Spring in Goths’ step as historic port of Whitby is invaded on festival’s return

It started in the back room of a pub as a gathering of alternative music fans some 28 years ago.

And now it has developed into one of the world’s premier Goth events, with visitors coming to Whitby from far and wide to join in and see the spectacle.

The first of two annual Whitby Goth Weekend events took place from Friday to yesterday, with thousands of people flocking to the port town to see old friends, don costumes that range from scary to spectacular and take in the programme of events, from stalls selling clothing, jewellery and accessories to music at fringe locations around the resort.

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Nowadays, around 8,000 people attend each year, with Church Street, the 199 steps, St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey being a popular spot for festival-goers to show off their outfits and for photographers to take some of their best shots.

Kelly and David Webster from Wakefield pictures at the whalebones during this weekend's Whitby Goth festival.

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Kelly and David Webster, from Wakefield, are regular October visitors after hearing about it from friends but this was the first April event that they had attended.

Mrs Webster said: “We just went for the day but the atmosphere was really good, there were lots of people dressed up and the weather was surprisingly good for a change.

“I go to get dressed up as much as anything and change my outfits every time. I now have boxes full of stuff I keep collecting. On Saturday I wore a Gothic wedding dress – it was like getting married again.

Ian and Trish Hainsworth from Bradford on the West Pier at Whitby in their Goth weekend outfits. Picture Tony Johnson

“You can be somebody you would not normally be. Today I am wearing jeans and a T-shirt but at Goth weekend I am not that person. It is about being somebody different, that is what it is for a lot of people.”

Janet and Steve Biggs pictured in Whitby's Screaming Tunnel during the Spring 2022 Whitby Goth Weekend.