Wave Gotik Treffen 2014
While most other visitors from Europe probably were still looking forward to WGT 2014, our journey already began. After working the weekend shift until Tuesday, I had had no time to prepare my suitcase in advance this year. And anyways, there is still so much to do... Whereas Nikita stays calm and only starts throwing T-Shirts and shorts in his suitcase some when in the afternoon, I run around the flat like a scared chicken since 10 AM. The phrase "I cut you!" becomes less a threat and more a nice help as we help each other shaving our under-, respectively sidecuts. Luckily, we have already dyed our hair a week ago. But a nice, clean shave does not last that long. After that, I run around between bathroom, bedroom, office and living room, collecting all those things I should not forget. My secret weapon in the fight against chaos this year: plastic bags. To avoid the yearly scene of me desperately searching for exactly THAT black skirt in a suitcase full of black clothes in a hotel room in Leipzig, finally completely emptying the suitcase on the floor while Nikita waits and waits, this year I put each outfit (one per day - not two as before when I tried to have one day outfit for concerts and one night outfit for parties, I learned that that does not work and that I can wear a corset 16 hours straight if necessary) in a separate plastic bag. After I am done with all 4 bags plus the more simple clothes for later (we went to my parents home after WGT again) plus all the other stuff one needs when traveling, I am surprised: a lot of space left and only 13 kg of luggage. Well done! But now we get more and more nervous. We try to calm down with a shot of Absinth while I am doing my nails, but that only partly helps. And finally our time of departure has come a lot fast than we expected.
Sad for leaving our cats alone (after whom a friend will look while we are gone), we leave for the airport and the party begins. After a little confusion about our airline, we really end up at the right gate and in the right plane that brings us to Beijing. Unfortunate for us, we chose to fly Air China (note to myself: Don't fly Air China anymore!) and all we get is cake for dinner (sweet enough to make me sick). In Beijing airport then, everything is closed at midnight. So we spend out waiting time next to the vending machine that (luckily) sells cold beer (I wonder how they handle the age restriction - maybe they trust in the fact that Chinese beer hardly makes anybody drunk...). And we start to plan the days to come. With a pen and a printout of the Necroweb pocket calendar as our weapons, we dissect the program. One cross here, one question mark there, some bigger and some smaller. In the end the summary is: This WGT will be relaxed. Not, that there would not be enough interesting concerts to see. But we got picky and old (or maybe just lazy and we call it old). This band we already saw twice. Not necessary. This band plays in Agra - too crowded, too loud, no air, no fun. These two bands play too close after each other - too much stress running from A to B. This band plays in a venue far away where you have to stand and late at night - by that time I want to sit and not travel around the whole city for half an eternity. And anyways the last couple of years (for both of us, this is WGT number 7) have proven us that in the end, you can never see all the concerts you would like too. For that, there are too many people you want to spend time with and sitting in Heidnisches Dorf (the pagan village) simply is too "comfy".
After around 2 hours and the positive feeling that this should have been enough time to bring our luggage from one plane to another but just in case with more than dirty clothes in our carry on, our journey continues. In the airplane we are fed and watered (or better: beered, although they even serve warm beer as Chinese do so many times) and desperately try to find sleep.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
It is not even 6 AM local time (or midnight Chinese time) when we land in Frankfurt. To our pleased surprise, the coffee in the plane was not that bad, so we do not fully look like zombies yet although that is pretty much how I feel. Nevertheless: We are in Germany and WGT is coming!
Our next stop is the supermarket at Frankfurt Airport train station. Sure, it is breakfast time in Germany. But for us, it is party time! And our mood as well as our jet lag (I mean when it is 2 AM for me, I can have a drink - but my body does not agree to have breakfast at that time of the night...) justify the purchase of berry wine (who could resist cherry, blueberry and blackberry wine?!) and sparkling wine with our obligatory cheeses, black bread, herring and sausages. While making jokes about "Sektfrühstück" (sparkling wine breakfast) (at least in German, that actually is a thing!) and watching people, we somehow manage to spend the hours until 10 something. We board the train, find our reserved seats (they charge extra for that, but as long as there is no natural disaster, it is totally worth it!) and off we go. In the train, you can clearly see where we are headed. People dressed in black in every wagon. We fulfill our yearly quest and take pictures of Gotha train station (it actually is a very ordinary town, but the name just fits too well when you are on your way to WGT!).
