Category Archive for Visual Kei + Music

Steampunk boots & Wave Gotik Treffen 2015! Victorian Village fashion, upcoming Goth museum exhibit.

white cut out dress, fashion blogger

As much as I travel, I can’t be everywhere at once. This year, I sadly wasn’t able to make it to Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig (the biggest Gothic festival in the world).

Thankfully, my friend Jen was at WGT with her camera, and put together a special report for us! Read on for her German Goth stories, including images of the Victorian Village, flamboyant fashion, and industrial bands.

steampunk boots, heels

If I went to the festival, I would have worn these eye-catching steampunk shoes from Hades FootwearTheir Harajuku boots are my current favorites — such a striking design, with a metal heel and vintage-looking buckles. You can get these exact boots here.

 My dress is by Chaser the Brand. Here’s the link to purchase this exact dress (which comes in a few colors) and a longer maxi version.
– The black wide-brim hat is from Lack of Color Aus.

Shop my outfit below:

steampunk victorian brown boots

I’m a huge fan of Hades Footwear, a California-based shoe company that specializes in alternative, Goth, Victorian and steampunk styles. They make unique designs like studded stilettos or thigh high boots — you won’t find these in regular stores!

hades footwear, goth alternative shoes

If you’re a metal rocker type, you might like their Motorhead chain boots. Retro ladies would enjoy Hades’ steampunk ankle boots

(Click the photos below to browse more Hades Footwear styles.)

cute goth girl, deathrock

Now, let’s hand the keyboard over to my friend Jen (pictured above left, with her favorite corset maker Ludwig Lilienthal). Enjoy her diary of Wave Gotik Treffen 2015 with photos by Seventh Sin, the event photography company that she co-owns.

At the end, Jen invites you to submit photos and memories of Wave Gotik Treffen for a museum exhibition. I hope you’ll consider taking part in this historical project.

victorian village, wave gotik treffen

Jen writes: We skipped the traditional Friday afternoon picnic at Clara Zetkin Park in favor of checking out a new Friday afternoon event, Viona’s Victorian Village, held at the stunning Arena am Panometer. The Village features not only a grassy area to picnic, but also vendors, DJs and concerts.

german gothic lolitas, lolita meetup

Lolita style is no longer as prevalent in Germany as it was a few years back, but the girls who do it go all out.

metal steampunk art sculpture

We saw metal artist Pawel Athanasios Lickas working live at the Village.

victorian picnic, wave gothic treffen

There was a vague dress code to encourage to guests to participate rather than merely goth-stalking, but as you can see from the crowd photos, everyone who made an effort no matter what their personal style, was welcome.

steampunk lady hat, parasol

This made for a lovely atmosphere where we were able to relax and find old friends among the crowd, and have conversations without being trampled by overzealous onlookers.

african goths, black goths

The left photo shows Courtney of Atropos Threads and a friend from Paris, in front of Courtney’s stand at the Victorian Village.

long gothic wigs, ruff collar

Diverse examples of the decadent personal style seen at Wave Gotik Treffen — from feathered collars to braided wigs.

wave gotik treffen costume contest

The smiling participants and winners of the costume contest.

wgt agra black market

One of the best places to meet with friends and look around for new trends is the Agra, the main venue of WGT where the campground, market, and largest concerts are held. The “Black Market” is a huge hall where people can buy dark fashion and accessories.

goth fetish fashion masks

Schnitt Muskel‘s macabre fetish and cyber inspired cuts and misappropriated materials seemed like a stark contrast to puderblonde‘s fashion and accessories in steampunk, gothic, shabby chic style. Nonetheless, the two small designers were working their booths together at the market.

gothic costume headpieces

I admired Benito Alesio’s stunning work for The Original Atelier

horror figurines, monsters

… and these spooky-hawaii figurines from Pandemonium Crafts.

antler horn headdress, fantasy hats

Romantic jewelry and headdresses from Nox Aurum, decorated with antler horns and lace fans.

goth black and white cat

As much fun as these events were, the main draw of the weekend was the 224 concerts and many dance nights on the official program. Our cat Hugin did his best to hide the schedule and keep us home, but in the end, he decided that having so many guests to fuss over him and fluttery black clothing to play with was actually pretty awesome.

harmjoy goth band

This year we focused on meeting up with friends and catching smaller, less known acts. We saw Dan and Olaf of Harmjoy make their WGT debut (above)…

last dominion lost, wave gotik treffen performers

…and the long lived, but still underrated industrial projects Gerechtigkeits Liga and Last Dominion Lost (above photo by Flamisol).

evi vine, goth female band

An atmospheric image of Evi Vine performing onstage, also by Flamisol.

first goth festival germany

Did you know that next year will be the 25th Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig? WGT has grown from its humble beginning with 6 bands and one venue, to an event that brings in over 20,000 visitors and offers events all over the city. WGT has had its growing pains, but remains true to its ideal as a meeting point for goth subculture.

