Every year, the streets of Leipzig are swarming with people dressed in black. All of a sudden, a black tram line starts operating, the shops in the city center start dressing their windows in black and the newspapers’ headlines are all “Leipzig is black”. What’s going on? Wave Gotik Treffen is back in town!
The “WGT” is the world’s largest goth festival and takes place each year over 4 days on Whitsuntide weekend – this year celebrations are held from May 13th-16th. And it’s the 25th anniversary of WGT, too! Approximately 20,000 goths and other dark subculture fans such as cybergoths, metalheads, steampunks, neo-Victorians, dark romantics, dark electro, industrial, medieval and fetish fans will meet in Leipzig and attend over 200 live concerts and cultural events. Sounds crazy? It is!
In collaboration with German blogger Susi from Black Dots White Spots, we from Leipzig Tourism have put together a WGT guide for you – including all you need to know about the festival, the shows and events, how to get around, where to stay and lots of cool Leipzig tips.
(See the German version here!)
Share your #WGTLeipzig pics!
Other events and things to do during WGT
Cool Leipzig travel tips
Where to eat in Leipzig
Tattoo and piercing
Getting there and getting around
Where to stay
Wave Gotik Treffen 2016: Festival Program
The program of Wave Gotik Treffen is extremely varied and quite unusual. This year, over 200 bands and artists have been announced and will be taking the stage at different locations all over the city.
Apart from the main festival area in the south of Leipzig (the old “agra“ trade fair area), there are live concerts on a variety of stages (mostly indoor venues), in clubs and even in churches and at the opera. Musical styles range from dark wave & gothic, post punk, batcave to classical music, from medieval and folk to metal and electro/EBM/industrial.
The official programme is released just shortly before the festival so keep checking this guide regularly for updates and the official WGT website.
You can find the official programme incl. locations and times here.
Among the bands announced for 2016 are: Abney Park, Cinema Strange, Crematory, Das Ich, Diary of Dreams, Die Krupps, Estampie, Faun, Girls Under Glass, Gothminister, Haujobb, In The Nursery, Jochaim Witt, Lacrimosa, Leaves’ Eyes, Lene Lovich Band, Mesh, Neuroticfish, My Dying Bride, Peter Murphy, Pink Turns Blue, Project Pitchfork, Solar Fake, Velvet Acid Christ, Versengold, XTR Human and many many more!
You can find the full lineup on the official WGT website.
Tickets are 120,- Euros per person for the full festival. They are valid for all events and include public transport in the city of Leipzig. Camping on the festival site is not included – you will need an additional “Obsorge“ ticket for 25,- Euros for that. If you wish to park on the agra festival grounds, you can buy a parking ticket for 15,- Euros. If you’re from abroad and shipping is difficult: You can still get tickets in Leipzig during the festival!
To get in at the door and for all official festival events, you need the official WGT wristband. You can get it at the agra festival entrance and at 1-2 other locations in the city (to be announced!). Getting your wristband is one of the first things you should do after arrival (don’t forget to bring your ticket!).
Besides live concerts there are readings, two medieval markets (at Moritzbastei and Torhaus Dölitz), art exhibitions, classical concerts and theater performances. During the day, you can go shopping for all kinds of dark clothing and accessories from corsets to tailor-made vampire fangs at the Black Market – a huge hall full of stands on the agra festival grounds. At night, the party continues at several clubs where international DJs play different dark styles from 80s to industrial.
In addition, don’t miss these highlights:
WGT 25 Year Anniversary: Special Opening Night at Amusement Park Belantis
For the 25th anniversary of Wave Gotik Treffen, there is a special opening night at Belantis, the amusement park in the south of Leipzig, which opens exclusively for festivalgoers. Join the black crowd on Thursday night for a black rollercoaster ride or two and dance the night away at the party area with several DJ sets, e.g. by WGT founders Michael Brunner and Sandro Standhaft (DJ team „Moonchild“).