And after around 4 hour during which I completely lose track of the time, we finally arrive in Leipzig. The next "yearly quest" is fulfilled by Nikita taking a picture at the train station and the we are off for the hotel. After some slight confusion (we booked a double, but changed to a triple as Margo would come and stay with us although she messed up her timetable a bit and would arrive Friday night, but at first we only got a normal double room) and an epic fail (or better fall) by Nikita (I won't give the specifics here, but he claimed it was the stairs' fault...), we have settled down and look at our new New Rocks (that we got sent to the hotel to save the long delivery time).
We refresh ourselves a bit and head towards Agra for our press passes. And our first impression in the tram: It seems kind of empty this year! Maybe it is that it is still early? However, this impression will last over the rest of the weekend. The trams as well as the venues seemed overall less crowded than the years before. Some might take that as a bad sign in terms of less visitors. We however took it as a good sign. Probably there were a bit fewer people. Or probably there were more trams and we chose the right concerts to avoid the big crowds. In any case: When you actually have space and air in the tram as well as in the concert, the festival gives much more pleasure than if you all the time feel liked locked in Shanghai's Metro during rush hour somewhere around people's square station...
At Agra we get our wristband, but we are informed that for the passes, we will have to return tomorrow. But whatever, WGT has started for us! At the gas station in front of Agra we buy a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. Surprisingly, there is no waiting line yet and no security guard that lets the people only enter one after another and only after somebody else came out again. But it's only Thursday afternoon, so there are less people than there will be on the rest of the long weekend. Our opening of the (for fun pre-shaken)|bottle with a loud "pong" and a foam fountain is greeted with applause at the tram station - everybody is in the mood to celebrate!
Back at the main station, we walk along the looooong line of people waiting to exchange their ticket for a wristband, looking for familiar faces. We don't see any, but we spend some time with a group that is pushing a complete box of beer every time they can move a step. "To shorten the waiting time" and "to pre-party", they explain. We stick around a while and chat, Nikita gets a beer, they get some bubbly - chat and share a drink indeed is a perfect normal thing to do with complete strangers during WGT as most people feel like we are all a huge, black family, at least for those 4-6 days (depending if you count Thursday and Tuesday as well) of the year. At some point, we move on. And suddenly hear somebody speaking Russian. Now, our "destiny" for today is determined - Russians stick together anyways and although we do not know the 2 girls, there is much to talk. It is their first time in Leipzig and Nikita, as you would await it from one of the administrators in the official WGT group in VK (the Russian facebook - just it's NOT blocked in China and better than facebook anyways^^), explains them everything they ask. But when the girls have their wristbands and they all decide to go eat something, my stamina is over. I excuse myself to go and take a shower. But once I am in the hotel, I see this comfortable bed, the fresh linen and soft blanket... I have not slept for over 36 hours. And later we might go to a party, maybe... So I decide to lay down at least for some minutes. And I am gone. Later, Nikita tells me that he came and asked if it was ok with me if he would sit outside with a group of Russians. Apparently, I agreed. But all I can remember is waking up around 7 AM the next morning...
Friday, June 6, 2014
After finally having a good night's rest, we woke up rather early on Friday and as our stomachs (especially mine!) were rumbling due to a lost dinner last night, we decided for the luxury of a lengthy hotel breakfast. We therefore strengthen ourselves with cheese, sausages, black bread, fish and Co. for a long day - it would get much longer than we expected... But first things first. I should stop all those spoilers... ;-) Well, anyways, after breakfast we went up again and I started to get ready while Nikita got more and more bored. Same story, I guess, as for almost every couple - except for those were the guy needs around 1-2 hours for his styling, in WGT you see quite a lot of those as well... A while later, I was (Nikita would add finally, I would add already) ready. But before heading to Agra for our press passes, we first had to meet with a (I might add "real") journalist. Who is crazy enough to fly 12 hours from Shanghai for WGT? And anyways, what are goths doing in China? The local newspaper wanted to answer those questions and therefore asked us for an interview. So we sat in front of the hotel in the cafe, had a cup of coffee (respectively a beer in case of Nikita) and chatted with the Journalist for a while.
