often than rock music.

Steampunk Science fiction genre inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century British Victorian era or the American "Wild West", in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. However, steampunk and neo-Victorian are different in that the neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk.


A first attempt at a Treffen was made in 1987 in Potsdam. However, as the laws of the German Democratic Republic made this kind of event illegal, [4] only a few hundred visitors attended.

Potsdam Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Potsdam is the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital, Berlin, and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel some 25 kilometres southwest of Berlin's city centre.

In 1991, after the re-unification of Germany, the first official Wave-Gotik-Treffen was held in the Eiskeller club (now Conne Island [5] ) in Leipzig. Since then, the number of visitors has increased greatly.

German reunification Process in 1990 in which East and West Germany once again became one country

The German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz (constitution) Article 23. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity, celebrated on 3 October. Following German reunification, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the German federal state of Saxony. With a population of 587,857 inhabitants as of 2018, it is Germany's eighth most populous city as well as the second most populous city in the area of former East Germany after (East) Berlin. Together with Halle (Saale), the largest city of the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt, the city forms the polycentric conurbation of Leipzig-Halle. Between the two cities lies Leipzig/Halle International Airport.

Umbra et Imago music band performs at WGT, 2014 2014 WGT 253 Umbra Et Imago.jpg
Umbra et Imago music band performs at WGT, 2014

The largest installment of the WGT was the one in the year 2000 with over 300 acts and an estimated 25,000 visitors. [6] However, that year's festival suffered financial collapse on the third day and had to be aborted. After all festival security guards, most bands and much of the technical staff had left, volunteer helpers and several bands who played for free staged a final concert. Contrary to police expectations[ citation needed ], no rioting of any sort occurred.[ citation needed ]


A major attraction of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen is the band performances. Generally, the number of musical acts is close to 200, [7] spanning the breadth of "dark music" from acoustic folk to medieval-influenced to deathrock, to dark electro, EBM, symphonic metal, gothic metal, industrial. A limited number of free tickets are also available for those officially participating in the festival to attend opera performances, classical music concerts, theatre, and ballet. [1]

Deathrock is a rock music subgenre incorporating horror elements and gothic theatrics. It emerged from punk rock on the West Coast of the United States in the early 1980s and overlaps with the gothic rock and horror punk genres. Notable deathrock acts include Christian Death, Kommunity FK, 45 Grave, and Super Heroines.

Electronic body music (EBM) is a genre of electronic music that combines elements of industrial music and synth-punk. It developed in the early 1980s in Germany and Belgium and came to prominence in Belgium at the end of the decade. EBM was generally considered a part of the European new wave and post-punk movement and the first style that blended synthesized sounds with an ecstatic style of dancing.

Symphonic metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music which combines the heavy drums and guitars of metal with different elements of orchestral classical music, such as symphonic instruments, choirs and sometimes a full orchestra. Keyboards reminiscent of power metal are also sometimes featured.

Participants at the Festival's Friday "Victorian" picnic. (2016) WGT2016.jpg
Participants at the Festival's Friday "Victorian" picnic. (2016)

There's a shopping market in the main event venue that runs the entire duration of the festival and is perhaps the largest for the goth and "dark culture" community anywhere in the world. Several permanent shops in Leipzig also specialize in gothic-style clothing, shoes, and accessories, and can feature promotions during the event. [8]

Many museums in Leipzig such as the Egyptian Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Grassi Museums offer free admission or special guided tours for paid festival attendees. [1]

In addition, there are Renaissance fairs, Viking and Pagan markets, themed picnics, Gothic Romance events, CD/DVD and film premieres, literary readings, lectures and discussions, [9] artist signing events, brunches celebrating absinthe, and fetishistic events. [8]

Later in the evenings there are many late-night danceclubs every night, with top-name dark music DJs, at venues such as Darkflower and Moritzbastei, as well as a dance area within the main venue itself.