(These “classic Goth” photos by Armin Kober were taken at the first Wave-Gotik-Treffen in 1992!)

1990s goths, 90s goth hair

I’m thrilled to be working with the City History Museum of Leipzig to present the story of WGT and the goth movement in Germany, in an exhibition that will open next spring. If you’ve been to WGT we would be very interested to hear your stories and see your photos and videos.

goth history, 80s gothic fashion

We’re also looking for “objects” to display: such as clothing or shoes that you wore, signed albums or posters from bands you met at WGT, or handmade memorabilia. We’re also looking for people willing to be interviewed about their WGT experiences and featured as part of the exhibit, so please drop me a line if you’re interested.

(La Carmina’s note: I hope you’ll consider taking part in this Goth museum exhibit, and will do my best to see it next year!)

travel magazine cover, flyme360

Last but certainly not least, I’m honored to reveal… I’m on the cover of FlyMe360° Travel & Lifestyle Magazine! 

This new magazine is the brainchild of three friends and frequent travellers, who felt they could improve on the current travel publications in the market. FlyMe360° emphasizes personal, genuine travel stories that connect with all types of readers. The inaugural issue is an entertaining mix of first-person accounts, gadget reviews, photography tips, finance and health articles, and more. travel journalist writer articles

FlyMe360° puts a special focus on travels in Asia. I contributed a story about my experiences last year in Cebu, Philippines.  Above is a peek at the pages.

I encourage you to subscribe to FlyMe360 for free! You’ll get access to all of the first twelve issues (including my article), and perks such as prizes. The magazine invites you to contribute your own travel stories too — you can find out more and contact them through their site 

(And if you’re still thinking about my Hades steampunk boots — here’s where you can find these shoes.)

Whitby Gothic Weekend UK: Goth rock concerts & style! Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Last Dance, Bella Morte.

victorian fashion market

I’m pleased you enjoyed my first report from Whitby Goth Weekend 2015! It was my first time at this massive British alt music and culture festival, and the entire town was filled with dark inspiration.

Let’s continue this WGW series with style snaps of attendees, a browse through the fashion bazaars

(Find Goth corsets, boots and more below)

sigue sigue sputnik singer

… and a review of the Goth and Glam musical performances. 

whitby uk ocean scenic

Whitby is a seaside town in Yorkshire (northern England). At first, this seems to be a bizarre location for a Goth music and culture festival.

However, when you witness the dramatic skies, crashing waves and Dracula abbey on the horizon, it all makes sense.

english countryside farm cat

Photographer Joey Wong spotted this appropriately black cat, giving us the evil eye.

haunted house ghost girl

To get in the mood, I dressed as a Victorian “woman in black” and haunted our Sykes Cottages rental.

We were glad to have a quaint, comfortable place to relax between the various Goth concerts and activities.

japanese ghost woman

Staying with Sykes Cottages meant we got to experience “country living,” yet stay within walking distance to the center of Whitby. And we weren’t at all “roughing it” — the cottage rental had several bathrooms and a fully stocked modern kitchen.

I recommending finding accommodations through their site, if you’re coming to Whitby Goth Weekend. If only my ghost could linger here longer!

whitby england water shore

We spent most of our time at the Spa Pavilion, where the live music takes place. The Spa also has a cafeteria and multiple halls filled with vendors.

As I noted before, you’ll have to climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the Spa, so wear appropriate footwear…

steampunk metal suit

The Spa is also the best place to people-watch. We were stunned by this gentleman’s DIY steampunk suit. Those clockwork gears and details!

He even rigged the outfit so that at the press of a button, steam emanated from the top of his headpiece. 

whitby fashion goths

We saw an enormous variety of fashion at WGW — carnival, cyber, Goth, deathrock, Victorian, pin-up.

Many attendees wore elaborate clothing that they made themselves, out of materials like feathers.

whitby gothic weekend tickets, passes

We recommend getting passes in advance via the Whitby Goth Weekend website, since early birds get discounts. The next event is in October, so you can plan ahead.

