Whitby Goth Weekend & Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival; A Celebration Of Non-conformity And Music

Each year goths from all over the world gather for a biannual celebration of gothic culture, music and camaraderie at Whitby Goth Weekend.

whitby goths walking along church street
Image credit: Paul Baxter paulmbaxter.com

What is Whitby Goth Weekend?

Whitby Goth Weekend is an alternative music event founded in 1994 by Jo Hampshire. Top Mum Productions is the company responsible for putting on the event and is staffed by friends and family.

The original event was the result of around forty pen pals meeting at the Elsinore Pub in Whitby. The Elsinore and the Little Angel are still the main meeting points during the Whitby Goth Weekend.

Since then Whitby Goth Weekend has become the world's premier goth festival, attracting thousands to the town each spring and autumn.

Famous bands such as The Damned and artists including Toyah have graced the stages of the festival over the years. Fields of Nephilim and The Sisters of Mercy have become more recent favourites.

I’m with a newcomer who has never seen Voltaire before, and she is knocked back by his supernatural stage presence and first-class performance. It’s always a successful show, even if you’ve seen it before.
-The Blogging Goth

It is estimated that the event brings north of a million pounds into the town each year, filling more than 10,000 beds-nights. Here's nine reasons Goths love Whitby.

fields of nepilim perform at whitby goth weekend
Image credit: Paul Baxter paulmbaxter.com

What is Tomorrow's Ghosts Festival?

In 2018 there was a breakdown in the relationship between Whitby Goth Weekend and the Whitby Pavilion operators, SIV Live.

This meant that the Whitby Goth Weekend could no longer book the Spa venue for the October festival. A new promotor was found and with it, there came a whole new event that took place on different dates.

Absinthe Promotions were appointed to run the live music events at the Whitby Pavilion venue and the new festival, Tomorrow's Ghosts was born.

After a year of confusion for the general public and goth community in-fighting about the dates for the two events, the festivals ran on separate weekends at either end of the tourist season.

The Dutch darkwavers had amazing energy right out the gate, kicking off with a furious intro to fan favourite Stranger.
-The Blogging Goth

As it stands, Tomorrow's Ghosts focuses its efforts on music events at Whitby Pavilion. Here's a review of the November edition from The Blogging Goth.

While the original WGW showcases bands, the Bizarre Bazaar and other fringe events across a number of Whitby venues including The Met Bar, Abbey Wharf and  Whitby Leisure Centre.

a stall holder at bizarre bazaar at whitby goth weekend
Image credit: Paul Baxter paulmbaxter.com

Bizarre Bazaar alternative market

The Bizarre Bazaar is one of the highlights of the Whitby Goth Weekend. It is one of the UK's most well established and longest-running alternative markets and has been a longstanding supporter of the Whitby Goth Weekend.

Expect to find many unusual trinkets, gifts and rarities from makers and suppliers from the world of alternative merch.

There are gothic hats, dark art and a sea of curiosities just waiting to be explored. Be sure to make a trip to the Bizarre Bazaar on your visit to Whitby Goth Weekend.

The Bizarre Bazaar extends to more than 100 stalls and is hosted across six venues.

goths dancing at Whitby Pavilion
Image credit: Paul Baxter paulmbaxter.com

Fringe events around Whitby Goth Weekend

Whitby Goth Weekend plays host to a plethora of fabulous fringe events during the long weekend of celebrations.

Beyond the main stages, there's club nights, group meet-ups and a host of unofficial goth events at venues across the town.

Our favourite fringe event is the Alternative Model of the Year. Alternative Model of the Year is an annual contest which aims to question mainstream views of beauty, fashion and style.

el gothico real gothic FC
Image credit: Paul Baxter paulmbaxter.com

El Gothico

It may be one of sports unlikeliest footballing fixtures but the ‘El Gothico' is a biannual match not to be missed.

The story goes that a drunken bet was made in 2004 between Whitby Gazette reporter, John Stokoe, and lead singer of the band, Manuskript, Mike Unwins to decide who would win in a match between the goths and Whitby locals.

This unlikely fixture is a great addition to the Whitby Goth Weekend attracting around 400 fans. All the money raised from ticket sales and at the bar goes to the Willow Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages and a different local cause at each game

Over the years the team's names have changed. The original opponents Real Gothic and Athletico Gazette have given way to El Gothenheim and Stokoemotiv Whitby. Rumour has it that there was a difference of opinion about how the weekend should be run. Sound familiar?

Differences aside, El Gothico is a highly entertaining 90 minutes of football that has fostered strong ties between the visiting goths and the local Whitby community.

El Gothico Real Gothic play Stokoemotiv Whitby at Whitby Town
Image credit: Paul Baxter paulmbaxter.com

1 thought on “Whitby Goth Weekend & Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival; A Celebration Of Non-conformity And Music”

  1. The Whitby Goth Weekend is no longer held in the Spa. The management company Sheffield International Venues have refused to honour their contract with Topmum Promotions and another has been given a contract, it is however NOT WGW.

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