Pavilion parts ways with Whitby Goth Weekend promoter

A tense meeting at the Whitby Pavilion on Wednesday night has resulted in great uncertainty over the future of the UK’s best known goth music festival. The owners of the venue that hosts Whitby Goth Weekend have confirmed they are no longer working with Top Mum Promotions, who have run WGW since 1994.

Dominic Stokes, head of SIV Live, chaired the meeting and confirmed that a breakdown in the relationship between the managers of the Pavilion and the promoters behind Whitby Goth Weekend had occurred. He referred to increasing difficulty in negotiations and alluded to provocative comments on social media that led SIV to be concerned about the “safety and well-being of their staff”.
Top Mum Promotions staff, including original WGW founder Jo Hampshire, were present and hit back at SIV, accusing them of inflexibility in negotiations, and insufficient respect for the importance that Whitby Goth Weekend has to the entire festival and Whitby as a whole.

The accusation was also made that SIV were unwilling to confirm the dates going forward, and that was preventing Top Mum Promotions from negotiating with bands, but Mr. Stokes stood his ground and indicated the dates were very much fixed in SIV’s diary right into the following year and beyond if necessary.

Then, Mr. Stokes made it clear that SIV were not at all interested in a ‘land grab’ or making any plans to run a successor event themselves – whilst paying tribute to the extraordinary work Top Mum Promotions have put into founding and operating Whitby Goth Weekend. SIV are seeking new promoters to work with to run an event at the Pavilion on the dates that traditionally have held goth weekend – from October this year, and into the future.
Representatives from local businesses in Whitby pressed Mr. Stokes for reassurances that SIV are committed to holding a new event, that they will find a new promoter and that if necessary, SIV will help project manage to ensure an event goes ahead – to which Mr. Stokes cautiously agreed.
It has been quite clear from repeated comments that SIV are not seeking ownership or management of events during the goth festival – further confirmed when Mr. Stokes reserved the right as owners to close the Pavilion during the October weekend, should the situation require it.

Suggestions were also made by promoters not linked to Whitby, to consider introducing a ‘promoter’s cooperative’ with multiple interested parties working together for a new event at the Pavilion – the implication also being to hopefully move past the often fractious relationship between events promoters in Whitby during the festival. The concept of working through a committee of intermediaries was tentatively agreeable to both SIV and Top Mum Promotions, but no firm agreement was established.

I asked if SIV would commit to keeping the community updated as to their progress, and Mr. Stokes agreed. He made the point that SIV have no obligation to help run any event, as they are only venue owners – but reminded us of SIV’s community obligations as a charitable foundation, and stressed his enthusiasm to help support an event he termed a ‘cultural phenomenon’!
SIV are committed to working with any promoter – or group thereof – that is interested in running an event, and Mr. Stokes added it would not necessarily be the highest bidder either, indicating a set of requirements he was not at that time ready to release. A committee of interested parties outside the goth community – SIV, Scarborough council, the local tourism board and police representatives – was proposed, and may be introduced in the future as a group working with a promoter or promotions group, at the Pavilion.

Ultimately, the meeting concluded without delivering on its main objective of charting a way forward. What has been established is that Top Mum Promotions are no longer running an event at the Pavilion, but appear to be committed to running an event elsewhere on the same date. I reached out to Jo Hampshire after the event,  and she responded saying

“There is so much more that I could say but what’s important now is to move on for the greater good. My priority always has been the longevity of the goth scene in the UK.”

She then referred to the statement published on the official Whitby Goth Weekend Facebook page, confirming that their event will continue – with traders catered for at the traditional venues of the Leisure Centre and Brunswick Centre. Music events will also continue at the Abbey Wharf which has previously held regular events as part of the official WGW Fringe.

I also reached out to Mr. Stokes of SIV Live, who came back promptly to say

I am totally committed to moving the festival forward and we will be working with partners who have the best interests in the town and the festival as a whole.

SIV now face the unenviable task of sourcing a competent promoter or group of promoters, who can secure eight bands including two headline acts, inside of four months.