The organizers graciously gave us press passes. All of the staff was knowledgeable and well-prepared, and happy to answer questions.

steampunk shop, england

Bring British pounds with you, as there are at least three different locations for vendor markets. These independent sellers set up booth, and sell one-of-a-kind alternative accessories, sweets, clothing, you name it.

whitby goth bazaar market

This is what the scene looked like, in just one of the halls… As you can imagine, it gets overwhelming! I suggest briskly looking through everything first, and then coming back to narrow down what you want to purchase.

steampunk pocketwatch, watch

Steampunk is one of the most popular aesthetics at Whitby Goth Weekend. You can complete your outfit with a top hat or brass pocket-watch.

goth decorated skull cake

I’m loving this Goth wedding cake, which looks like a weathered book.

skull chocolates, skeleton cake

It was Whitby Goth Weekend’s 21st anniversary, so they prepared a chocolate skull cake! There were also bat lollies and absinthe chocolates for sale.

cameo gothic jewelry

The bazaar had lots of spooky-cute designs, like these coffin earrings and Victorian cameo necklaces.

(Below are some Steampunk items for sale.)

stuffed toy bat, goth toys

I gave the giant stuffed bat a squeeze. There are gifts for all ages, from kawaii-Goth pillows to toddler t-shirts.

cyber goth gasmask

Now, let’s take a closer look at people’s personal style at the festival. There was no set dress code — you’ll come across all ages, all aesthetics.

The only overall link was “dark creativity,” as exemplified in this apocalyptic gasmask and steampunk explorer.

deathrock shaved hair, goth hairstyle

My friend Nyx wears Dracula Clothing — love her vampiric collar and collection of silver rings.

baby goth, gothic kids

We saw a fair number of baby-Goths and children at the event. This one loved posing for photos, and rocked her pink cyber locks.

Very cool to see how Goths from the 80s and 90s now have families, who all take part in the lifestyle.

used gothic clothing market

The Spa also holds the “Bring and Buy,” where you can sell and purchase used clothing at discount prices.

Be sure to arrive early, since all the vending bazaars close around 5pm. After, only wristband-wearers (who bought passes) are allowed into the venue to watch the concerts.

the last dance singer

Joey and I got to see the bands from the photography area, just inches from the performers. We began the evening with The Last Dance, a Goth rock band that has been releasing consistently strong albums since they formed in California in 1990.

whitby goth weekend bands, concert

Vocalist Jeff Diehm sang a few songs with female guest Velvet Shadow. The band’s category-defying dark synth sound, coupled with a joyous stage presence, made for one of the most enjoyable performances of WGW.

goth band, vocalist last dance

The Last Dance ended with a raucous cover of “Dead Man’s Banter.” You couldn’t help but smile when Jeff and guest Ed Banshee linked arms and swayed together on stage.

whitby goth concert, spa stage

Whitby Goth Weekend’s concert hall has impressive acoustics. The space has an intimate feeling, perhaps since everyone in the audience traveled a long way to come to this festival.

For every band, there were fans leaning over the railing, singing along to every song. 

sigue sigue sputnik performing

Next, it was glitter-punk decadence with Sigue Sigue Sputnik! Mohawks, sequined tops, horse tails, and codpieces took over the stage, and we knew we were in for a wild ride.

glam rock band, female bassist

The band tore through glam rock numbers from the 1980s to the recent “Electronic” incarnation. The outfits and shenanigans took center stage, but each members had the musical chops to back up this visual candy.

sigue sigue sputnik singer

Martin Degville looked like a dystopian punk, with his fishnet mask and salacious gestures. Near the end of the set, he launched into a cover of David Bowie’s “Jean Genie,” to the delight of the crowd.

bella morte singer Andy Deane

Last but not least, we have Bella Morte. Joey’s image captures the pure, visceral energy from frontman Andy Deane. He leapt all over the stage — sometimes veering dangerously close to the equipment and ledge — and kept everyone in rapt attention.

bella morte gothic band

The group’s name means “beautiful death,” and it fits their music: sometimes hard and dark, but always beautiful. Bella Morte’s latest album, “Exorcisms,” encapsulates the feeling of watching them raw and live on stage.

goth dance party, whitby england

After the last set, the Spa turned into the ultimate Goth party! The DJs’ playlist veered towards old school Gothic, New Wave and post-punk tracks, which I personally love to hear.