Belantis, Thursday May 12, 8 pm to 5 am (amusement rides open until midnight, party until 5 am), entrance with WGT wristband or valid WGT ticket only. www.belantis.de
How to get there:
- by car via Autobahn A38, exit „Leipzig – Neue Harth“, 2,000 parking spaces available
- by shuttle bus transfer from „Agra-Treffenpark“ and Leipzig main station
Victorian Picnic & Victorian Village
The “Victorian Picnic” on Friday afternoon in the park is an iconic event during WGT, especially for those who like to dress up in Victorian, steampunk, baroque or all kinds of neo/dark romantic styles. Hundreds of elegantly costumed people meet up in style for a dazzling picnic or stroll in the park! More on the Facebook events page.
Friday, May 13, 2 pm – 5 pm, Clara-Zetkin-Park, free admission
A new and similar event with probably less photographers and spectators takes place at the same time: Viona’s Victorian Village, a Victorian market with dance lessons, a tea party and costume competition as well as live music. The event takes place in a stunning location: the “Arena am Panometer”, a historic turn-of-the century gas storage brick building. Check out the Facebook events page here.
Friday, May 13, 11 am – 19 pm, Arena am Panometer, Richard-Lehmann-Str. 114, free admission
Medieval market “Heidnisches Dorf”
The medieval markets at Moritzbastei and Torhaus Dölitz are definitely among the highlights of WGT each year. Soak in the atmosphere at Torhaus Dölitz, where lots of stalls sell clothing, accessories, hearty food and drink among shady trees or demonstrate traditional arts and crafts.
Sit on the grass, sip mead beer and listen to medieval/folk/classical live music all day before catching a fire show at night:
Note: The medieval markets are open for everyone, not just festivalgoers.
Heidnisches Dorf, daily from Friday to Monday, 11 am until late, Torhaus Dölitz, Helenenstr. 24, entry fee for those without WGT ticket: 10 Euros.
Museums, exhibitions and guided tours during WGT
During WGT, several Leipzig museums offer free admission or special guided tours and lectures for WGT attendees, such as the Museum of Ancient Egypt at Leipzig University or the Museum der Bildenden Künste (Museum of Fine Arts).
The Stadtgeschichtliche Museum (Museum of the History of the City of Leipzig) hosts a special exhibition for the 25th anniversary of WGT: “Leipzig in Schwarz” (Leipzig in black) about the history of the festival and stories surrounding it. In addition to photos, exhibits include clothes and accessories. You can enjoy this exhibition until 24.07.2016.
Grassi-Museum of Applied Arts: free admission to permanent collection, selected exhibitions und special guided tours during WGT. Free admission to the Special Anniversary Exhibition “Gesichter des Wave Gotik Treffens – 10 Jahre Pfingstgeflüster” (Faces of Wave Gotik Treffen – 10 Years of Pfingstgeflüster) inside the foyer on the first floor with 30 black and white portraits of WGT festivalgoers taken by photographer Marcus Rietzsch for the annual book series “Pfingstgeflüster”.
Museum in der “Runden Ecke” (“Stasi museum”): special exhibition for WGT: “Goths, punks etc. – alternative youth subcultures in the GDR”, daily during WGT from 10 am to 6 pm.
G2-Kunsthalle offers guided tours through the most recent exhibition NOCTURAMA. The exhibition of Leipzig based artist Katrin Heichel deals with dark and “ugly” motives and invites you to find the beauty behind the darkness. Book one of the daily tours here.
Classical music, opera and theater
For those of you interested in classical music, opera, ballet and theater, Leipzig Opera, the concert hall Gewandhaus, and others offer a limited share of free tickets for WGT attendees. You can’t make a reservation, so be there early!
More info on that in the official programme.
Long Reger Organ Night
On occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of organist and composer Max Reger who lived and worked in Leipzig, there is a long Max Reger organ night in six churches in the city centre on Saturday night – a great opportunity to unwind and listen to something compeletely different in the midst of all the partying.