The events of Wednesday have shone a light on the peculiar arrangement that exists behind the UK’s most notorious goth event. To SIV, local business owners, tourists, visitors and anyone not enmeshed in the UK goth scene, the entire breakdown appears to be a bizarre and petty slice of goth politics. This is in fact the case.

More than that, it brings into question what the significance of the events at the Pavilion are. As the police representatives reminded us, far more people visit Whitby for the spectacle than for the band lineup. Even in the goth community, how many attend the Pavilion to see the bands? From a cold, practical business perspective, questions must be asked about how to attract attendees in a competitive market. April’s event at the Pavilion was downsized to the Theatre Room of the building, and even that was not filled.
Why, then, do we perceive Top Mum Promotions and Whitby Goth Weekend as the unchallenged and unimpeachable arbiter of events in Whitby? Credit must be paid to their hard work in the past, but calm perspectives must now consider what can be done in the future.

One local business owner at the back of the room stated “The days of the event at the Spa Pavilion setting the dates of goth weekend have passed.” As the corporate owners of Whitby Goth Weekend’s physical home look to a new event, and the community – goths and locals alike – reconsider the entire festival, that statement seems to ring very true indeed.

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The Cure’s Rob Smith ‘Not goth’ // Whitby Goth Weekend ‘Future in discussion’ – DREADLINES

Hello, I’m Tim Sinister with the dreadlines today.

Robert Smith, crooner with original post-punk outfit The Cure, has been doing the rounds with various press outlets promoting his upcoming alt-rock extravaganza, the Meltdown festival in London. Time Out magazine pulled no punches and zeroed in on the goth tag that is the pure-black albatross around Bob’s neck.

None of this is news to anyone, but a few outlets ran with incredulous stories of goth’s ‘clown prince’ abandoning the scene. The Old Guard of goth bands have been distancing themselves from the admittedly cumbersome and limiting tag of goth for decades, ever since the British media decided they needed a neat box to fit in, and we needed a convenient word to annoy our parents with.
Siouxsie Sioux herself, formerly Bob’s lead singer when he played guitar with The Banshees, has always put a considerable distance between herself and the scene that idolizes her, saying

“At a signing the other day, someone asked me how it felt to be the queen of goth. I said, ‘That’s rather like being known as the Prince Regent of Fools.’ I hate all that.”

Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, producers of the most recognizable goth anthem ever, dismisses such associations just as easily. Andrew Eldritch waxes acerbic in that old familiar way and even uses asterisks to obscure the word goth on his website.

So, these articles expressing shock over Robert Smith disavowing goth are really missing the point. Being scorned by our musical heroes is, I think, peak goth.


Another goth institution’s future seems uncertain, as the owners of the venue that hosts the biannual Whitby Goth Weekend are holding an open meeting to “discuss how SIV and the Whitby Pavilion can be a part of the cultural phenomenon that is the Goth Festival in Whitby.” Note they carefully step around using the phrase ‘Whitby Goth Weekend’ which has been copyrighted!

Discussion has been rife on various Facebook groups, and loyal fans are rallying around Top Mum Promotions, the company who have run the Whitby Goth Weekend event since 1994. There are concerns the venue owners are sidelining the original WGW promoters and will instead arrange a new festival to capitalize on the huge influx of visitors the seaside town receives twice a year.

At the same time, it has been observed that the most recent WGW event made an unannounced move to the smaller Theatre inside the Pavilion building with an unusual line-up that wasn’t to all tastes – you can read my personal review here. No formal comment has been made by Whitby Goth Weekend, but the official Facebook page has published dates for October’s event, indicating they are going ahead as planned.

Could it be that the venue owners have decided they can run a more attractive event to push up attendance at the notoriously cavernous Pavilion? The Blogging Goth is headed over today to attend the 6pm meeting and will report back thereafter!

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The Addams Family – Animated Origins!

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The Addams Family – Rebooted! Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, Link

The live-action movies of The Addams Family remain some of my most cherished films, with a stellar cast, superb writing and gorgeous, gloomy design. So I applaud the decision regarding the 2019 adaptation to steer clear of the established canon from the Paramount Pictures releases in the early Nineties.

