The Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT) is an annual festival held each year in Leipzig, Germany celebrating “dark” music, fashion, and art. With nearly 20,000 attendees each year, the WGT is one of the world’s largest events celebrating the Steampunk/Goth/Cyber subculture. The annual event started in the late 1980’s, but stalled shortly after inception. It wasn’t until 1991 when it finally found its footing, after the reunification of East and West Germany. WGT always takes place on the weekend around Pentecost (the seventh weekend after Easter,) running Friday through Monday. The 2017 event ran from June 2nd through June 5th and is the WGT’s 26th anniversary. Strict German laws are enforced to protect children and teens, so if you’re planning on attending next year, you’d better check the official website for details. The 2018 dates were recently announced – May 18th through May 21st.
Music and live performances are the focal point of this festival, with anywhere from 150 to 250 bands participating each year. Listeners can step into one of the many participating venues around Leipzig to hear everything from Goth, Experimental, Death Metal, Industrial, Darkwave, Neo-Classical, and Punk just to name a few.
In addition to the music, there are open-air markets selling Goth, pagan, and Viking merchandise, both movie and new music releases, literary events, book signings, Renaissance Fairs, lunch and dinner parties, and for the really adventurous attendees, fetishistic events. The main marketplace is open for the entire duration of the festival is perhaps the largest for the Goth community anywhere in the world.
The most noticeable and intriguing part of Wave-Gotik-Treffen has to be the fashion. The musical line-up is considered second to none and the availability of merchandise is also beyond imagination, but the clothing can’t easily be described due to the variation. The one similarity seems to be the color black; black leather, black lace, black accoutrements, and black make-up are everywhere. Each attendee brings their own unique and amazing presentation to this festival; most take creativity to the very brink.
In what’s now considered the climax of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival is “Obsession Bizarr.” This is an adult fetish party which becomes a playground for obscene ladies, burlesque acts, princesses, maids, masters and slaves, and everything in-between. Vamps, tramps, and those who move silently in the night come together in a sea of vinyl, leather, latex, chains, and exposed flesh. The middle of the arena is a huge dance floor with dark spaces around the perimeter for adult “encounters.” This fetish party claims to have something for everyone, even if they aren’t of the S&M family. It’s a voyeur’s paradise, but one where no camera’s are allowed.