The Whitby Goth Weekend® (WGW®) is an alternative music festival incorporating the Bizarre Bazaar Alternative Market featuring over 100 indoor stalls. From its humble beginnings in the Elsinore Pub as a pen friend meet up in 1994, the event has become one of the world’s premier Goth events.
The event takes place in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby.
Kids have been among regular WGW® goers for years and we like to think of ourselves as a family event. The main Spa evening event is family friendly and has no curfew time for kids. Discounted tickets are available for under 16s and we have a limited number of free tickets available for under 10’s. We do, however, expect you to behave as a responsible parent and determine when exposure to certain elements of the event is inappropriate for your children, and act accordingly. We recommend that younger attendees wear ear defenders.
While there is lots of pet friendly accommodation in Whitby, the town is extremely busy during WGW® and as dog owners we ask you to act responsibly in the best interests of your pet.
From a dog’s eye view WGW® is a frightening sea of legs coupled with several bashes to the head from everything from swords to shopping bags.
At WGW® we have seen some dogs become stressed and even injured in our markets, and so for safety reasons from Spring 2017 dogs can no longer enter our trading areas.
Service Dogs are allowed but we do strongly advise owners to visit before noon or after 4pm.
NEXT EVENT INFO
All the dates we have available are listed on the Dates & Lineup page. Dates for the Spring events are usually released at the Winter event before it, and dates for the Winter events are usually released at the Spring event before it.
If the dates of the event you’re looking for aren’t listed on the Dates & Lineup page, then they aren’t available yet. We recommend waiting until dates are released before booking accommodation to avoid disappointment.
Once acts are announced, they are listed on the Dates & Lineup page.
You can buy tickets from our online shop.
A full list of ticket prices can be found in our online shop.
AT THE EVENT
If any tickets are still available, they’ll be for sale at the Info Desk in the Spa during the event, though we recommend that you buy a ticket in advance as they are often not available on the door.
Exchange your ticket for a wristband at the WGW® Info Stall in The Spa Pavilion between 10am-5pm on Friday or Saturday. This eases congestion at the door in the evening. Don’t worry if you’re arriving late as tickets may be also exchanged on the door.
Your wristband gains you entry to two nights of live entertainment at the Spa Pavilion on the Friday and Saturday of the event.
We often run an early bird ticket offer for the next event so you can get a discount if you buy before you leave. The dates for the next event are usually released during the weekend and then listed on the Dates & Lineup page.
The WGW® Info Stall is located in the Foyer/Cafe area of the Spa Pavilion (which you can find on our map), and is open 10am-3am Friday and Saturday and 10am–4pm on Sunday. The WGW® team will be happy to help you with queries about regarding the event, lost property and Whitby itself. You can also purchase WGW® tickets here.
Doors open at 7pm.
We usually hold Happy Hour drinks promotions and a free draw to win tickets for the next event for anyone arriving before our first act hits the stage at 8pm.
Approximate onstage times are:
8.00pm First Act
8.45pm Second Act
9.45pm Third Act
11.00pm Headline Act
The event usually runs to time, but the unexpected can happen and there can be delays! Please be sure to check posters in the venue for any amendments. The headliner finishes around midnight.
A list of which Traders will be at the forthcoming event can be found here once confirmed.
Please note that because of poor mobile data connections in Whitby, few of the Traders at the Bizarre Bazaar are able to accept card payments, so if you’re planning to shop it’s a good idea to make a detour to a cash point first. Cashpoints are shown on our map.
Admission to all Trading Areas of the Official Bizarre Bazaar Alternative Market is free of charge, and they are open between 10am-5pm Fri/Sat and 10am-4pm Sun.
Not everyone has been to the Whitby Goth Weekend® before and we realise that new people can find it a bit daunting. First timers are known as Whitby Virgins, and with this in mind, we run a Whitby Virgins Meeting in the Spa on Friday & Saturday of each event at 11am. Please ask at the information desk in the Spa Foyer where to go, and there will also be an announcement made here when it’s about to start.
At the meeting you will meet a member of WGW® staff who will give you a general overview of the event, pass on some helpful tips and info, and answer any questions you have.
Another couple of bits of advice…
Don’t try to drink Whitby dry on the first night – you’d be surprised how many miss the second day because they tried to do just that.
Like any venue don’t leave bags and drinks unattended, they may not be there when you get back.
Please do not get thrown out of your accommodation for trying to get 20 plus people in your room for a party, it will ruin your weekend and may lead the owner to stop taking bookings for WGW® in the future.
If there are any other questions that come to mind once the meeting has finished, you can always ask at the information desk. Please be kind, polite, and respectful to the WGW® staff working there, they will help you in whatever way they can, but they deserve to enjoy the weekend as well!
Most of all, have a great time at WGW®!
Not as such, no. However, as a family friendly event we expect a level of taste and decency. Festival goers are pretty non-judgmental so anything from jeans and a t-shirt to full Victoriana is fine… just wear whatever you feel comfortable in as long as for safety purposes it meets the guidelines of our Weapons, Props and Attire policy.
