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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 several fairs with medieval, gothic and cultural merchandise.

Wgt 05 agra vorplatz.jpg
WGT in Leipzig
GenreGothic 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
WebsiteOfficial Website Wave-Gotik-Treffen Leipzig

With 18,000[1] to 20,000[2] regular attendants, the WGT is one of the largest events of the gothic, cybergoth, steampunk, and rivethead subcultures worldwide.



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,[3] only a few hundred visitors attended.

In 1991, after the re-unification of Germany, the first official Wave-Gotik-Treffen was held in the Eiskeller club in Leipzig. Since then, the number of visitors has increased greatly.

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.[4] 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]


The major attraction of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen is the band performances. Generally, the number of musical acts is close to 200,[5] spanning the breadth of "dark music" from acoustic folk to medieval-influenced to deathrock, to dark electro, EBM, symphonic metal, gothic metal, industrial.

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

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

Later in the evenings there are many late-night danceclubs every night, with top-name dark music DJs, at venues such as Darkflower[6] and Moritzbastei, as well as a dance area within the main venue itself.


The venues for the Wave-Gotik-Treffen are spread out all over Leipzig.[7][8] When validating their festival ticket, participants receive a wrist band 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.

The main venue is the massive 10,000-person capacity Agra (de) fairground halls, 4.2 miles (6.75 km) south of central Leipzig. The main shopping market in the Agra that runs the entire duration of the festival is perhaps the largest for the goth and "dark culture" community anywhere in the world. 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 just outside the Agra venue or in the hotels and hostels in and around Leipzig. 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.[9]

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. 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.[10] 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, while the official festival starts on Friday and runs until early-morning on Tuesday, as Monday is an official holiday in Germany.

Example recent and/or near future dates:

  • 2018: 18 May to 21 May
  • 2019: 7 June to 10 June
  • 2020: 29 May to 1 June

Further readingEdit

  • Nym, Alexander; Hoffert, Jennifer, eds. (2010). Black Celebration: 20 Years – Wave-Gotik-Treffen. ISBN 3-86211-037-0.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rutkowski, Roman (2004). Das Charisma des Grabes (The Charisma of the Grave) (in German). p. 61. ISBN 3-8334-1351-4.
  2. ^ "Subkultur! — Gothic". Spontis (in German). 2008.
  3. ^ "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).
  4. ^ Lorenz, Kay (16 July 2000). "9. Wave Gotik Treffen Leipzig 09.-11.06.2000". German Rock News (in German).
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External linksEdit