Then we had to head to Agra to get our Press passes and, even more importantly, our wrist bands. Without those, we would not be able to visit any concert! Already later than expected, we arrived at Agra. When coming out of the Tram, a little girl asked us if she could take a picture of us. She was just spending her Friday after school there, taking photos of people. And on her shoulder she had a real life raven! The bird, she told us, was her pet. They had found it wounded, fallen out of the nest, years ago and taken care of it until it was healed, grown up and healthy. And since then, it would not leave them – even though it could fly away at any time, it stayed with the family and accompanied the girl whenever possible. We could not resist and asked her to take some photos with the black bird – to which she agreed immediately and also the bird did not seem to mind.
Once we were settle with everything, we were already late for the Victorian picnic. But we still needed to buy at least something to drink. So we hopped into the gas station opposite of Agra (that was surprisingly empty and not yet manned with the security guard who usually took care that not too many people entered at one time) and bought some cold champagne.
On our way to the Victorian picnic, we, as always, were not sure how to get there. I really do not know how we can manage to find everything in Leipzig, except for the Clara Zetkin park each year over and over again... But, luckily, even though we were quite late already, a picnic is people sitting on a meadow eating, drinking and spending time together and not a concert where you might miss out on something crucial when coming a bit later. And, also lucky for us, we were not the only ones still on their way to the spot. So we did as we do each year: Go to the tram station mentioned on the program and then just follow the crinolines or tuxedos in front of you. Even though each year it seems like nobody know how exactly to get to the picnic when you ask around, there also always seems to be somebody who knows and like little ducklings, a trail of people just waddles after them. It is kind of fun to see and to be part of...
After a while of calling unanswered mobiles, wandering around and a tiny bit of yelling, we even managed to find our friends that were already there. Maybe the biggest joy was to see our friend's daughter. Just the year before, they had come only for the picnic (and drive back home after) as she was 9 months pregnant by that time – and just about a week after she had had a little girl. This year, they came with their 1-year old daughter. So there was plenty to talk about, until the kid got too tired and needed a good nap back at the hotel. We stayed, though, and chatted on with many, many people we had not seen in a year. And, as it also has become a yearly quest for us, we ignored the fact tat there would have been some concert late in the afternoon that we would have wanted to see and stayed at the park much longer than expected. In any case, the band would be playing again on another day and there was no need to hurry ourselves.
So, the only concert we ended up seeing that day was Desiderii Marginis (post industrial/dark ambient). While it was indeed very interesting, I have to admit my mind was fixed on another thing: Margo was about to come! We had no seen our best friend (whom some of you surely know from her time in Shanghai) in several months as she was living in Russia by then. As mentioned before, she had messed up her schedule a bit (to those who know her: Margo – need I say anything more? ;-) ) and we were waiting for the call or SMS telling us that she had finally made it to Leipzig. And indeed, some when during the concert we finally got the SMS that she had arrived at the train station and was heading to the hotel now (the front desk knew another guest was about to come and kept a key for her, luckily). By that point, there was no way of stopping me anymore and we headed back to the hotel to meet up.
After lots of hugs and kisses, we finally decided to go to the new Sixtina. As you might remember from last year's report, the old venue has been shut down and they are no a bit more out of the center of town. But, luckily, Leipzig is not Shanghai – so being a bit more out of the center does not mean that you need to spend at least half an hour in the tram or Metro. It just means you either take 2-3 stations by tram, or you walk for about 10-15 minutes. So actually, it is no big deal. We opted for the tram and, with some help as we had no idea where exactly to go, finally found it. So we spend time in the Absintherie's beer garden area, talking and, admittedly, drinking. Amongst others, there was a about half full bottle of Vodka on one of the benches. It was not ours to begin with. But when cleaning up, one of the waiters heard Nikita and Margo talking Russian. He asked if the bottle was ours, we we denied, as it was not ours. He then asked if they were Russian, which they said they were. So he drew the logical conclusion that, as Russians, they should keep the Vodka. Sometimes, stereotypes can help you to get free drinks. Who knew...
