Goth rock legends Fields of the Nephilim and gothic metal pioneers Paradise Lost will headline a brand new event called Tomorrow’s Ghosts, held during the long-running Whitby alternative festival in October.
Following a breakdown in communications between Sheffield International Venues (SIV) division ‘SIVLive’, who operate the Whitby Pavilion, and Top Mum Promotions who have run Whitby Goth Weekend since 1994, the venue has sought a new promoter to run an event during the immensely popular goth festival season – and a new partnership has been struck with Absinthe Promotions.
SIVLive, who operate the venue on behalf of Scarborough Borough Council as part of the not-for-profit Sheffield City Trust (SCT), have a goal of improving the health and wellbeing of its local communities by providing facilities for entertainment, sport and leisure. Their head, Dom Stokes, said in a statement
“It has been well documented that it has been my priority to quickly find a suitable promoter to ensure that the Pavilion continues to host an event during this October’s Goth Festival …
Absinthe know Whitby and they know the community. I first met the guys at Absinthe Promotions after the first public consultation meeting …
When they began talking about how they go about their business, I was immediately drawn to their passion and their drive. More importantly, their commitment to putting on a major music event to appeal and deliver to a real cross section of the Goth and non Goth community during this cultural phenomenon, really shone through.”
Absinthe Promotions have previously run events in Whitby as part of the broad array of events on offer to the thousands of goths and alternative music fans who descend on Whitby twice yearly to celebrate the darker side of music and culture.
There will also be an array of traders in the Pavilion during the weekend of 26th – 28th October, as part of the Dark Days Alternative Market.
I asked Kirstin Lavender, who heads up Absinthe Promotions, how she feels stepping into the challenging position of succeeding Whitby Goth Weekend at the Pavilion. She is confident and hopeful for the future, saying
“I think putting on great bands, established, as well as new acts will keep people interested and bring more people back to Whitby on this weekend. We also want to introduce more diversity over time as seen in the European festivals such as Leipzig and M’era Luna.”
The lineup certainly ensures an impressive variety of household goth names, with stellar ensemble The Eden House and tested veterans The Society, not to mention breaking new talent from hungry new band Sometime the Wolf and eternal goth rockers Salvation. Tickets will be £35 a day or £58 for a weekend – plus booking fees – with weekend tickets available from Friday 13th July (naturally) and day tickets from Wednesday 1st August, all through SIV and the Pavilion.
At the same time, Whitby Goth Weekend has taken the unprecedented step of announcing the next three dates – up to October 2019 – in advance on social media.
No word has yet been released regarding line-up, venues, or prices, and queries on these to Top Mum Promotions have not been answered. The organizers did take exception to the reporting in my previous article, and wished to clarify that their issues with SIVLive leading to the separation involved perceived concerns over the safety of attendees, and the alleged inability of the venue operators to confirm a schedule of dates with Top Mum Promotions. In a statement released on their official Facebook on 15th June, they said
“The Goth weekend is not defined by any one person, venue or activity. Its main objective for the last 24 years has been to provide a place for the lost and lonely to find friendship, camaraderie and a place to ‘be’. It would be spiteful and egocentric to state events as cancelled on the basis of one venue.”
So, 2018 will end as the final year when the various promoters coincide. From 2019, Top Mum’s Whitby Goth Weekend will divert from the dates agreed between SIV and Tomorrow’s Ghosts. Responding to queries, Dom Stokes of SIV candidly stated that
I am aware that WGW have announced some dates that are slightly different for the April 2019 and October 2019 events which is a shame as they were aware of the dates that the Pavilion had however I am confident that the events at the Pavilion will be a success.
The ease with which the dates have been agreed between the venue and the new promoter seems to call into question the argument that SIV were not willing to agree them with Top Mum Promotions, but matters here are uncertain.
It’s also unclear how other promoters in town, who arranged events previously to coincide with WGW will proceed – with events at the Rifle Club, RAW Nightclub and the Metropole Hotel both independent of either Absinthe Promotions or Top Mum Promotions. I suspect they will hang back, identify the most successful promoter, and coordinate with their calendar.
As lines have now been drawn, it will fall to the average punter to decide which lineup attracts them in October, and which weekend they’ll visit Whitby in 2019 – with the numbers alone being a measure of success.
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great line up but is anyone playing on the sunday ?I would love to also see a line up for the sunday 28th October
I believe other promoters will be putting on events between Thursday and Monday. I’ll write another preview as we get more info!
The issue has never been with ‘agreed’ dates. You’ll get plenty of ‘agreed’ dates, WGW did too – what matters is contracted dates. You cannot run an event like WGW without a contracted, sealed, signed and concrete time for the event to run. The calibre of bands that something like Goth Weekend has to work with require contracts, which guarantee payment if the event goes ahead or not. This left WGW with two choices:
1) Not book any bands at all, until the event gets a firm, concrete contract – this was usually very late, leaving not only a delayed lineup but a heavy limited choice, as most acts were then already contracted elsewhere or had April / October tour schedules full.
2) Book bands without a contract with the venue; leaving the event in a precarious position that forces the event into a financial disaster should the date get changed – the venue can legally pull the plug at any moment without a contract. If that happens, who pays out the bands before the show can even make a sale?
If Absinthe have managed to get a firm contract from SIV, that would not only be interesting but would jaunter – for me – towards a complete bias against who they want to work with; IE not a promoter who places decent and appropriate requests for regulations and rules towards protecting their audience.
Long story short, there is an enormous difference between those two phrases. Agreed dates, and contracted dates. You should know that well yourself, and it shouldn’t be too much of a shock for people even outside the circle to understand the issue.
Again, I want you to bear in mind that WGW’s overheads, being a ‘small-town’ set up, are enormous. The venue costs, the costs of specific rooms, the costs of security, of infrastructure, of stage, of fringe venues, of crew – the overheads require significant and hefty investment before the event can even twitch. To then dive in booking without a firm contract would be a damned stupid decision. If there really is a situation here wherein SIV have contracted a date with Absinthe so soon, it would be interesting to find out why.
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