Whitby Goth Weekend, what to expect at the event

← Homepage

Whitby is without a doubt called the 'Goth Capital of Great Britain'; not unexpected when one considers that on 2 weekends in the year (close to April and October) great numbers of individuals converge in the town in celebration of all things 'Gothic'. The initial concept belonged to Jo Hampshire, who, in 1994 along with a number of friends, came to Whitby for the 1st Goth Festival. Whitby was possibly picked because of its associations with Dracula, (Bram Stoker holidayed in Whitby and drew his inspiration for the work of fiction from the Abbey). As the once-a-year event started to be ever more popular it was decided to hold the Whitby Goth Weekend festival twice yearly. Through the weekends that the events are being held, the whole town seems to embrace the Gothic mood. Some shops and public houses decorate their property with spiders, skulls, cobwebs and various other paraphernalia, in keeping with the overall mood of the Gothic guests. Several vacationers have most elaborate outfits encompassing a multitude of styles. Beautiful crinoline gowns in colors from black through red to white are worn, some with veils, some with parasols and some with rich velvety cloaks. The men can be seen in top hats and tails, stunning morning suits with silver walking canes and spats. Recently there has been a divergence into outfits related to the punk and new world movement, each equally interesting to see with spikey hair, kilts, fishnet stockings. Music has been incorporated into the bigger picture, with bands and artists showcasing their talents at the Whitby Pavilion, Metropole Hotel and other venues. Some 'big name' acts are beginning to attend the functions now such is the rise in popularity of these types of weekends both in this country but also around the world. The Pavilion has been home to some 'black market' markets held in the lower basement. Stalls showing a wide array of Gothic clothing, footwear, music and memorabilia are on sale, an interesting view into the Gothic psyche for those of the more 'normal' persuasion. It is the generally held view amongst the local population of the town that the Gothic visitors are really welcome and indeed many of the townsfolk themselves embrace the dress-style and frequent the various functions held. More and more families are visiting the town at these week-ends with children and even babies in costume along with people of all ages even those in their 80's and possible older! St. Mary's Parish Church on the East Cliff next to the Abbey has been the venue for the renewal of many wedding vows amongst the Gothic community and the Registry Office has seen a rise in the number of civil marriages celebrated here, all with the Gothic theme. The majority of the participants in the festival weekends are more than happy to pose for pictures as they wander around the town and seafront. On the cliff top near to St.Mary's Graveyard and the Abbey, photographers can be seen in abundance taking atmospheric shots of the Goths in period attire amongst the gravestones or with the backdrop of the 199 steps, Caedmon's Cross and the harbour view. The history of Whitby has a very diverse and chequered past befitting its Gothic connections, from its gargoyles and chimeras which adorn a number of churches to its Pagan Green man which is on a stone frieze carved on St. Hildas' C of E Church on Church Square. A walk around the town's most well-known buildings will invariably show a large amount of gargoyles and mysterious symbols, a fascinating insight into the past history and the emerging new history of the town of Whitby. For more information about things to do in Whitby, visit Things to Do in Whitby