• Germany's news in English

Bach fans and Goths descend on Leipzig

The Local · 12 Jun 2011, 10:58

Published: 12 Jun 2011 10:58 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

You can’t escape Johann Sebastian Bach on any visit to Leipzig. The composer was the town’s musical director and choirmaster of St Thomas's Church from 1723 to 1750 and this Whitsun weekend the city is putting on its annual festival dedicated to its most famous son.

This year, however, Bach enthusiasts are sharing the city with very different music fans. Thousands of members of the Goth subculture have descended upon Leipzig for the 20th annual Wave Gotik Treffen (Wave Gothic Meeting).

“The Wave Goth Meeting is a good extension of the Bach festival and vice versa,” argues Detloff Schwerdtfeger, organizer of the Bach event. The two gatherings have only happened on the same weekend once before, he explains, adding that a lot of the Goth fans have also come to listen to the classical concerts.

There are also drawbacks to having the two events at the same time. There is a big shortage of accommodation, says the Wave Goth Meeting spokesman Cornelius Brach.

“The camp site at the festival ground is completely booked out,” he says. Around half of the 20,000 visitors are staying at the venue, situated in the south of the city.

Hotels, restaurants and other businesses get a huge boost from the arrival of the Goths. The Leipzig event is thought to be the biggest gathering of its kind in the world, drawing black-clad music fans from far beyond Germany.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Goths in Leipzig

Hilde Hoogland and Yves Goossens from Belgium have managed to get a room in a hotel in the city centre. Both are long times Goths and this is their fifth time in the city. “We’ve been here since Tuesday and we are staying for a week,” Hilde says.

She wears a long elegant dress of thick red silk while Yves is dressed in an elaborate suit, covered in skulls and crossbones. One half of his face is covered by bronze-colored mask and he wears a top hat covered in plastic skulls. He says he loves the festival for “the music, the atmosphere and the people.”

Story continues below…

On Friday, they strolled through the town and took in some of the many outdoor Bach concerts. “A lot of us like listening to classical music,” says Hilde. “You can’t ignore the influence of earlier centuries on our music or our clothes.”

It will be some time before the Goths will be able to enjoy the Bach concerts again. The two festivals don’t coincide for another 20 years.

The Local/DPA/smd

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

22:26 June 12, 2011 by wood artist
Sounds like great fun. It's so wonderful to see that two very different and disparate groups can come together, share a venue/area, and interact as adults. While they have vastly distinct differences, they can still find common ground and allow their differences to enhance rather than divide them, even finding places where they have common interests. I'd love to be there (for the Bach).
18:04 June 13, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
That would be so much fun, like seeing goths dressed up in 17-18th century clothing and listening to Bach concertos, preludes, or Das Wohltemper Klavier. What a great atmosphere.
16:56 June 14, 2011 by tonilton
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd