Strange times are these indeed. Despite official government guidelines giving the figurative green light to all and sundry events, the expected roaring return of the Goth Weekend to Whitby has ended up more of a tentative toe in the water.
For those looking into the Whitby goth phenomena for the first time, it’s important to distinguish between the Goth Weekend in Whitby, which is a collection of alternative music, shopping and other events held biannually, on or around the last weekends of April and October – and the Whitby Goth Weekend (WGW), a collection of alternative music, shopping and other events held over those same weekends and promoted by just one organiser.
The terms can be used interchangably, but some nuance should be employed especially when referring to events not operated by Top Mum Promotions – see updates from this blog ad naseum. Crucially as well, Absinthe Promotions have handed over running of Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival to another company, having successfully launched a new festival in 2018 that took over at the Whitby Pavilion and became the de facto ‘main event’.
Citing the impossible administrative load, those new promoters have instead delayed Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival until October 2022 and for the first time in Whitby history there will not be the usual Friday-Saturday evening gigs. Stepping into the breach is the Leeds Festival of Gothica, who have organised major alternative markets in West Yorkshire and are bringing that experience to Whitby for the April event, with a major trading event during the day.
As well as that immense shopping experience, there’s also music in the afternoon courtesy of revolutionary-romantic goth lone-wolf Byronic Sex and Exile, and visual delights via the Matinee Macabre.
For those who prefer some entertainment in the evenings as well, the Marquis Masquerade continue to run live music up at the Metropole Hotel as they have done for many years – amassing line-ups of intriguing and experience artists! Both Friday and Saturday night have bands and DJs until the small hours for all creatures of the night…
Perhaps, like many, you’ll want to pay a visit to the beautifully desolate ruins of Whitby Abbey? If so, why not make a five minute detor and reward yourself with a pint and a free gig at the Whitby Brewery on Saturday 23rd?
Meanwhile, at the Rifle Club fans of iconic movies can enjoy screenings of the definitive vampire movie, Nosferatu, on the centenary of its release. There’s a bar and a unique musical accompaniment for the connoisseurs!
Top Mum Promotions continue to operate the Bizarre Bazaar at the Leisure Centre and Brunswick Market, the longest-running shopping experience during the weekend. Evening events come courtesy of Stars and Moon Promotions, who have DJs every night of the weekend playing alternative music at the Abbey Wharf venue in Whitby old town.
There will of course be the usual crowds besieging this compact little seaside town, keen to parade their latest outfits for the sightseers and photographers. I’ve always tried to skirt this politely, acknowledging that the carnival atmosphere they inspire is fun, and there’s no ‘goth police’ to haul them away for being unable to name every Bauhaus B-Side, and as long as your fun isn’t hurting anyone else then what’s the problem? Instead, I have always obliquely suggested that I don’t like the representation of my subculture I see in all the media coverage of the event.
So I was grateful to be contacted by Adam from BBC Radio Tees in November last year, to speak about Whitby as a long-term attendee alongside Dr Nally of Northumbria University. I was positive and upbeat about the whole festival, including those parts that have nothing to do with the events or the music – but I’m eternally grateful for the question he asks at 05:12 …
I’ve tried to cover all the events I know are running – please let me know if I’ve missed anything, and may I recommend the highly comprehensive Goth Calendar website? Please utilise this resource to promote your events and ensure UK Goth is fully updated on all happenings!
Will you be coming to Whitby for this April’s weekend? Will you hold off until the main event returns in October? What puts you off, and what would you like to see? Let me know in the comments!
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Things sure have changed! I am not one to wallow in nostalgia, but I am glad to have experienced and been part of the “OG” Whitby Gothic Weekend events of the 90’s.
That said, I hope the actual goth music events still continue in the town & I hope we will visit again.
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I’m very jealous, my first Whitby wasn’t until 2007!
There are plenty of gigs still, I’m pleased to report. Look forward to seeing you there sometime!
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Sexy Sunday events still running and now longest running events in this old seaside town….
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Thanks Julia, do you have a flyer or event I can link people to? 🙂
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