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What's going on with the WGW?

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At the end of June, the banner here appeared on the Whitby Goth Weekends Facebook page and website. It is most unusual for TopMum (the WGW organisers) to announce dates so far in advance and the April 2019 dates (which are the ones we are most interested in) are two weeks earlier than those that most people had expected.

On the face of it, no problem, we change our dates, but delving deeper it seems there has been quite a murky story behind all of this...

It is all to do with the Whitby Spa Pavilion which has been at the heart of the main WGW events organised by TopMum. TopMum is essentially Jo Hampshire, the person who founded the goth weekends in 1994 and has largely been responsible for organising them ever since. Bookings for the Spa Pavilion are controlled by Sheffield International Venues (SIV) and as far as I can tell they have barred TopMum from having further events there despite apparently the goth events being the most profitable bookings for them. Jo Hampshire on her Facebook page claims this is because she raised a safety issue with them. I've a feeling there may be more to it than this and I think there has been some suggestions of poor management by Jo and her team. But whatever is the truth of the matter, Jo is understandably extremely gutted and feels she has been very badly treated.

Anyway SIV in association with the Scarborough Tourism Bureau have confirmed that they have accepted bookings for goth events from another promoter, Absinthe Promotions. On their website they have announced a Gothic and Music Festival called "Tomorrow's Ghosts" at the Spa Pavilion for the same dates as TopMum have for this October. So for those going to that event there should be no dilemma about dates at least.

However for 2019, Absinthe have secured the dates Topmum would have had (the last weekend in April) and TopMum have evidently decided to promote different dates (two weeks earlier in the case of April). So for the weekend before Easter we will have Topmum without anything in the Pavilion (but traders in other venues) and for the weekend after Easter, Absinthe will have bands at the Pavilion and probably traders too (those who are not loyal to Topmum or do both events!).

So what do we do? I feel inclined to remain faithful to Jo Hampshire (our group doesn't normally have an interest in the bands at the Spa anyway). Having two goth events so close together will inevitably split the numbers attending, the question being: will the majority remain loyal to Jo or will they go for the bands? There is a lot of support for Jo on her Facebook page and there is also a huge reaction in support of Jo on the Facebook page for Whitby Pavilion (see the post dated 8th June and the very many replies to it). But though there is a undoubtedly a lot of support for Jo, will that be enough to prevent the weekends that she has chosen become too diluted? I don't think we can know before the event.

I would really appreciate the views of anyone who might be (or had been) contemplating joining our Rose's@WGW next April. Please email me or use the Contact Form here.

For the time being at least I think we should we support Jo, and I am planning for our usual four nights at Discovery Accommodation to be Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th (leaving Monday) April 2019. However if nearer the time it appears that I might have made the wrong choice and everyone in our group agrees, then I might change our dates accordingly. Please bear this possibility in mind if you are not flexible about dates when making a booking.

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4 comments

  • Comment Link Jessica Cairns Monday, 23 July 2018 18:47 posted by Jessica Cairns

    I for one want to support Joe, Martine
    There has been talk of someone wanting to take over the goth weekend and I for one will not have anything to do with them

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  • Comment Link Christine Monday, 23 July 2018 19:22 posted by Christine

    Not sure about any dates yet either, due the same op as you had Dec/Jan so not sure if I will be back to work. I will need to book in advance though so if the dates change I won’t be able to make the second set. I am not a band fan so the first set are best for me.

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  • Comment Link stephie Monday, 23 July 2018 21:27 posted by stephie

    hi Martine
    ,,,, Firstly , thank you for your tireleless work in organising the ROSE`S W.G.W. ,,,
    and also for bringing the above sorry situation to our attention ....

    I fully agree with you Martine ,,
    It seems that Jo , after many years of being responsible for the WGW`s very existance ,, has now been
    undeservedly , shamefullt and shoddily treated in all this

    I have attended the W.G.W. over many years now , and although I am well into Gothy things ,
    the most positive aspect that I personaly find is the overall kaliedoscopic diversity ,
    communial respect ., and general open friendlyness there ..
    This no matter whatever the style people chose to dress in - genuine victoriana , , steam-punk , various military costumes ,
    , couples in 40`s gear , science fiction outfits , pirates , t-girl , or average everyday clothes , etc , etc

    As for the Pavillion bands , my personal musical outlook is , as diverse as the styles of dress there
    Like many , I enjoy the more diverse live music , freely available every night of the week in various town venues
    OK , -- although quite popular , having been once in to see the Pavillion bands ,
    I would estimate that the crowd barely represented 25% of the die-hard purely goth section of the various
    , more general WGW`goers ( ie; perhaps less than 6 8% in total , if that ? ? )

    Bearing the points above in mind ,
    I know why I love my WGW`s , and I know what weeks I will be booking
    I most certainly shall , and would whol-heartedly recommend others to do likewise ,
    - remain loyal to Jo`s weekend ,,

    I am quite certain in doing this , that I shall enjoy the pleasure of meeting up again
    with the familiar friends and faces , as per usual ,,,,,,

    See you all at Jo`s weekend
    stephie x x

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  • Comment Link Rachel Tuesday, 24 July 2018 22:06 posted by Rachel

    Hi Martine.
    There is clearly some skullduggery going on. I think we should support Jo and look forward to supporting those traders that agree. Rachel xx

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