Wave Gotik Treffen Festival 2023 – Review by Malice F * Part 1

WAVE – GOTIK – TREFFEN 26-29/05/2023

REVIEW by Malice F. & George P. for Electrowelt.com

Electrowelt.com keeping up with its tradition, as the only Greek Dark alternative EBM Online Magazine to cover the biggest dark happening for 15 consecutive years, presents the most important moments of the 30th Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig, Germany. For the 30th consecutive year, at Whitsun, THE biggest worldwide music -and not only- gothic festival took place in Leipzig and managed to gather around 20.000 fans from the gothic scene from all over the world, USA, Japan, Australia, Mexico, making it again!

THE biggest international gathering of the dark family. Furthermore, the festival occurred at more than 50 venues all over the city, more than 200 bands performed, gigs from Electro-Pop to Goth-Metal, from EBM to Neofolk, from medieval music to Post Punk and Minimal Synth, plus a fully diverse program like every year, which included art exhibitions, readings and lectures held by various authors, movie presentations at the cinema and the classic autograph sessions. Since there was great demand and interest from WGT visitors in the last few years, this year’s WGT program included once again wonderful classical and chamber music, operas, such as the organ and choir concert.

Art and culture lovers had the chance to admire the historical buildings of the Renaissance, Baroque and Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) eras: the entrance to several of Leipzigs museums was again free of charge for WGT-guests to visit.

The visitors painted once more the city black and had the chance to attend the impressive medieval market and the pagan village at Heidnisches Dorf, where they could step back into the romantic atmosphere of ancient times at the medieval market place at this famous Pagan Village, the impressive Victorian Picnic at Clara Zetkin Park attended by a great number of visitors dressed in historic clothing and costumes and many parties at the wonderful Moritzbastei. For four days a large hall at the AGRA -Messepark transformed into the biggest Gothic-wares marketplace in the world, literally a Goth’s paradise, where you can find a huge variety of clothes, shoes, accessories, and of course many CD & Vinyl stands, where you can spend hours and hours to explore thoroughly (as I always make time to do so).

For all goth fans who are planning their visit it’s useful to know that the inhabitants of Leipzig are extremely friendly, as well as familiar, with the Festival and its’ visitors, gothic guests are very welcome here. The most fascinating aspect of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen is surely its unique magic atmosphere that covers the whole beautiful city of Leipzig. Cheap and entertaining accommodation is available at the huge Treffen camping ground, with a special ticket (called Obsorgekarte). Free use of all public transportation for all WGT visitors really helps too, as long as they present their WGT bracelet or band in German, which also applies for all WGT concerts, performance, as well as free museum entrances. We especially found extremely useful the special tips that WGT each time gives us, one of many reasons we love the WGT festival: apart from famous bands of the scene, the WGT program always includes several hidden treasures and discoveries regarding lesser-known bands that delivered outstanding concerts. Therefore, before visiting the WGT, we definitely would like to suggest to take a closer look into the program and to listen to some sample tracks of the artists you do not know. The WGT app proved to be especially helpful too, to check schedule times and gigs on the road. WGT organizers and press office make the best effort to organize matters efficiently, with the utmost care and respect to all the loyal WGT fans, who keep returning to Leipzig year after year to enjoy themselves and witness the biggest dark gathering of the scene.

Attending the WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN (WGT) in Leipzig is each and every year an experience that surpasses all expectations. As a confluence of the macabre, artistic expression, and diverse musical genres, this goth festival stands as a testament to the vibrant subculture it celebrates.

The festivities started on Thursday 25/05/2023, with warm up dj sets at Agra 4.2 venue, willkommen dj sets at Darkflower & at fabulous KÄTZ club, which is always worthwhile to visit, in order to set the mood and prepare visitors for the start of the festival. There were also warm up festivities at Felsenkeller venue with the classic WGT EBM warm up party and concerts as well as at Moritzbastei with the Electro All Stars for 2023. An awesome start and way to set off the party mood!

Our main agenda and concern are to report to our readers about the music and as many as possible live events and unique concerts that take place at the WGT and that’s what we tried our best t succeed this year too.

♦ Electrowelt WGT 2023 Photo Gallery HERE.

Friday 26/05/2023

Chameleons (UK), Cult of Youth (USA), Fire & Ice (UK)

by Malice F

From the moment I stepped foot in Leipzig, I was engulfed in an enchanting world of darkness and creativity that left an indelible mark on my soul.

We had a plain and train delay too, so unfortunately, we arrived late in the afternoon on Friday and had time, after all the necessary press preparations, to catch the last songs of The CHAMELEONS at Agra concert hall.