Please find below our Weapons, Props and Attire statement and policy
WGW® Weapons, Props and Attire Statement
Whitby Goth Weekend is following the meritorious lead of Leeds Steampunk Market in their decision to implement a no confusion, exclusion policy on all weaponry irrespective of age, size or type, for the safety of all visitors. This policy will be effective in all Official WGW venues during all future Whitby Goth Weekends:
North Yorkshire Police have clarified matters as follows:
It is an offence to possess an imitation firearm in a public place (unless the person can prove he / she has a reasonable excuse) or to manufacture, import or sell a realistic imitation firearm. There are some exceptions for weapons used in historical re-enactments, theatrical productions and film making.
An imitation firearm has been defined as ‘anything, which has the appearance of a firearm’ so could include toy guns. Many imitation weapons are very realistic and until the weapon has been seized it is difficult to ascertain whether it is genuine or not.
All calls to police involving firearms are treated as if it is a genuine firearm so be aware that if you do wave an imitation firearm around you could find yourself surrounded by firearms officers pointing real weapons at you.
Each Whitby Goth Weekend we have cause to speak to a small number of visitors regarding weapons, props and attire at our family event. We have a procedure and event log where such incidents are recorded, and until now have not felt the need for a formal policy on the matter.
However, during WGW events in 2015/16 an individual chose to ‘run the gauntlet’ through our daytime venues with an unsecured sword. It was explained that their behaviour was considered high risk, and that they would be welcome without their weapon.
In early 2016 we responded to a complaint from this individual stating that they had entered our market venues on different days and at different times and that they had not always been challenged, and consequently they had felt ‘singled out’. Throughout 2016 more direct accusations of racism followed against the event and its staff .
As a small number of individuals have been determined to cause a public furore regarding the issue of apparent inconsistency of the policing of weapons at WGW, we have been left with no choice but to raise the issue of weapons with our insurers, who left us in no doubt that to turn a blind eye to the situation would render us negligent.
Allow us to be clear. WGW staff members in our Alternative Markets are employed to liaise between our 120 trading partners and visitors, to oversee an enjoyable and safe shopping experience for all. They are not employed as security officers, nor to act as weapons marshals. If in the course of their duties they are made aware of a Health and Safety concern, they will of course attend to it as a priority, and consequently there may have been an impression of inconsistency.
We wish to emphasise that this decision was not taken lightly and it is not borne from a desire to exclude Steampunks from Whitby Goth Weekend. WGW’s comments about ‘costume dressers’ should not be misconstrued.
They are borne out of frustration at the likes of Reuters and Metro who seem determined to visually represent the UK Alternative Community as a bunch of Grim Reapers, joke shop nuns and Wizard of Oz characters.
We have never disparaged the Steampunk Community, many of whom are also part of the Goth scene. In fact we may have inadvertently played a small part in its rise in popularity in the UK when 7 years ago, we came across some intriguing airship pirates. Abney Park played their first UK show at WGW in 2009, and have returned several times since.
Whitby Goth Weekend does not have the financial resources to insure and provide storage facilities or weapons marshals to peacebond items at three capacity venues. Furthermore, we do not see the necessity for weapons and hazardous props to be present at our family event.
The impact of something dreadful happening as a result of a weapon, prop, or costume causing injury or damage would be catastrophic in many ways, and we ask visitors to be mindful that Whitby is 45 minutes from the nearest major A&E department and police station.
Please see our policy which advises all visitors not to wear (or even carry) any sort of weapon. They can be dangerous and can cause alarm to others. This policy also provides information and guidelines on props and costumes at Whitby Goth Weekend.
The purpose of our Weapons, Props and Costume Policy is not to spoil anyone’s fun but to provide a safe environment for all who reside, work and visit Whitby during Whitby Goth Weekend.
We would like to sincerely thank Jo and Si Burgoyne-Neal of Leeds Steampunk Market for their guidance and for permitting us to use their new policy as a basis for our own.
Leeds Steampunk Market Weapons Policy
This document is not subject to Copyright and event organisers of any type are welcome to use any part of it in any guidelines of their own.
Government Guidelines – In specific relation to costume weaponry please refer to the Violent Crimes Reduction Act 2006, a copy of which is held at reception of each WGW venue.
Violent Crimes Reduction Act 2006
WGW® Weapons, Props and Attire Policy
V1.0 APRIL 2017
We respectfully request that visitors take note of the restrictions now in place at any event hosted by Whitby Goth Weekend® at all offical venues.
- Actual firearms including Airsoft, modern, hunting, or historic, either functioning or decommissioned.
- Realistic imitation firearms (RIF) and imitation firearms made from metal, solid resin, plastic, wood, or rubber.
- Slingshots and Bows of any kind.
- Projectile weapons of any kind including Nerf and water guns.