Saturday, May 14th, from 8 pm in 6 churches in the Leipzig city centre. Free admission. Find more info here.
Good to know
The full program for the Wave-Gotik-Treffen with exact times and venues is released just shortly before the event. Therefore, you should check the official WGT website regularly, we will also be updating this guide regularly.
During the festival, use the mobile app WGT Guide for Android and iPhone to keep track of all events and venues and to create your own personal festival schedule.
At WGT, everything happens at the same time at different locations all over the city so naturally, you will not be able to see everything and space is limited in a lot of venues. Therefore, make sure to be there early and to take enough time to get from A to B (see also “Getting there and getting around“ below).
#BlackLeipzig photo competition
Share your most stunning, most funny or most quirky shots of black Leipzig during WGT with us on Instagram using the hashtag #BlackLeipzig or send them to Leipzig Travel on Facebook (or post them to our wall), and win great WGT & Leipzig prices!
1st Place: Accomodation for two people in Leipzig for WGT 2017, two tickets for WGT 2017 and a guided bike tour of the trendy Plagwitz neighbourhood with Lipzi Tours!
2nd Place: Picnic for two persons from Picknick-Leipzig.de – for a stylish and yummy Victorian Picnic in the park (or elsewhere)!
3rd Place: Canoe tour for two persons on Leipzigs canals
We are looking forward to your photos!
Here are the winning photos from our last “Leipzig in black” photo competition on Facebook and Instagram:
#WGTLeipzig – the WGT hashtag
Use the hashtag #WGTLeipzig to share pics and impressions from WGT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and to find out what’s going on!
We will also be posting daily updates from WGT so feel free to follow Leipzig Travel on Facebook and Instagram and make sure you also follow our guest blogger Susi from Black Dots White Spots on Facebook and Instagram!
You’re a photographer or blogger interested in a cooperation or in being featured? Contact us!
Other events and things to do during WGT
There’s always a lot happening in Leipzig – also during WGT. Check out these fringe events:
Fans of retro-futurism will meet on Saturday afternoon for a picnic in dazzling costumes at Palmengarten. Find out more about the event here.
Saturday, May 14, Palmengarten Leipzig, 2 pm – 8 pm, free entry
Gothic Pogo Festival
The Gothic Pogo Festival runs parallel to WGT at Club Werk2 (near the agra WGT festival site) featuring international bands and DJs of goth, punk, wave, minimal and death rock.
Thursday, May 12 – Monday, May 16, Werk2 Kulturfabrik, tickets and info here.
Blaue Stunde – “Blue Hour”
Spread a picnic blanket on the grass in the park, light your grave candle and add it to the circle of candles, bring some drinks and snacks and enjoy a quiet, dark and romantic meeting the night before WGT starts. You can also dance to the sounds of Heavenly Voices, Medieval, Mystic Folk, Neofolk and Wave.
Thursday, May 12, 9 pm – 1 am, the meadow at Parkschloss behind Heidnisches Dorf. Free admission. Bring a death candle, a blanket and some drinks!
There is another “Abendliches Picknick” (evening picnic) by the same hosts on Saturday, MAY 14th, from 4 pm – 9 pm in the same location, as well as a Romantic Dance Night (Romantische Tanznacht) on Monday from 10 pm at Bornische Straße 158. More info here.
Glitter + Trauma Queer Wave Party
“Indie boys, gothic girls and sissy punks” can dance the night away to old school wave, post punk, synth pop and Indietronics tunes at the “Queer Wave Party” at Westwerk on Saturday. And it’s their 10th anniversary this year!
In Goth We Trust
Originally from Mexico City, this project hosts monthly parties in Berlin – and one in Leipzig during WGT for the 25th anniversary of WGT. Several DJs present Old/New Gothic Rock, PostPunk, DeathRock, Cold Wave, Obscure 80’s, Dark Synths on two floors.
