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Portfolio > Event Coverage 2 > Whitby Goth Weekend, 2024 (Page 5)                                            Click on an image below to reveal enlarged version

Whitby Goth Weekend, 2024 - North Yorkshire, England


Whitby Goth Weekend. abbreviated to WGW or nicknames Whitby, is a twice yearly music festival for the goth subculture, in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England, organised by Jo Hampshire. The event is an alternative music festival, consisting of two nights of live bands, and three days (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) of alternative trade stalls at the Whitby Leisure Centre and Whitby Brunswick Centre.


The term "Whitby Goth Weekend" is sometimes used as a generic term to describe events during the week in Whitby as a whole, although the name of the event and its associated logo are registered trademarks of Jo Hampshire of Top Mum Promotions.

The origins of WGW are in a meeting of around forty of Hampshire's pen-pals in 1994. The first meeting was held in the Elsinore public house in Whitby along with the Little Angel, which continues to be a meeting point during the weekend. Hampshire said Whitby was chosen for its Dracula connections, although probably more so because the connection had already fostered a sense of acceptance on the part of locals and businesses rather than any inherent romanticism regarding the location. Until 1997, the festival was held yearly, after which it became twice-yearly in April and October. It has since grown into one of the world's most popular goth music events with thousands of attendees from across the UK and beyond.

In the mid-2000s the October weekend on or near Halloween began to attract large numbers of non-goths in Halloween, horror, historical, fantasy and sci-fi costume, which led to an increase in photographers and visitors. The weekend now attracts other alternative subcultures, including Victorian vampires, rockerspunks and steampunks. Some regulars consider it no longer a purely "goth" weekend, and it was acknowledged by Hampshire in the 2014 Whitby Goth Weekend Guide that in order to survive the event would have to diversify into other areas that have influenced goth.


The October 2007 festival was dedicated to the memory of the murdered Goth Sophie Lancaster (who had attended three Whitby Goth Weekends) and a collection of more than £3,000 was raised from various events to fund a memorial bench to her in the town.

Newbies who have not attended the event before are referred to as "Whitby Virgins". To help introduce them to the event, there was a WGW Virgins Meet Up on the Friday morning at the Spa until about 2014.

In 2016, concerns were raised by locals about disrespect being shown to the graves in St. Mary's Churchyard by photographers using them for photographic purposes which has resulted in a petition to have the area closed during the event. The proposal was supported by Whitby Goth Weekend, saying that "behaviour displayed in the churchyard is disrespectful and offensive". In 2016 The Bram Stoker Film Festival, which also took place in the town, rehashed a proposal to build a film set graveyard which photographers would be charged to use.

In June 2018 there was a breakdown in the relationship between WGW and SIV Live, who operate the Spa. WGW was therefore unable to book the Spa for bands for October 2018. In July a new promoter was found to put bands on at the Spa in October. Subsequently, WGW announced a different set of 2019 dates to those announced by the Spa and the new promoter,[13] with bands at Abbey Wharf, a large pub in Whitby. 

The "weekend" starts during the day on Friday and fringe events are held on Thursday, Sunday and Monday including club nights, markets, and a charity football match between visiting goth team Real Gothic, and local team Stokoemotiv Whitby. During the October/November event there is an independent custom car show, 'Whitby Kustom' in the grounds of West Cliff School. There are also several "meet ups" aimed at goths with a particular interest, e.g. Gothic Lolita.

The main event was held in the town's largest venue Whitby Spa Pavilion (known as the Spa) and the Bizarre Bazaar 'Goth Market' is also held there and at Whitby Leisure Centre and the Brunswick Centre. Access to the Spa in the evening required a ticket and live bands played on both Friday and Saturday from 08:00 until about midnight. The Metropole was often used as an overspill venue for the Spa, with bands due to play the next evening/or playing from the previous evening. In recent years it has been used as a venue for the markets as well as the clubs, Manic Monday and Sexy Sunday. RAW Nightclub and Abbey Wharf are used for official fringe events; other venues including The Resolution, The Rifle Club, and The Metropole are used for unofficial events.

For many years there was an 1980's music night held at Laughtons. The night would traditionally end with the song Vagabonds. In 2010 this venue became a Wetherspoons Hotel, but the lineal descendant of the 80's night continues to take place on the Sunday night.



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