Every year over the holiday weekend at Pentecost, the city of Leipzig floods with Goths from all over the world who come to Leipzig to see and mostly to be seen. The streets are filled with throngs in black and red, long leather jackets, metal studs, multiple body piercings, varying amounts of underwear worn as outerwear, crinoline dresses, shaved heads, colored contact lenses, black lace umbrellas and black and white makeup. If you close your eyes, the overpowering scent of patchouli in all the streetcars makes it impossible to forget it's arrived: the Wave Gothic Festival!
This international gathering of Goth fans has been happening in Leipzig since 1988, when it was broken up by the police in what was then the former East Germany. This year, over 20,000 devotees of steampunk, Victorian Goths, rivetheads and vampires (and quite a few Goth-in-training babies) descended on the city wearing elaborate costumes to listen to a huge lineup of bands including Koffin Kats, Nachtgeschrei, Lux Interna, and The Cassandra Complex. Like many others in Leipzig, we headed downtown to see what was going on. We argued about the best styles and took lots of notes on wardrobe dos and don'ts for class next fall.