When we decided to leave and return to the hotel, it was already quite late at night and neither the late hour, nor the vodka had done anything to boost our sense of orientation. So we basically had no idea how to get back to the hotel. We started to walk in what we thought was the way we had come from anyways. It ended up not to be where we had come from... But when we saw a group of people sitting outside a building on some beer benches, we approached them to ask how to get back to the train station. As a result, we were invited for a drink and we ended up sitting and talking with those strangers until dawn. But one of our most favorite running gags started that night: Margo, as part of her outfit, was wearing the skull of a fox on her head. So one of the guys started singing “What does the fox say?!” and she replied: “Nothing. It is dead.” On the way back to hotel, it was already light morning and Margo was so cold and tired, that she had to use my dress as a coat and feel asleep in the tram. But we sure as hell had fun that night!
Saturday, June 7, 2014
As is to be expected after a night like we had before, we did not get up early on Saturday... And when we finally managed to get up, we were slow. Very slow. And tired... But, luckily, we were not as hungover as one might fear. So we still somehow managed to get up and get ready for the day.
Nevertheless, the first thing we were able to do was the yearly meeting of Russian speakers in Agra – which takes place as early as 15:00... But hey, we made it there!
After some confusion as half of the group got lost while going for drinks (I still claim the other were suddenly gone! ;-) ) from one of the stands on the Agra-area and the happy reunion, we decided that going anywhere was much too much stress. Plus it was hot. Incredibly, mind-melting hot. So when people starting to part ways, all we managed was to stroll over to Heidnisches Dorf. You might remember it from last year's report – the pagan village. It basically has everything you need for a nice day: 2 stages, medieval activities like sword-fighting or virgin-auctions, a bathhouse, many huts for shopping, food, drink and, on this day most important, shadow.
After we spent some time sitting on the grass, a couple of friends we actually had just met at the Russian meeting passed by and joined us. So we sat there just a little while longer...
In the evening, we finally manager to go and see a concert. It was the concert of Job Karma. It is indeed a bit hard to name his style of music. You might call it Post industrial ambient. But it was indeed a very interesting experience – especially if you have never seen this kind of concert. The two most remarkable things were the strange “instruments” used on stage as well as the videos playing in the background and creating an indescribable atmosphere.
After, we headed for the second concert and last concert of the day: Sonne Hagal. They played very pleasant Neofolk. In Germany, this style of music actually has a bad reputation for attracting Nazis... But be it as it may, we enjoyed the concert a lot – and we are no Nazis for sure! ;-) We just were very, very tired and headed back to the hotel and into bed immediately after.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Sunday started as another very, very hot day. And the first thing on our agenda was one of my personal highlights: When I was 7 years old, there was a Pop singer in Germany that had one big hit in the charts (if you want to look it up: Lucilectric - Mädchen). Me, as a kid, liked her a lot and her album was the very first CD I ever wanted to have (and got for my 8th birthday). And well, after this one hit nobody ever heard of this singer anymore. But now, 19 years later, it was there, on the WGT program: The singer I liked as a kid was playing a concert, together with Roman Shamov (Rummelsnuff and Weird Fishes), as the group “Meystersinger”!
The nice “side dish” to that was that the concert took place in Sixtina and in the morning (respectively around lunchtime, but that IS morning for us during WGT^^), so we would finally have a chance to enjoy the Absinth-breakfast.
So we headed to Sixtina again (this time, sober and during the day, we found the new location without any trouble at all) and had a nice breakfast and a cup of Absith while enjoying the Indie-Elektropop of Meystersinger. Unfortunately, Nikita and Margo could not understand the lyrics in German, but I can tell you: They are really good! :-)
After the concert, we went towards the stage and, to support the group and just because so many years before I had wanted Luci's CD already and I thought it would be funny to have their music on an actual CD, I bought their CD and we chatted for a while. We had actually planned to give you a short interview with the band. But due to all the health issues we had in the last year, we did not manage to do that anymore...
During the concert, it got more and more hot – the two singers even had to go and change clothes as they got so hot in their outfits, that they were close to fainting in the heat. And indeed: it was far over 30°C in the shadows once we left Sixtina (and again found our way without further trouble now^^). So all we wanted to do was sit and relax somewhere – and we headed to Heidisches Dorf again.
As the mid-day heat burned on, we found a place in the shadow and just sat there, watching people, listening music, drinking and eating and moving as little as possible... We thought about going somewhere else, but the heat stopped us from putting any of those thoughts into action.