The dancefloor looked like a coven of witches, swaying in their long black gowns.

See these bands and dancers in action, in the video above and on VideofyMe.

dracula abbey ruins, whitby uk

I leave you with the ominous Whitby Abbey… Later, I’ll show you an editorial magazine cover photoshoot that we did right against the church ruins.

Isn’t it wonderful to see dark, alternative bands and fashion thriving, at Whitby Goth Weekend? Perhaps you’ll make the trip out for the next WGW during Halloween 2015!

Joy Division & The Smiths tour: Manchester Music Tours! Factory Records, Salford Lads Club, Ian Curtis grave.

salford lads club, the smiths manchester

I’m wearing Joy Division tights, and posing like Morrissey — in Manchester, England!

For years, I’ve wanted to make a pilgrimage to this British city, which is one of the birthplaces of Goth and Post-Punk. But as Ian Curtis sang in “Disorder” — “I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand / Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?”

The answer is yes, yes, yes. Manchester Music Tours took me on the perfect customized Joy Division / New Order / The Smiths journey…

factory records manchester building

… which included stops at Factory Records (above), Ian Curtis’ grave and home, Salford Lads Club, and Manchester Cathedral. Read on for the photos and stories!

(But first — if you aren’t familiar with these bands, I suggest you scroll to the end of this post, and hit “Play” on the musical widget. It contains a selection of their songs, so you can listen as you read.)

manchester music tours bus, craig gill

Manchester Music Tours is run by Craig Gill, drummer of rock band Inspiral Carpets. I couldn’t have found a more passionate and knowledgeable guide. Craig has lived and breathed the local music scene since he was in his early teens. All day, he riveted me with stories of the Mad-Chester rave days, Noel Gallagher auditioning for his group (and getting rejected), and personal tales of growing up in this gritty city.

Craig offers both bus and walking tours, themed around famous Manchester bands including the Stone Roses and Oasis. He also does bespoke tours, and customized one for me around my personal favorites: Joy Division and The Smiths.

afflecks music tiles, famous manchester bands

We started at Affleck’s, an alternative fashion center in the Northern Quarter (I’ll take you inside, in an upcoming post).

The exterior has tiled murals dedicated to Manchester luminaries. On the far right is a tribute to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover — notice it’s the same pattern on my leggings and skirt.

manchester music walk of fame

Nearby, there’s a Manchester musical walk of fame. I’m standing on a tribute to the Twisted Wheel Club, a 1960s and 70s nightclub for Northern Soul. (Craig’s band has a triangular plaque on this street too!)

joy division outfit, leggings, shirt

We hopped back on the bus, and drove to Factory Records — the label of Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and other British indie bands. (I did my makeup in 80s Goth style, to commemorate this era!)

● Outfit Details ●

– LovelySally leggings and skirt, featuring the Unknown Pleasures album cover print. This brand has many unique prints, including forest scenes and galaxies.
– Skull t-shirt from Iceland’s Dead Gallery. In an upcoming post, I’ll take you inside artist Jón Sæmundur’s studio.

Shop for Joy Division fashion and accessories below.

mr manchester street art, tony wilson

Nearby, we found a stencil of “Mr Manchester” by street artist Stewy. That’s the nickname of Tony Wilson, founder of The Factory and energy force behind the Manchester music and nightlife revival.

Tony Wilson is portrayed brilliantly in the movie 24 Hour Party People — I encourage you to watch it, if you haven’t already.

the factory nightclub uk

Today, this is building is home to FAC251, or the Factory Manchester nightclub. It’s co-owned by Peter Hook, bassist of New Order and Joy Division.

joy division manchester tour

Thanks to Craig’s distinctive yellow bus, we were able to visit many famous spots in the course of a day. Photographer Joey Wong and I wanted to re-create famous visuals of the bands, so we stopped by Epping Walk bridge for a quick photoshoot.

joy division manchester bridge photoshoot

This is the footbridge where Kevin Cummins took the iconic photo of Joy Division (above), in the late 1970s.

unknown pleasures shirt, leggings, skirt

So cool, to be standing in their footsteps! The feeling of the bridge remains the same, over 40 years later.

(Although for some reason, the city replaced the original streetlamps and placed them on the other side. It appears they’ve added a safety hand rail too.)

the smiths salford lad clubs, morrissey

Next, we drove to Salford to pay tribute to this famous photo, from the sleeve of The Smiths – Queen is Dead album.

smiths fans music tour, coronation street

Since 1903, the Salford Lads Club has run sports and recreational activities for young men (and now women). Today, the community is still going strong thanks to volunteers.