Originally linked to goth-stereotype director Tim Burton and pitched as a stop-motion animation, the latest update is The Addams Family will instead be fully animated and released by MGM. The casting has now been announced, with a bevy of talented Hollywood A-list actors stepping into the roles.

 

It’s wonderfully close to the ideal, live-action pairing of Oscar Isaac and Eva Green which a few people have pointed out would be aesthetically perfect. At least the art style is linked more closely to original creator Charles Addams’ 1930s look.

Nevertheless, the raw talent in this cast is impressive, and the production team seem experienced – even if joint directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan are better for helming horrible success Sausage Party.
We also have Pamela Pettler, the screenwriter of Burton’s Corpse Bride and 9, joint-producing a screenplay that promises to show the fabled first meeting of Gomez and Morticia, and the beginnings of The Addams Family.  The proposed face-off with a pastel-obsessed reality TV show host seems to hearken back to Joan Cusack’s character Debbie from 1993’s Addams Family Values – not to mention a sly jab at reality TV show hosts in general, even those that have stumbled into higher office!

Indeed, it’s a franchise that can’t seem to be left alone, with studios attempting multiple times to resurrect America’s spookiest family – but time will tell if lightning has struck, or if they should be left to rot in the graveyards of our minds. Snap-snap! 

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World Goth Day 2018 in review

wgd-bannerHere’s hoping everyone celebrated World Goth Day 2018 on Tuesday – that’s the problem with tying it to a date, it moves through the week and is murder on those of us working! I’m especially resentful of everyone enjoying Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Germany, one of the world’s largest and most successful goth/deathrock/alt festivals.

There were also regular complaints about it being held in the Spring, at least in the Northern Hemisphere where England certainly is basking in unexpected heat. You can blame the BBC (for that and much more!) who long ago held a goth-special on Radio 6 and prompted the whole thing. We’ll be carrying on the celebrations into the weekend here in my home of Newcastle, and I hope many other venues will be doing likewise.

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As always it was a blur of energy and action online, with the hashtag peaking early and staying consistently busy.
One major issue with goth is the isolation – you might be the only darkly-inclined one in your community, especially in larger countries, so it’s a helpful, hopeful reminder that a much wider family of cheerful weirdos are just like you and out there doing their thing! So kudos to every selfie, like and retweet that made it out.

I was also impressed with some articles coming out, especially those suggesting playlists – sorry guys, dressing goth but avoiding the tunes really isn’t legitimate. So kudos also to Louder magazine, with a playlist that namechecked some of the golden age artists but worked hard to look up the underrated gems and b-side classics that might get overlooked by a casual hack turning in a routine article. I fucking love Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and that is a banger of a tune from them – much respect.

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I was also impressed with the selection from the Jezebel team, who really trawled their memories and music collections for an esoteric selection of goth – and goth-adjacent – tunes for this article. Tori Amos is absolutely in the Dark Circle of goth-friendly musicians. Rumour has it she was on the verge of a duet with Eldritch but things fell through. I fear we missed out on a classic. Look at that couple! Von is almost smiling

The conventional media had their usual hit-and-miss approach that hinted at a lot of cribbing from Wikipedia and various goth FAQ sites.
I should definitely lead with the fine work done by Alice Cook of Metro UK (even if it is part of the dreaded Daily Mail empire) who took the time to speak to various learned personages of the goth scene; the co-founder of World Goth Day DJ Cruel Britannia, Leeds-based goth svengali Joel Heyes, and a certain Blogging Goth. I feel I’ve lost many points from my already in-debit goth account by smiling in that photo! I fully expect Robert Smith to descend from on high and break my neck beautifully for crimes against goth.

Mind you, at least I didn’t lead an article purporting to be about the history of goth with an image of Cradle of Filth lead singer Dani Filth and a stack of dressed-up weekenders at Whitby. As I commented on Twitter…

That was a very swift glance through social media on World Goth Day 2018. 2019 will be the tenth anniversary year, so get planning now on just how you’re gonna celebrate! We’ll see you there…

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Happy World Goth Day 2018!

happy-goth

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