As the sun broke on a cold Manchester morning we were getting ready for a rather long journey, from Manchester to Whitby. For me I had not been to Whitby Goth Weekend in about 9 or 10 years so it was an eager return and for my friend Emma it was her first time there.
We got taxi to Manchester airport where we would start the first leg of our journey to Whitby, from Manchester airport to Leeds which was a two and a half hour stretch. We got on the coach at 9.10 am and tucked into our breakfast. The journey itself was comfortable but with a coach driver that would be more at home on a rally course rather than in a coach. But we arrived at Leeds in one piece which at some points we doubted with the way the driver was driving. A quick cigarette and then onto the next part of our journey this time it was from Leeds to Scarborough where our hotel was. This was a very scenic part of the journey heading through some of the most beautiful parts of my home county of Yorkshire going from west to north Yorkshire.
We arrived at Scarborough after a three hour stint of travel and attempted to find our hotel to which we did quite easily. The hotel was really nice and it was superb for the low price we paid. After getting ready and having a couple of cups of tea we headed out to go to Whitby. We were both gothed up to the T with me wearing lace up jeans, a t-shirt with Christopher Lee as Dracula on, a long coat and my trusty pair of New Rocks. We headed out to the bus stop to get the bus to Whitby. At the bus stop there was a couple also dressed in alternative clothing and as we got on the bus and sat down we sat near them and got chatting. They too were at Whitby but they had done the Friday nights events and we were there for the Saturday nights festivities. The bus journey was reminiscent of an hour long roller coaster but we didn’t really notice much as we were chatting all the way there to the other couple who were amazing people to say the least.
We arrived at Whitby and decided to head straight to the pavilion where the main bands were on. As you walked through the streets of Whitby it was full of other like minded people, dressed in all manner of goth clothing. There were so many styles from trad goth, cyber goth and lots of steam punk. People were all enjoying themselves in the different pubs and some were going to the same place as we were, up to the pavilion. People were dressed up in some really amazing ways and we all talked to each other as we walked. As we reached the pavilion the other couple said their goodbyes and we went into what was going to be an amazing night.
We were on the guest list thanks to The Angels Of Liberty whom unfortunately where not playing due to Voe being in an accident. This was going to be the Angels Of Liberty first gig which we had all been waiting for, but we all wish Voe a speedy recovery and hope to see the Angels Of Liberty at some point next year. Vampire Freaks will be there at the iconic first gig of the Angels Of Liberty that there is no doubt.
As we entered the pavilion it was a wash with everything and all goth. As per usual everyone was so friendly. We entered into the main hall where the bands where going to be playing and had a look at the merchandise stands of all the bands. I personally was attracted to the All Living Fear stand as a friend Matthew North was there greeting the bands fans. I had a chat with Matthew and then got my wallet out to pillage their merch stand, coming out with a t-shirt, DVD, key ring and badge. I was time to visit the bar for a drink, with no real ale I had a pint of Bulmers cider which was really nice too. As me and Emma walked around we met Martin Oldgoth, a friend and also a main stay for Whitby. Martin has been in charge of arranging the bands for Whitby for many years and this was due to be his last year doing that job as he has decided to take a step back which we were all saddened by when we heard the news. After having a chat with Martin we headed to the front door to meet Jo Hampshire, Jo is an amazing Yorkshire lass and she is the founder of Whitby Goth Weekend. Jo is a very knowledgeable lady and it was such a pleasure to meet her for the first time. It is thanks to Jo that Whitby Goth Weekend is alive and well, thanks to Jo Whitby keeps on going. Whitby Goth Weekend is Jo’s legacy and a great legacy that is too. We decided to head out for a cigarette before the bands started to play, as we got outside we met a lady who had come from Germany for Whitby Goth Weekend. She had brought her dog which was wolf like in it’s look but it was so timid and very beautiful. As we looked out on the sea the moon shone brightly and reflected on the very calm sea, this was indeed a miracle of nature and a sight to behold.
