Life’s not all work and no play, and last week I was finally able to make time for something I’ve been been missing out on for the last quarter of a century. It’s basically just the coolest festival ever: the famous “Wave Gotik Treffen” in Leipzig, which has the town turning to the dark side for four days every spring. This year, there were about 23.000 visitors, from several countries, even as far off as the US.
There’s several reasons why WGT is a cult event: over 200 artists performing in numerous venues all over town, two extensive markets (where you can get anything from black clothes to the perfect inventory for surreal nightmares… and mead.), an incredibly diverse general program offering activities ranging from art exhibitions, literary readings and public performances to picnics and even knitting sessions. And the simple pleasure of feeling totally at home in a streetcar filled with fellow black souls, quite a lot of whom are dressed in extremely creative outfits. As “Gothminister” Bjørn Alexander Brem put it during their concert: What makes this festival so special, is that it’s more about the audience than it is about the bands.
And that’s definitely a good thing, because there’s not a chance in hell you’ll be able to see all the bands you’d like to see, especially if you like more than one style of music. You’d just get stuck riding really slow streetcars all weekend. Fortunately, I was forewarned, so my list of “must see”-bands was exceptionally short for a four-day festival. And it still didn’t work. I made it to about half of the events I had planned on. (I was forewarned about that, too, to be honest.)
But I did see some really great gigs (Die Krupps, Dark Fortress, Gothminister, to name but a few). And some that were still worth it even if *insert whatever one likes to rant about*, like Denière Volonté – to begin with, the sound was so bad that literally half of the audience left after a couple songs. Which meant a perfect view of the dancing drummer, the sound engineer obviously getting the hint, and a pretty good show, eventually.
And then there were some that nobody should talk about ever again. (I’ll just say “Swa…” *shush!* Never ever!)
I also managed to meet up with writers Claudia Rapp, Demetria Cornfield and Anja Bagus for a talk and a drink, to look at books, and at people. Last but not least I bought a couple really nice things without busting the airline’s luggage limit. Among them the limited edition “Ætherdeck” by Anja Bagus – a very special set of poker cards, showing characters of her novels on all the trump cards. Besides that, I also brought back a minor cold, major post-festival-blues, way too few pictures, and a bloody heap of plot bunnies running amok.
So it’s back to work now, I guess.