Happy Spooktober! It’s that time of the year when goths begin rooting around in their cavernous wardrobes for their few remaining matching blacks, and disentagling their boot laces ahead of the journey to Whitby for the premier UK goth festival. Once again I’m looking ahead and giving you a roundup of the array of events on offer.
The entire weekend has always orbited the live music at Whitby Pavilion – so let us welcome the new promoters behind Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival (TGF), and give a heartfelt thanks to Kirstin and Paul who have understandably stepped back from running a massive music event twice a year!
TGF has held court at the Pavilion since 2018 and the new management are ensuring a good mix of heavy-hitter big names and hungry new artists to appeal to the crowd. They’re also relying on tried and tested DJs in the form of legendary Leeds night Carpe Noctum, as well as guets from the auspicious Planet X club in Liverpool – so expect dancing from after the bands are finished to 2AM!
That takes care of Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October – but goths will be pouring into Whitby from Wednesday until the following week. What else is on offer for the legions of the damned?
The Abbey Wharf Bar & Restaurant faithfully offers entertainment every night from Thursday to Sunday, with DJs spinning tunes for good causes right in the heart of Whitby Old Town, under the banner of the original Whitby Goth Weekend (for the distinction between Whitby Goth Festival and Whitby Goth Weekend, please see blog entries passim).
The Metropole Hotel hope to lure in more music fans with events on Friday and Saturday, and may be a more tempting alternative if your wallet is feeling more squeezed than your bones in a corset! On Friday you can enjoy the premier Siouxsie Sioux tribute with Lizzie and the Banshees, supported by local darkwave duo The Scarlet Hour (with a suspiciously familiar frontman!) courtesy of Flag Promotions. Then on Saturday it’s a Marquis Masquerade extravaganza, with four bands and DJs until the small hours!
If you can manage the daunting climb to Whitby Abbey on Saturday afternoon, why not go a few more steps and reward yourself with a pint at Whitby Brewery. They’ll even throw in a free music event for you!
Only launched in 2019 it’s already amassing a loyal attendance, and is featuring the soaring stars from Whitby’s very own Westenra, joined by dark romantics Last July and angry industrialists Play/Dead. There’s also DJs from neighbouring Scarborough’s alternative night Resurrection to keep the beat going between bands. For the princely sum of 0p, this comes highly recommended (the beer is also excellent).
From Sunday, the events begin to wind down slightly, even with Halloween itself looming over the end of the weekend. You can rely on the longstanding, raunchy and raucous duo of Sexy Sunday and Manic Monday however – both are held at the Metropole Hotel and are a more familiar club-sized event with DJs until late.
Aside from the music (and the booze) another major draw in Whitby is the shopping. Markets abound with traders varied and weird throughout! Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival have the Pavilion open 10-5 Friday and Saturday, and 10-3 Sunday – and no ticket is required to visit the stalls either!
Although there’s no currently up to date information, the Bizarre Bazaar as operated by Whitby Goth Weekend is always held at the Leisure Centre and Brunswick Centre from Friday until Sunday with myriad vendors at your service. Best to double-check online closer to the date, to avoid disappointment.
Offering an alternative to the alternative, those canny souls behind Whitby Steampunk Weekend are also hosting traders and events if your tastes run more to brass goggles than mirrored aviators, at the Royal Hotel on Saturday and Sunday.
You’ll find many shops throughout the scenic town cater specifically to the sudden influx of the black-clad masses over the weekend, so we recommend wandering and seeing what you discover in each shop window!
No word yet on the enduring phenomena that is the Charity Football Match, but if it is announced I cannot recommend a Sunday entertainment higher! For the very best of causes, even the most ardent anti-football fan can get something out of the rowdy crowd, mocking commentators and ‘varied’ skill demonstrated on the pitch.
I hope I haven’t missed anything, but drop into the comments or on my social media to update me! Say ‘Hello’ if you see me drifting around as well, and don’t feel bad if you haven’t been able to make it. Even in the face of a crippling cost-of-living crisis and the exorbitant costs of travelling to and staying in Whitby, TGF is nearly entirely sold out.
Now more than ever, we should remind ourselves that goth also flourishes in the regional club and gig nights across the UK – without them, no more bands would be produced for these immense festivals, there would be nowhere else to dance to goth music for the other eleven months of the year, and so on…
So consider taking the time to support your local alternative night, maybe suggest some bands you’d like to see stop by. Whatever you do – have a fantastic Halloween!
Finally, my apologies for the long gap between updates. This blog is a true passion project – which means it occasionally gets eclipsed by my full-time job, family and other crucial real-world problems. I was really enjoying providing an update monthly, and working on The Blogging Goth’s YouTube channel – and hope to get back to speed ASAP!
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