Once the afternoon went on and the sun started to decent slowly in the sky, the temperatures began to get more and more bearable. And indeed there was once concert we did not want to miss and we were very right not to do so: Saeldes Sanc & Ernst Horn.
The concert took place in an actual church. This alone already gave it a very special air. Additionally, the beautiful church was decorated even more beautifully. The concert itself as well was absolutely awesome and we agreed that this was the best concert of the whole festival. You could call the style “medieval experimental folk”. In any case, there were several instruments and a “guide” that explained in between the songs what happened in the medieval love story the musicians were telling on stage.
After this very special performance, which I deem to have been the best and especially most interesting concert of this WGT, we went on for the last event of the evening: Collection D'Arnell Andrea. This is a very big group of musicians of not the youngest “semester” that play their instruments very, very well and by ding so create awesome neoclassical Dark Wave.
Monday, June 9, 2014
The Monday started with yet another meeting. During the year I had been writing an article for a German blog called “Spontis” (www.spontis.de) that is focused on the Gothic scene. They had found our website by accident and were very curious about the scene in Shanghai. So I gave them a small insight into what all of us are doing over here. Anyways, this named blog holds a “family” meeting, usually every WGT-Monday. So we headed to Moritzbastei, the meeting point, and gathered with a nice and friendly crowd. Accidentally, we also met a couple of friends from Russia there, who just happened to be in the area and joined us on the grass to sit and relax. We got a pin, a magazine and cookies (as they say: “We, on the dark side, always have to have cookies!”). And we had the please to finally see and talk in person with people we had before only known from the internet.
However, we also had a second 'date' planned: The day before, a camera team for the National German television that had got our phone number from the press organizer of WGT asked us to do a short film with us for a reportage about WGT. We had agreed and they were about to meet us on Monday, to make things easy at the Moritzbastei where we knew we would be. And so they came (to the displeasure of the organizer of the blog meeting – in Germany, the press tends to do very crappy stories about WGT, as if we are all freaks one way or another...) along with an interviewer, a camera man and a sound guy. We got our cables and microphones and, to act “naturally”, we had to pretend that we had just arrived and met our friends (which is kind of weird to do several times...). We, as well as our Russian friends and Robert from Spontis gave some short interviews. Of course, they cut out most of it later... But anyways, we agreed that we would meet again later on when we wanted to see Mantus. So we parted our ways.
Later in the afternoon, we headed for Parkbühne (an open air stage) in the heat. It was still hot as hell! We met the film crew outside and entered together for the concert of Mantus. They played solid dark rock as expected. But we could not bear the heat for too long and after just a couple of songs retreated back out of the concert area and into the shade of the trees in front of it. The film crew continued to interview us a bit more detailed. But suddenly, Nikita got a nose bleed. And I am not talking about single drops of blood dripping, it was as if you turned on a faucet and blood streamed out from his nostrils. And it would not stop... So after a while, we headed to the first aid station nearby to see if they could give us any assistance. We got an ice pack for his neck and gauze to save him from accidentally swallowing blood (which, by the way, makes you very sick to your stomach). But nothing really helped... Finally, they suggested we go to the hospital. As this is VERY expensive in Germany, we first took suggestion number two: Go back to the hotel, sit in the cold air of an air conditioned room, drink cold water and wait. Luckily, the film crew had a car and helped us by driving us back to the hotel.
And so ended our last day of WGT a bit different than planned... But that seems to be one of the things always to expect: That thing won't go as planned... ;-)
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
One last time we had to deal with the film crew: They wanted to film us leaving the hotel. It was a small marathon of taking some of our luggage (though at least not ALL of it^^) and walking back and forth between the hotel and the train station several times in the renewed heat, until the shot was done. Then another few words in the shadow and we finally had our time to ourselves again. If you want to see the result, you can find the video that was aired on National German television here: http://vk.com/video-292815_169136507?list=fc874d112473057a9d or here:https://youtu.be/HU2j-Id0T-w
For us, it was even more sad this year to say “Byebye” to Margo then to Leipzig... Because one thing is for sure: WGT will take place every year! So if you want to have your own WGT story to tell: Head to Leipzig for Whitsun! ;-)