Post Punk veterans from Middleton UK, with the band history reaching back to the year 1981. The audience was listening carefully and enjoying every second of the performance. Moving, sentimental and awesome performances, THE CHAMELEONS never disappoint fans. Fortunately, we catched our most favorites, ‘Second Skin’, as why entered the packed venue of Agra and as a fantastic finale ‘In Shreds’, ‘that got the audience into dancing and cheering.

Next thrilling stop was the incredible atmospheric venue of Volkspalast and Kuppelhalle for Fire + Ice mainly. We rushed to the venue, I had little time for some photos for CULT of YOUTH at the Kantine, before heading to the Kuppelhalle for the beloved Mr. Ian Read and FIRE + ICE band.

The fans welcomed them with great enthusiasm, he has loyal fans who adore his music. Read was a member of Sol Invictus, and founded Fire + Ice in 1991. He has collaborated with Current 93, Death in June, so you can understand why he is legendary. He had last played at WGT in 1999, so all of his fans were anxious to see him again live with his orchestra. My favorite were “Dragons in the Sunset”, “Cain” and “Noxialicht”, the audience was mesmerized and extremely moved to Mr. Read’s performance.

We stayed for the wonderful neofolk apocalyptic at the Kantine, marvelous tunes great people. We called it a night, since a demanding next few festival days were ahead of us.

Saturday 27/05/2023

Hocico (Mex), Covenant (S), March Violets (UK), Cold Cave (USA)

by Malice F

Our day started at Agra, catching up with friends from all over the world, at our annual date at the WGT and in between hanging out at the Agra food and beverage stands for the necessary Absinth potions discussing the highlights of the events we see or checking out the fantastic Agra market.

As usual, tough band selections had to be made. There was Absolute Body Control at Haus Leipzig, Merciful Nuns at Hellraiser, I wanted to also check out Ultra Sunn at Moritzbastei… too tough to handle! So, with democratic procedures, we chose to stay at Agra and catch only March Violets at TÃubchenthal.

When we arrived, Nachtmahr were heard very loud, a lot of people inside dancing, having fun. We took our places for our beloved friends and one of the bands we have promoted many times for live gigs here in Greece (Athens & Thessaloniki), Erk, Rasco and HOCICO.

They are definitely a must-see live performance, so energetic it blows you away each time. For WGT they prepared a special introduction with dancers like voodoo witches and impressive props on stage, projections with many pics when they started their music journey in the 90s, it was moving for us, since we met them when they were unknown. It was awesome, packed venue, full of energy, as always. Erk was running up and down interacting with the audience, Rasco was back with his synths, cool power, they were fantastic. They started with ‘Flesh to Lacerate’, ‘Untold Blasphemies’ followed, ‘Bite me’ and ‘Instincts of Pervasion’. Everyone in the venue went mad when they played ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Forgotten Tears’, for the end we had ‘Tiempos de Furia’.

The Swedish COVENANT followed next, they are among the favorite EBM electronic choices of the audience so the venue was full. They started their set with ‘Der Leiermann’, and people went crazy with the hit. The frontman, Eskil Simonsson, commented “So many people from so many places. I’d like tonight music will bring us together” And it did indeed. As usual with a Covenant gig, the stage was full with fog and smoke, difficult task for us photographers😊. We didn’t stay for the whole concert as we wanted to see The MARCH VIOLETS and the venue was pretty far from Agra. We listened to the ‘Bullet’, ‘I close my eyes’, we left at ‘Dead Stars’, unfortunately we missed ‘Stalker’, ‘We stand alone’ and their finale with ‘Call the Ships to Port’.

We rushed at TÃubchenthal It was 22:30, the band was already on stage, the atmosphere was very nice, their performance absolutely great, especially the frontwoman Rosie Garland. The British goth rock post punk band was formed in Leeds, Andrew Eldritch, fellow Leeds man and their co-student then, release their first 7’’ under his label, Merciful Release. Definitely historic stuff, legendary band; Children on Stun, fellow goth post-punk band adopted their name from one of their songs. William Faith at guitar and Tom Ashton too, they were exquisite. We listened to ‘Crocodile Teeth’, ‘Mortality’, ‘Walk into the Sun’, at the 1st encore my favorite ‘Snake Dance’ and they finished with a 2nd encore with ‘Children on Stun’.

We returned at the Agra for the mitternacht special, the performance of COLD CAVE from USA, who were excited to see live, as the influences from Joy Division, New Order are quite obvious in their music. They came on stage around 1:00, the front man as a romantic poetic figure was rather distanced, wearing glasses, lots of smoke and fog on stage for them, the gig was very nice. Highlights were ‘Confetti’, ‘People are Poison’ and ‘Glory’. Soon after we called it a night, I wanted to start early the following day for the folk performance at the unique mesmerizing location of Kirchenruine Wachau.