I did my best to imitate Morrissey‘s smug mug for the photos.

salford lad clubs smiths landmark

Located at the corner of Coronation Street, the Club has become one of the most famous musical landmarks. Fans from all over come to pose between the rounded arches.

smiths exhibition, fan club

Inside, I saw an old wood door marked with “The Smiths.” Inside, I found Leslie Holmes putting up photos and notes from devotees! 

In 2004, Leslie led a project to turn the weightlifting room into a shrine for The Smiths. He loves meeting visitors from around the world, and puts his heart into maintaining this room for them.

ian curtis mural, tiles

He invited me to send in my photo taken outside the Salford Lads Club, which he’ll add to the wall. (Look for La Carmina, if you visit…)

The wall includes album covers, signed photos, and the original Affleck’s mosaic featuring Morrissey.

salford lad club smiths room, tshirt

So happy to have Craig as my enthusiastic guide. He was fantastic at answering my questions, and sharing stories of the bands.

wizard of edge inn, restaurant

Since this was a customized tour, we could move at our own pace. We stopped for lunch at The Wizard Pub at Alderley Edge. What a special place: the inn dates back to the 16th century, and the surrounding countryside is the site of Merlin legends.

wizard alderley edge restaurant food

Still dreaming of that ricotta and spinach pie… (In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how Manchester’s food scene pleasantly surprised me, and defied stereotypes about British cuisine.)

Macclesfield Cemetery, joy division graveyard

It took about 45 minutes to reach Macclesfield, the town south of Manchester where Joy Division’s vocalist grew up. I loved seeing the peaceful, green countryside outside my window as Craig drove us to Macclesfield Cemetery, where he is buried. 

ian curtis grave location, memorial stone

Ian Curtis was cremated here in 1980. Fans continue to visit his curbstone, leaving photos and gifts for this beloved musician.

(The original memorial stone had a more Gothic font, but it was stolen in 2008!)

ian curtis crematorium, cemetery

Perhaps you recognize this view from the movie Control. The final scene pans out to show the chimney where he was cremated. 

Macclesfield graveyard, manchester

This Victorian-era graveyard is beautiful — the perfect resting place for the man who many consider to be the first Gothic musician. 

ian curtis home, Macclesfield house

Manchester Music Tours also took us to the Macclesfield home that Ian Curtis shared with his wife (and where he ultimately committed suicide, in the kitchen). The house was recently sold to an unknown buyer. Let’s hope he or she is a Joy Division aficionado, and will preserve the rose-stained door

control movie, hate jacket

Also in the movie Control, you’ll see the actor playing Ian Curtis walk from this exact home to his job nearby, as an employment agent. The back of his jacket reads “Hate.”

juveniles ian curtis workplace

While working here, Ian witnessed a woman suffering a seizure, inspiring the lyrics of the Joy Division song “She’s Lost Control.”

Craig Gill and I posed in front of the Juveniles sign (there’s a plaque for the band on another wall). We seem to be imitating the “dancing girls” emoji pose.

joy division manchester cathedral photoshoot

For our last stop, we drove back to Manchester and stopped by the cathedral where the band took these shivering pictures

goth travel, gothic music landmarks

That’s as Gothic as it gets. (If you dig what I’m wearing, below are links to Joy Division shirts and more).

manchester cathedral architecture, gargoyles

Love the Gargoyles perched on the pillars.

manchester music tour, new order band

Manchester Cathedral has a history that dates back centuries. Today, it holds poetry readings, musical performances and more.

joy division fashion, clothing, outfit post

I can’t thank Manchester Music Tours enough for this inspiring journey! Goth / post-punk music fans, I urge you to join one of Craig’s tours (schedules and more info are on his site). Having a passionate, easygoing guide like him was invaluable, and let us visit multiple locations in just half a day.

(Below is a bonus photo of The Hacienda, Tony Wilson’s happening club and music venue. Today, it’s an apartment complex but the name remains.)

echo and bunnymen tour, hacienda apartments

Craig’s band, Inspiral Carpets, recently released a new studio album that you can pick up here. Psychedelic organs, spoken word, and dark beats — I’ve been listening to it on loop in my car.