Friday, May 13, 10 pm, 4rooms, Täubchenweg 26, 04317 Leipzig. free admission with WGT wristband or 5,- Euros. More on their Facebook Events Page.
WGT EBM Warmup XI
Big EBM warmup party at Felsenkeller, with live acts such as The Invincible Spirit and several DJs on four floors.
Medieval market and tournament at Castle Trebsen
The moated water castle Trebsen is approx. 30 minutes from Leipzig by car (at the Autobahn to Dresden). An impressive knights’ tournament and joust and a historic medieval market incl. several performances are held there on the same weekend as WGT Leipzig. For more information, click here.
May 14-16, 10 am – 10 pm, Schloss Trebsen, entry fee 12 Euros.
Discover the City of Music
Leipzig is world-renowned for its musical tradition. Famous composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert and Clara Schumann all worked here; Richard Wagner was born and received his musical training in Leipzig. If you can find the time make sure to explore the city center on the Leipzig Music Trail, visit the places where famous composers lived and worked and listen to music in venues where history comes alive. Download the Music Trail App for iOS and Android or get the audio guide at the tourist information in Katharinenstraße 8.
Cemeteries of Leipzig
If you need a moment of peace and quiet during WGT, enjoy the gloomy and sepulchral atmosphere of the Leipzig cemeteries. The Alte Johannisfriedhof („Old St. John’s Cemetery“) at the eastern end of the city center, right next to the Grassi Museum at Johannisplatz, is an impressive park with approx. 400 tombs from the periods of Baroque, Classicism and Historicism.
The Südfriedhof („Southern Cemetery“) is one of the largest cemeteries in Germany and definitely worth a visit. During WGT, you can explore the cemetery and find out more about the historical tombs in special guided tours (in German):
May 12 at 5 pm, May 13 at 5 pm, May 14 at 2 pm, May 14 at 5 pm, May 15 at 5 pm
Meeting point: Südfriedhof, entrance Prager Straße 210, tickets: 8 Euros (available on the tour), no reservations. More information here.
On Saturday, May 14th, there is also a gathering of hearses at Völkerschlachtdenkmal/Südfriedhof starting from 2 pm! More information here on Facebook.
Cool Leipzig Tips
You want to know a good spot to have breakfast during WGT? Where to grab a cup of coffee or go get some delicious dinner on your way to the festival? You want to know where you can paddle by old industrial sites on the canals during the day or even chill out on the beach before heading to the concerts?
Travel blogger Susi von Black Dots White Spots has put together a list of her favorite Leipzig spots and things to do during WGT – from a vegan restaurant to cosy cafés, from delicious cupcakes to vintage and goth shopping. Just click on the tips on the map below!
You can also find her Leipzig guide here at Everplaces and if you download the Everplaces app, you can use it on your mobile (also offline!).
You can find more tips for Leipzig off the beaten path in the “Hidden Leipzig” guide and app!
Where to eat in Leipzig
There is a great variety of food options in Leipzig from traditional German food to all kinds of international cuisines, from vegetarian and vegan fare to sweet delights. In addition to Susi’s tips on Everplaces (see above), we listed some food spots for you.
Mexican restaurant on the hip Karl-Liebknecht-Straße or “Karli” in the trendy Südvorstadt district. Reasonably priced, large selection of drinks, friendly staff and Mexican atmosphere.
“Vegan experimental” probably describes this restaurant best. Situated on Bornaische Straße in Connewitz, this restaurant is worth a visit for the extraordinary (and yummy) dishes and drinks.
Bornaische Straße 54
American Diner and Bar with a cute 50ies and 60ies atmosphere and typical American diner interior on popular Karli/Südvorstadt. Typically American fare such as burgers and milkshakes.
At this restaurant, eating in total darkness will challenge your senses! Choose between meat, fish or vegetarian surprise dishes.
Pfaffendorfer Straße 1
Quirky atmosphere und freshly baked cupcakes made several times a day. A must for goths with a sweet fang!
