Even Mozart appeared.

Wave Gotik Treffen '05, Leipzig, Germany - May 13-16, 2005

Text and photos by: Ricardo Vargas (external photopgrapher and writer)


After 14 years, the world's prime event for the "dark scene" is a total success. Almost nobody thinks about the financial issues this festival experienced five years ago. Since 2001, new organisers run the show and they have injected the Leipzig gathering with new blood.
This year everything worked perfectly and WGT offered 170 performances in 20 different places all over Leipzig - during four days and nights. As far as I know, there were no cancellations and no violence; a completely friendly atmosphere all around.
From Friday May 13 to Monday May 16 about 20 000 visitors from almost 30 countries gathered in the second most important city of Eastern Germany. Leipzig changed its routine and offered a warm welcome to the slightly odd tourists. The city was awake 24 hours a day with all these dressed up people moving around all over the huge city, mostly with the help from the efficient tram system - in particular people use line eleven, which runs between most venues.

The main area Agra, and old fair park, hosted the biggest acts like The Human League who showed why they were stars in the 80's with their long list of classics.

People was anxious to see what Steve Strange in Visage is up to after all these years and he tried to sing and dance like in the past, but it was nothing more than a nice try.
Being from Peru (but living in Sweden) I noticed Hocico was probably the only Latin-American band playing for a big audience. The Mexican cousins and their electro industrial were one of highlights for many visitors.
They were only beaten by Umbra et Imago who played at home in Germany (I'm not sure people outside Germany fully understand this strange band) with the highest attendance of all, I guess. Apparently, there was an incident on stage which included hair on fire. Don't play with matches and candles.

From the smaller stages, I want to mention the two British girls in Client playing electropop with a heart. Countrymen Seize showed a good mix of electro dance and a sensual female voice.

Something to remember: the great show of Das Ich on the outdoor Parkbühne, even though it was raining cats and dogs, people were enjoying this; one of the best shows of the festival and of course Das Ich is the typical WGT act.
Moritzbastei, a network of subterranean chambers, was an important meeting people who came to see bands, drink or shop in the medieval market. The bastion became a natural center when people was downtown.


The program also offered many bands from USA, Australia and Eastern Europe.
- But the concerts are subordinated to the festival experience, says Peter Matzke, the festival's spokeperson. He explains further:
- The exchange for the dark community is what's important - that is why we do not have one-day tickets - we want everyone to come here in order to meet people - and not primarily to see the stars on the stage.
This concept has lasted for a long time and in the end, this is the reason why the organisers expected a third of the visitors to come from abroad; from countries like USA, Mexico, Japan and New Zealand.
I noticed that the average age at Wave Gotik Treffen is higher than at most festivals. Peter Matzke agrees.
- We have seen older visitors appearing for the last three years, he says.
The wave and gothic culture has now existed for over 25 years. For the very first time a gothic Kindergarten was opened and one can see how the organisers care for the new needs the new gothic generation...
I met Michael Brunner, the festival's creator at the new Kindergarten with his five year old daughter Anthea. The 35 year old has never missed a Wave Gotik Treffen and he told how bad he has felt after the financial issues a few years back. But he is pleased to see how the new organisers have transformed Wave Gotik Treffen into the biggest and most important event in its genres.