This is Whitby goth weekend – where twice a year darkness descends on England’s north east coast. Everywhere you turn you’re met with goth culture, from outrageous clothing and fashion, to goth rock raves that go on until sunrise.
The goth look and lifestyle takes many forms, with the subculture emerging from the punk era of the early 80s and manifesting itself in constantly shifting ways. Victorian, tribal and steampunk influences have joined traditional or trad goths as the festival has grown and evolved for over 20 years.
The town of Whitby has an even longer history with the gothic. The dark ruins of Whitby Abbey loom over the town imposingly. The cobbled streets make you feel like you’re living in another time. And in 1897 this setting inspired the opening chapters of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Goth weekend also serves a practical purpose for Whitby. With thousands flocking in, the event is thought to bring a million pounds to the town every time. Local businesses have responded to the demand. Black ice-cream and burgers are a new staple – and shops have emerged to celebrate the clothing, fashion and makeup synonymous with the gothic.
Subcultures come and go, but goths have continued to reinvent themselves to keep with the times. Alongside the traditional black you see influences from 50 Shades of Grey, Mad Max and cosplay as the dark and deathly gothic continues to keep itself alive in a small, isolated town in Yorkshire.