Straße des 17. Juni 11
Cosy café/bar with retro furniture (think vintage living room with old sofas and wallpapers), a seating area outside and hearty German breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as homemade lemonade (and other drinks). It’s perfectly situated on the tram line between the city center and the agra festival site – a perfect stop for a late breakfast or coffee on your way to the festival!
Small and cosy café in Leipzig’s hip Plagwitz district in the west end. Homemade cakes, sandwiches and breakfast (also vegan and vegetarian options).
Nostagic Café with a wide selection of coffee specialties and delicious breakfast offers.
Nightlife: Bars and Clubs
Leipzig has a great nightlife. Check out these bars and clubs while you’re there!
Moritzbastei is Leipzig’s most popular cultural centre with daily parties, concerts and other events. Situated right next to Gewandhaus and the university in the city center, the complex is the last preserved part of the old city fortifications and houses several clubs and bars. Here, you can party with a historical atmosphere and under high vaulted ceilings. Moritzbastei houses several events during WGT – make sure not to miss it!
Concert and party location in Leipzig’s hip Plagwitz district in the west end. A WGT location you shouldn’t miss!
Hellraiser was founded in 1992 and is well-known as a concert venue for numerous artists and bands from the goth scene and other underground scenes.
The club is well known in the goth scene (well beyond Leipzig) and offers a variety of musical styles from alternative to EBM and electro.
Small bar with an alternative vibe in the trendy Südvorstadt district, mixed clientele and music from rock to oldies. Hang out and party with the locals until the wee hours.
Shopping in Leipzig
Leipzig offers lots of shopping opportunities and also has several historic shopping arcades and courtyards. You can also shop all sorts of dark fashion and accessories in Leipzig – from gothic or steampunk to metal and fetish clothing.
Black Market at WGT
The Black Market at the agra festival site is a huge hall full of vendors of dark clothing, accessoires, music and decor during Wave Gotik Treffen (you need the official WGT wristband to get in).
Bornaische Straße 210
Goth, Punk, Alternative and Underground clothing, shoes and accessories.
Goth, punk and medieval clothing and accessories.
Ranstädter Steinweg 5
Second-hand store for gothic, punk and metal clothing
Band shirts, metal and goth clothing and accessories on three floors in the city center.
Shop specialising in gothic, BDSM, fetish etc.
You can find more goth & alternative shopping tips here.
You can also shop at flea/vintage/antique markets during WGT:
One at “Galopprennbahn” Scheibenholz (“horse racecourse“ in German) between 10 am and 5 pm on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14. There is another market on Saturday, May 14th from 10 am to 4 pm at Kleinmarkthalle, Zschortauer Straße 39-41.
Tattoo and piercing
Why not combine a visit to Leipzig with some new body jewellery and some ink? Here is a list of some of the hottest studios:
The experienced team will provide you with body jewellery and tattoos in a pleasant atmosphere.
Wolfgang-Heinze Str. 21
Individual tattoos and piercings of all kinds.
Ink and Pain Tattoo Leipzig
Needleswing offers personalized tattoos, piercings, jewellery and accessories.
Leipzig: Getting there and getting around
You can reach Leipzig via car, bus, plane or train from various other destinations. To help you find out how exactly you can get to Leipzig, check out all the options we put together for you on our website.
Public transport and App
During Wave Gotik Treffen, public transport in the city is already included in your ticket! The easiest option is to use the trams to get to the festival locations. Just follow the groups of black-clad people!
In order to find out about connections, we recommend you use the map and journey planner by Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe, Leipzig’s official public transport. You can also get a map at the LVB service center in Peters-/Markgrafenstraße or at the LVB office inside the main station. In addition, you can download the EasyGO app journey planner on your phone. It is free and available for Android und iOS.
You can find all info on tickets and prices for public transport in Leipzig here.
Special WGT tram line
During WGT, Leipzig Transport operates the black tram line which runs regularly back and forth between the city center and the “agra” festival site in the south of Leipzig. The exact schedule will be announced in the LVB news.