- Live Steel – Metal blades whether sharp or blunt e.g. swords, axes and knives.
- Heavy bats, paddles, or clubs including baseball bats.
- Bokken – a hard wooden or toughened plastic training sword.
- Explosives and incendiary devices.
- Laser Pointers.
- Gas Canisters.
Props may be up to 5ft (150cm) in length. They must be lightweight and free of sharp edges, spikes, points, or excessive weight. Recommended construction materials are Foam, Foam board or Cardboard.
- Attire should be suitable for a family event. Skimpy costumes are acceptable, nudity is not. (Rule of thumb – no more revealing than swimwear you’d wear to your local pool).
- Due to our venues being extremely busy, fabric trains are not advised.
- Fetish wear should be checked for suitability in advance with the organiser (Rule of thumb – what would your Mum think).
- The maximum width of any costume is one metre (Rule of thumb – if you can’t get through a standard doorway it’s too big).
- Costumes should not create flames, explosions or bursts of electricity.
The following are strictly prohibited:
- Costumes that could be mistaken for current military or service personnel.
- Uniforms, emblems and flags associated with hate crime and crimes against humanity.
Exceptions and Liability
This policy does not apply to mobility aids used for accessibility such as canes, crutches, and walkers. Items that are usually carried in public such as umbrellas are allowed.
Our insurer does not permit us to watch or provide storage for any weapon or prop for any amount of time. The above list is not exhaustive but a quick measure up against ‘Wheaton’s Law’ should clarify the acceptability of most other accessories. If you are in any doubt about an aspect of your attire please head to the venue’s info desk for clarification from the WGW® Duty Manager.
Whitby Goth Weekend® will not be held legally responsible for any misconduct, damage or injury resulting from the actions of any visitor to the event. We reserve the right to refuse admission and to amend this policy without notice to ensure a safe environment for visitors. The decision of the Organiser is final. Our staff have the right to do their job free from verbal abuse. The majority of our customers respect that. Thank you for being one of them.
A Meet and Greet usually takes place 5.30pm-6.30pm on Friday and Saturday at the Spa Pavilion – a chance to say hello, get autographs and grab yourself some merchandise before it all sells out! Details of which bands will be attending are confirmed shortly before each event, and released via posters in the venue and/or through our Facebook page.
It’s free admission and open to all.
The building is then cleared at 6.30pm ready to re-open at 7.00pm
Camera phones are permitted for private personal use. Written permission is required for the use of professional photo and video equipment. Live broadcasting (streaming) such as Facebook Live or Periscope is strictly prohibited.
There are several official fringe events that occur over the weekend. Events with official status are run by members of the Goth Community who are amongst the best DJ’s and Promoters in the scene and they all give their time and expertise to the Spa event. Choosing to attend an official fringe event not only guarantees a top night out but also contributes to the long term survival of WGW®. A list of these events will be updated here as they are confirmed.
I’m a hobby photographer who’s looking to take some interesting photos of visitors to the town. Is there anything I need to know?
Many Goths are becoming increasingly despondent at the sheer number of photographers visiting the event, and it sometimes seems that there are more photographers than attendees. Here are a few pointers to ensure everyone has a more positive experience:
1. St Mary’s Church have installed a sign requesting that people do not use the graves or gravestones for photographic purposes. As well as finding it incredibly disrespectful both WGW and the Church are very mindful of the Health and Safety implications of these 200 year old grave sites which are subject to subsidence and are consequently cracked and broken.
2. Please don’t assume all Goths are attention seeking exhibitionists. Despite what you may assume from their appearance many don’t wish to have their photograph taken. Please ask the subject before taking the shot.
TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION
Up to date computerised availability for B&Bs can be found on the Discover Yorkshire Coast Official Tourist Board Website or by phoning Whitby Tourist Info on 01723 383636.
The two largest companies offering self catering options in Whitby are:
Whitby Holiday Cottages – Tel: 01947 603010
Ingrid Flute’s Holiday Cottages – 01947 600700
Some of the main websites to try are:
Here are a few useful websites which contain disability access and accommodation information for around the town:
General overviews of access and facilities:
Whitby, Scarborough & Ryedale Disability Action Group
I Know (includes filters for accommodation facilities)
Whitby Train Station
Pay and Display car parks can be found throughout town, and there is also a Park & Ride facility located on the western outsirts of the town. Opening hours and more information for the Park & Ride can be found here.
Whitby town itself isn’t that big, so most places are within walking distance, but for local buses connecting Whitby to Middlesbrough, Scarborough, and also for getting out and about outside of the town centre please visit Arrivabus. There’s high demand for the reasonably priced taxis in town. We recommend booking an hour in advance of when you need a pick up on Fri and Sat evening.
It may be a good idea to add a few handy contacts into your phone before arriving – prefix them with ‘WGW’ and be prepared.
Whitby Police Station
Springvale Medical Centre
White Rose Taxis
Items are often handed in to WGW® and Whitby Police so please contact us if you’re missing anything.