We went back in for the bands and as we got in I recognised someone whom I hadn’t seen in so many years. I went over to see of it was Martin and to my surprise it was. We shook hands and gave each other a hug, then stood for a while filling in the gaps of our lives and reminiscing about the good old days. Near the door to the main hall Emma noticed a close friend, Rosie Garland. Rosie is an author, compare and also vocals in the legendary goth band the March Violets. We had a great natter with Rosie and then headed in for the first band.
Bad Pollyanna were the opening act, I had never heard Bad Pollyanna and must say I was really impressed with them. Lead singer Olivia was and excellent front lady for Bad Pollyanna and her vocals were amazing. After seeing Bad Pollyanna we headed back to the bar for another drink and then back to the foyer for a break. The people there were all perfect and it was like a scene from the opening of the film The Hunger starring David Bowie.
Heading back to the hall the next band on was The Last Cry, again they played a brilliant set to which both me and Emma enjoyed to say the least. But then came the start of the bands I really wanted to see, All Living Fear. This gig was one of the 20 year anniversary gigs for All Living Fear and possibly their last. They opened with Broken Child which was followed by one of my favourite All Living Fear songs Twenty Nine Point Nine. All Living Fear really were on form when they went into Broken Dream and then Feel. They were solid together and the reaction they commanded from the audience was amazing. The atmosphere as they played Wait For Yesterday was electric and you could see as the crowd danced and swayed to the music that everyone was enjoying themselves. All Living Fear then played Love Is A Spirit which is a cover of a song by Arthur Brown and Kingdom Come, Love Is A Spirit was covered so well managing to keep the beauty of the original track but yet putting their very own twist on it. Breaking the Fire and All Living Fear were the last songs of the set of All Living Fear, these songs formed the pinnacle of the set and an end to an amazing show by All Living Fear. This is one of them gigs that you will never ever forget due to the amazing music and the crowds reaction to All Living Fear. After their set it was beer time once again.
Back to the bar and out for a cigarette before heading back in for Blitzkid, this was one of the shows on their fairwell tour before splitting up. Their set included the likes of Pumkin Patch Murders and Lupen Tooth. Blitzkid really were on form and played a true blinding set playing some of their greatest songs from their 15 year career. The set was hard and heavy, belting out noise and giving the crowd sheer delight in what they produced. Again after the set we headed again to the bar and out for a cigarette.
Outside in the smoking area people were chatting to each other and everyone was just so friendly all enjoying such a great night. As we headed back in we went to see the headline band. Alien Sex Fiend. Alien Sex Fiend are an iconic goth band and this tour was to mark their 30th anniversary together. Again Alien Sex Fiend played all of their classics from over the years including I Walk The Line which is my personal favourite by them. As their set ended we headed back to the foyer to get another beer and chat to folks. Everyone was high on the atmosphere of the gig. After a few more beers and feeling a little tipsy we decided to get a taxi back to our hotel which was a hefty £30. As soon as we got back to the hotel we just crashed out trying to get some sleep before our mammoth journey home in the morning.
We awoke early and went down for our breakfast, with a hearty full English breakfast we were ready for the long journey back. Both myself and Emma were very weary from the previous nights festivities as we headed in to Scarborough for a look around the town before we got the coach back to Leeds. We walked around and got some sandwiches and food for the journey back. 12.10 came and we got on the bus. We really did feel the uncomfortable seats on the way back to Leeds, but the scenic route made up for any uncomfort. In Leeds we decided to get a cup of tea as it was very cold in Leeds bus station. Our final leg of the journey was a lot more comfortable and this time we had a good driver and not the rally driver that we had on our first coach. As we got to Manchester airport we had a cigarette and called our taxi to take us home. All the way back myself and Emma could not stop talking about what such a great time that we had the previous night.
I must admit this was one of the best times I have had a Whitby Goth Festival, so much so that we have our tickets to the next one in April 2013. I highly recommend that anyone in the alternative community from all over the world to go to Whitby, to me it is one of the main events on the alternative calendar.
For more information about Whitby head over to their website http://www.whitbygothweekend.co.uk/ here you will find information regarding the next event including bands and information regarding things like accommodation and travel to the festival.
Photos courtesy of Simon Landmine, Susan Tiggs Wilkinson, Margret Elise, Paul Hedley and Dave Lowery