Many fringe events with separate admission take place in Leipzig simultaneously with Wave-Gotik-Treffen. There's an electronic music festival at NonTox, a "Gothic Pogo" festival [10] , free events like Victorian and steampunk picnics and a "Victorian Village," and more. [1]


The venues for the Wave-Gotik-Treffen are spread out all over Leipzig. [11] [12] [13] When validating their festival ticket, participants receive a wrist band [14] which gives them entry to the event venues and entitles them to free usage of the city's public transportation, such as bus, tram, and local train, for the length of the festival. [14] [1]

The main venue is the massive 10,000-person capacity Agra (de) fairground halls, 4.2 miles (6.75 km) south of central Leipzig. [15] One of the two largest halls at the Agra is for the headline concerts, the other is for the main shopping market, and a third hall at the Agra houses a bistro area and a dance forum with many well-known DJs. In front of the Agra halls 1 and 2 is the "promenade" of the festival. The dozen-or-more additional venues for the WGT concerts and activities are as varied as the events, from the stately Schauspielhaus to the somber Krypta of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal to the Parkbühne under the trees.

Festival participants typically stay either in designated camping areas on the Agra grounds near the main venue or in the hotels and hostels in and around Leipzig. [1] [8] In order to stay at camping areas, participants must pay extra for an Obsorgekarte, which gives them a version of the wrist band that allows campground access. [14]

Many food and drinks vendors set up stands in the "promenade" outside the Agra halls. Attendees with Obsorgekarte tickets/wristbands for camping may bring in their own food and drinks, which is otherwise restricted. [14] Official drinks vendors use sturdy "Wave Gotik Treffen" branded plastic cups instead of disposable ones, for which a deposit (pfand) is required. Attendees may keep cups as souvenirs, or return them for a refund of the deposit. This arrangement greatly reduces the waste and needed cleanup of disposable containers around the venues.


The dates of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen vary from year to year. It is held on the German holiday weekend of Pfingsten, known in English as Pentecost or Whitsun. [14] This is on the Sunday seven weeks after Easter and can range from as early as May 10 to as late as June 13 (see List of Pentecost dates, 2002–2020). Unofficial events start in Leipzig on the Thursday night preceding the date of Pfingsten, with activities such as a social gathering for English-speaking attendees [16] and multiple dance club nights with DJs in the Agra's bistro area as well as at local venues like Darkflower, Moritzbastei, and others. The official festival starts on Friday, and as Monday is a public holiday in Germany the events run until the end of the all-night farewell club parties in the early morning on Tuesday.

Example recent and/or near future dates: [17]

Further reading

See also

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  2. Rutkowski, Roman (2004). Das Charisma des Grabes (The Charisma of the Grave) (in German). p. 61. ISBN   3-8334-1351-4.
  3. "Subkultur! — Gothic". Spontis (in German). 2008.
  4. "Wave Gotik Treffen 2008". Terrorverlag. Alternative Music Webzine (in German). In the former GDR, devotees of Dark Wave music were given quite a run for their money. ... many events were prohibited and dissolved (In der ehemaligen DDR wurde es den Anhängern der Dark-Wave-Musik nicht gerade leicht gemacht. ... viele Veranstaltungen wurden verboten oder aufgelöst).
  5. "20 Jahre Conne Island :: Chronik" (in German). June 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  6. Lorenz, Kay (16 July 2000). "9. Wave Gotik Treffen Leipzig 09.-11.06.2000". German Rock News (in German).
  7. http://www.wave-gotik-treffen.de/english/past.php
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  9. Jen Hoffert-Karas (4 June 2019). "Wave-Gotik-Treffen: an international perspective". The Leipzig Glocal. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  10. http://www.gothicpogo.com/
  11. "Locations". ~ Official Website Wave-Gotik-Treffen Leipzig ~. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  12. "MAIN VENUES - OVERVIEW". Sadgoth. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  13. "MAPS - USEFUL". Sadgoth. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 "WGT F.A.Q." ~ Official Website Wave-Gotik-Treffen Leipzig ~. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  15. Adam Carrington (28 May 2018). "WGT: Descent on Agra Park (and Dölitz)". The Leipzig Glocal. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  16. "SADGOTH WGT PRE-MEET". Sadgoth. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  17. "THE NEXT WGT". Sadgoth. Retrieved 24 August 2019.

Coordinates: 51°20′25″N12°22′29″E / 51.3403°N 12.3747°E / 51.3403; 12.3747