Manchester’s music scene continues to rock hard. Inspiral Carpets is performing with Echo & The Bunnymen, Gang of Four and other indie bands on May 23rd at Manchester Academy (I wish I could be there.) Tickets are available online.

morrissey tour, the smiths salford

I leave you with a final shot of the Morrissey room at Salford Lads Club. “Farewell to this land’s cheerless marches / Hemmed in like a boar between arches…”

Wouldn’t you love to go on Goth music adventure like mine? Thanks to Visit Manchester for making these travels possible.

(For a taste of the bands featured in this Manchester Music Tour, click on the player below.)

SHARE & COMMENT

Whitby Goth Weekend: Travel Tips & Accommodations! Steampunk Gothic fashion, Andi Sex Gang.

kato steamgirl, steampunk band abney park

Thousands of Goths came out to play… at Whitby Goth Weekend 2015! (Above — ran into steampunk designer/model Kato Steamgirl, and Derek Brown of the band Abney Park.)

WGW began as a small gathering in 1994, and is now one of the world’s biggest celebrations of Gothic music, fashion and culture. Twice a year, the festival brings alternative types together, in the charming seaside town of Whitby, England.

furry costume, animal mascot

It’s quite the sight… Locals mixing with Victorian gentlemen, steampunk ladies, and even furries! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the travel basics, followed by style snaps and a performance by Andi Sex Gang.

First, how do you get to Whitby Goth Weekend? Most people first travel to a nearby city, such as Liverpool or even London. I was already in Manchester with my crew, so we easily rode the train and changed tracks at Darlington or Middlesbrough. Our ride was about 5 hours long, and gave us a gorgeous view of the English countryside. However if you have a car, driving is usually the most direct way to get to Whitby. The festival also runs a “late bus” to nearby Scarborough, which is where some people stay.

captain cook cottages, whitby uk

Now, how can you find accommodations during Whitby Goth Weekend? Let me warn you: on these festival dates, Whitby hotels and rentals get booked up months in advance! Plan ahead, and don’t expect to “wing it” or you’ll be in trouble.

I stayed in a Sykes Cottages rental with my friends, and it was the perfect solution. We got a cute cottage to ourselves, within walking distance of the city center. The location (Captain Cook haven) was picture-perfect, as you can see above. We even saw bunnies in our yard!

sykes cottages vacation rental

We rented this Sykes Sunnybrae cottage, which mixed countryside charm with modern appliances. I did my best to haunt the kitchen. (Perhaps that explains the mystery of the disappearing cookies?)

whitby goth weekend accommodation, sykes holiday rentals

Sykes makes it easy for you to search and book cottages all over the UK, via their siteOur cottage had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a spacious living room and kitchen — what a deal, especially when shared between a few friends. Sykes even provided us with snacks and everything we needed for English afternoon tea! (I’ll show you more in the next post.)

larpool viaduct, whitby

We were a stone’s throw away from the Larpool Viaduct, which was built in the late 19th century and spans the River Esk.

da vinci corset, dracula clothing model

My friends and I walked on the viaduct, and it led us straight to Whitby town center. I’m wearing a Victorian dress and Da Vinci print corset from Dracula Clothing.

(Shop corsets and steam punk clothing below)

whitby gothic weekend travel guide

How gorgeous is Yorkshire, Northern England? This was my first time in this county, and it’s so different from London: lush landscapes, friendly folk.

Tip: wear good walking shoes (I wore “trainers” and carried my heels in a bag). While this is a pleasant walk, it’s a long one and there are some steep areas. Bring a coat too, since the weather can get chilly especially near the ocean.

whitby boats, seaside

At the end of the path, we descended a steep set of stairs and arrived at this adorable row of boats. While Whitby is a small resort town, there are a good number of shops and restaurants, so you’ll have plenty to see and do.

british fishing nets

Seagulls chirped and circled though the air. Whitby is known as a prime fishing port, and their fish and chips are considered the best in Britain.

la carmina whitby goth weekend

Why is Whitby the location of a Goth festival? Because Bram Stoker wrote Dracula while staying in this fishing town. Whitby Abbey (to my left) provided dark inspiration for his vampire novel.

whitby gothic landscape, sea

The ruins of the Abbey called to me… We went there later, to shoot a magazine cover. Stay tuned, and I’ll take you up there. (All photos by Joey Wong)

elder goths, whitby gothic festival

Everywhere we walked, there was a Goth! We saw people of all ages in alternative fashion, ranging from Steampunk to Fairy to Cyber to Horror. (I’ll show you more snaps of festival-goers in the next post.)

magpie cafe, best whitby restaurants, fish chips

The walk worked up our appetite. We stopped for lunch at the Magpie Cafe, one of the top-rated restaurants in Whitby. They’re famed for their fish & chips, and have a extensive menu featuring fresh seafood. (Tip: go during off-hours. We went on a Friday afternoon, and were lucky to get a table. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, the lineup will snake around the block).

