Organiser reports a great weekend

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STORMS may have battered the Yorkshire coast last weekend, but the organiser of the Goth festival said that the inclement weather did not manage to dampen visitors’ spirits.

While the streets may have appeared quieter than usual as people attempted to protect their elaborate costumes and photographers hid at home to save their cameras, many indoor events proved more popular than ever and pubs were packed with visitors.

Goth weekend founder Jo Hampshire said: “It’s a strange one.

“I don’t think the weather had a huge effect and while the weather put off a lot of day trippers the hotels were really busy, so there were a lot of people staying over.

“A lot of people don’t bring dress-down outfits as it’s their one chance to dress up in the year, so town has been as packed as it ever was.”

Traders who manned stalls throughout the weekend have reported that sales were actually more than they expected, as people sought relief inside from the wind and rain.

However, the main music events at the Spa Pavilion was widely perceived as quieter than many had seen it before and Jo has appealled for people to support the core music concerts.

She said: “I understand that there’s a lot of good new festivals this year and people can only afford to go to so many things, but it’s really important that people support the main events at the Pavilion.”

One of the contributors to this downturn in popularity may have been the evolution of the event as a whole as it becomes less centralised and instead takes over the whole town.

Jo said: “In years gone by Whitby was about music and now it’s evolved into a lot of different things.

“The word Goth in Whitby Goth Weekend isn’t so true any more.

“It’s a very diverse crowd, which is great because it’s become a melting pot of different people.”

This year’s fund-raisers managed to raise over a £1,000 for a number of causes, including the Bat Conservation Trust.

Photographers again visited the town to snap pictures of the Goths, many of whom were armed for the first time with cards which they could hand out to ask photographers to be respectful.

“We just wanted people to be polite,” explained Jo.

“I actually had someone phone me and rant, saying I can’t stop people taking pictures.

“I’m not trying to, I just want people to be polite and ask first.”

The next Whitby Goth Weekend will run from 31 October to 5 November, which allows the festival to incorporate both Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night.

Jo added: “What we would like somebody to do is organise a community bonfire in Whitby, to which we would be able to contribute what we can.

“There isn’t one in Whitby so we feel we’re missing out.

“Lots of our visitors ask us about bonfires so it would be really nice.”

The line-ups for November’s main events have already been announced and will feature Alien Sex Fiends, who have been playing for 30 years and Mesh, for whom this will be their only UK gig.

For more information visit www.whitbygothweekend.co.uk or see the festival’s new Facebook page or Twitter feed @WGWGothWeekend.