As the WGT venues are spread out all over the city, allow enough time to get from A to B! Fortunately, Leipzig is quite a compact city and thanks to the new city tunnel it is now even easier to get around by car. There is also a direct S-Bahn train connecting the south of Leipzig and the main station in the north of the city center.
If you arrive in Leipzig before WGT or plan to extend your stay to explore more of the city, check out the Leipzig Card which gives you free public transport on all bus, tram and S-Bahn lines in the city (tariff zone 110 MDV) and up to 50% discount for museums, cultural events, recreational facilities but also restaurants, cafés, for city tours, magazines etc.
The Leipzig Card ist available online or at the tourist information.
Leipzig Regio Card
The Leipzig Regio Card includes all the benefits and discounts of the regular Leipzig Card but also includes the whole region: You can use transport within the Transport Middle Germany network (Verkehrsverbund Mitteldeutschland (MDV)) and get discounts and special offers for museums, theaters, restaurants, shops and recreational facilities in Leipzig and the surrounding region.
Where to stay – accommodation in Leipzig
During the time of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen, hotels, guesthouses, hostels and apartments in Leipzig are usually fully booked for a long time ahead, and most accomodations charge extra for the time of the festival. Therefore, make sure you book your accomodation in Leipzig well ahead, i.e. months before the festival (even well before you can even order the tickets).
If you need help finding accomodation, try these places:
Tourist Information Leipzig / Accommodation Office
Give the official accommodation office a call – they can help you find a place to stay: +49 (0)341 7104 225
You can also try the WGT forum „Do you need sleep“ to find private accomodation in Leipzig for the festival, or offer others a place to sleep if you live in Leipzig.
Ever tried couchsurfing? Couchsurfing is a community where travelers can find private hosts to stay with all over the world by ‘surfing’ on their couch or host guests themselves. It’s free or rather based on a non-monetary exchange such as cooking a meal or showing your guest around. It’s a great way to find cheap accomodation, to connect wth locals and meet other travelers. You need to become a member and create a profile on the website.
The Globetrotter Hostel Leipzig is a good choice if you’re on a budget. It’s right in the city center at Central next to the main station and has dorms as well as private rooms. However, you also have to be quick to make a reservation before it is too late…
For quirky and original hotels in Leipzig, check out this post! (in German)
Camping and RV/caravan sites
There is a festival campsite at the agra fair grounds that you can use during WGT after getting an additional ticket for 25,- Euros (“Obsorge Ticket”, see “Tickets” above) per person. Be there at the moment it opens to get a good space!
There are also more campsites on the outskirts of the city where you can stay during WGT:
The camp site at Lake Kulkwitz (Kulkwitzer See) is spacious and only ten minutes from the city center. There are also bungalows and holiday apartments.
Six kilometers from the city center, you’ll find the modern 4-star campsite and motel Auensee. The campsite is famous for its clean sanitary facilities. There are also sites for caravans and RVs.
Since May 2014, you can also stay at LAGOVIDA Holiday Resort at Störmthaler See with more than 90 caravan sites and total care.
You can find more information on campsites and holiday apartments in Leipzig’s lake region here (in German).
Tourist Information Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 09:30 – 18:00
Sat: 09:30 – 16:00
Sun/holiday 09:30 – 15:00
Leipzig Travel App
Do you have any questions or further ideas for us? Don’t hesitate to ask and comment! We’re happy to help you and we’ll also update this guide regularly!
Have a great Wave Gotik Treffen and enjoy your stay in Leipzig!
Susi Maier & Leipzig Travel
Susi Maier is a German travel blogger at Black Dots White Spots. She blogs about her travel adventures such as sleeping in the desert or solo roadtripping, but also about fascinating cities and festivals – such as Wave-Gotik-Treffen, an event that she’s been attending for many years. When she’s not traveling, she lives in Berlin.