I posed at the Magpie Cafe entrance with my friends Nyx and Truls, who is the designer of Dracula Clothing. We’re all wearing his dark designs.

yorkshire beaches, whitby

The “Bizarre Bazaar” and concerts are all held at “The Spa” Pavilion. Where is this venue exactly? On the cliff, not far from the whale bones sculpture. (Address: West Cliff, Whitby, North Yorkshire)

Below the Spa is a long stretch of beach. Some cheeky Goths drew a giant pentagram in the sand.

dracula clothing, steampunk top hat

It was wonderful to see so many “creatures of the night” gathered in one place. I loved how people dressed and expressed themselves in their own ways, like this steampunk lad playing a ukelele. My friends found a Dracula store that matched their aesthetic!

purple blue colored hair, steampunk goggles

Dracula Clothing also designed the brass goggles that I’m wearing as a necklace. My purple-blue hair is the work of Stephanie Hoy at Stratosphere Salon in Vancouver.

goth car, gothic license plate

We passed by a row of decorated Goth cars. This license plate says it all.

goth decorated cars

Now that’s “Dead-ication” to the spooky lifestyle.

whitby goth photography, costumes

There were a lot of photographers asking to take images. Some have complained that “looky-loos” are turning the weekend into too much a “circus attraction,” but aside for a few moments on the busiest streets, I didn’t feel hounded or on display.

goth dog costume, victorian goths

21 years after the first Whitby Gothic Weekend, the scene retains an inclusive, genuine atmosphere. Many of the attendees have been part of the lifestyle for decades, and still going strong.

andi sex gang singer

During the day, anyone is welcome to browse the shopping “bazaars” (there are three locations) and attend free events, like a pool and golf tournament. However, when night falls, only wristband-wearers are allowed into the Spa pavilion, where the bands perform.

This year, WGW performers included Cruxshadows, The Birthday Massacre and Abney Park. I only attended Friday and Saturday night, so I didn’t see all the shows. However, I was front and center for Andi Sex Gang (above).

justin minister, andi sex gang bassist

My friend Justin Minister was playing bass in Andi Sex Gang. (Remember I saw him play with Amy’s Arms in Toronto?)

sex gang children performing

Oh, Andi. The founder and singer of Sex Gang Children (seminal 1980s Goth band) is powerful as ever, in his solo incarnation. He crouched and splayed his hands, moving like a Japanese butoh artist. Paint divided his face in two halves, which shone in different colors as the lights changed.

whitby goth weekend 2015 bands

The group played tracks from the past, and from their new album Achilles In The Eurozone. The latest songs are as evocative at ever, pulsing with a modern sound — Andi is always stepping up his game.

(We had press passes, so Joey got to shoot these dramatic photos from the foot of the stage.)

andi whitby goth band concert

He’s a study in stage presence: scuttling across the stage like a spider, and hitting every note with intensity. Between songs, Andi wished Whitby Goth Weekend a happy birthday, in his best horror-film voice.

goth bands, whitby lineup

The band grounded the tracks with dark, pulsing rhythms. The background showed eccentric film clips, like a Hindu god spreading a multitude of arms.

famous goth band singer

If Uncle Fester could sing… Bravo to Andi Sex Gang for a magnificent headlining performance. They’re currently on tour in Europe; check out their Facebook for upcoming show dates.

I filmed some clips of Whitby bands performing — I hope these give you a sense of the energy on stage. Watch the compilation video above and on VideofyMe.

whitby festival goth girl

Attending Whitby Goth Weekend was a dream come true! I have a lot more to share with you — please take a moment to bookmark this site and add me on Facebook, to make sure you won’t miss it.

yorkshire ocean, resort town

The next Whitby Goth Weekend takes place October 30 to November 1 (Halloween 2015!) More info about tickets, performers etc can be found on their website.

Have you heard of WGW? What’s your impression of this Gothic festival so far?

(Shop my favorite Steampunk fashion, shoes and accessories below)