Whitby Goth Weekend: The first goths arrive for October 2019 festival

Damian and Jayne Playfoot, from Leeds, in gothic attire
Damian and Jayne Playfoot, from Leeds, in gothic attire
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The second Whitby Goth Festival of 2019 is underway.

Visitors descended on the Yorkshire seaside town today for beginning of the October edition of the festival, which sees goths, steampunks and followers of other subcultures gather to enjoy live music, quirky fashion, beer tasting and other events.

Goth sisters Maria Owen and Cath Simpkins, from Chester and York, climb the 199 Steps to Whitby Abbey

Goth sisters Maria Owen and Cath Simpkins, from Chester and York, climb the 199 Steps to Whitby Abbey

The story of how Whitby became the goth capital of Britain
The goths are hugely popular with photographers and tourists who come to admire the impressive costumes on display when festival-goers promenade on the beach and in the grounds of the Whitby Abbey ruins.

The original WGW began in 1994 and an April weekend was added in 1997. Its roots are in an annual meet-up of founder Jo Hampshire's friends at a pub in the town. Whitby was traditionally seen as welcoming to and tolerant of goths because of its links to Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, which was inspired by the abbey.

Whitby Goth Weekend 2019: All the best photos from the April event
Over the years, Whitby residents have embraced the goths and have come to increasingly depend on the income they generate. Accommodation is often booked up up to two years in advance for the festivals, and there are many shops and other businesses that cater for the goth and steampunk trade.

Whitby Abbey will also be illuminated after dark by English Heritage during the weekend.

Maria Owen and Cath Simpkins show off their outfits

Maria Owen and Cath Simpkins show off their outfits

This is actually the third of four goth events to take place in Whitby in 2019. Following a split between the organisers of the original Whitby Goth Weekend and long-term gig venue the Spa Pavilion, the latter teamed up with the promoters of a rival called Tomorrow's Ghosts, who announced live music events that were to be held just a week after both the April and October weekends.

Joan Walderman and Louise Ball from Fleetwood, Lancashire

Joan Walderman and Louise Ball from Fleetwood, Lancashire

Vourn and Garry Folwell, from Basingstoke

Vourn and Garry Folwell, from Basingstoke