When the opportunity to attend an all-day goth festival in Leeds presents itself, you do not pass it up.
After being postponed due to COVID-19, HRH Goth finally took place this weekend over two venues: O2 Academy Leeds, and O2 Kentish Town Forum. The two-day event is organised by the Hard Rock Hell promoters who, off the back of their successful Hard Rock weekender, now host a selection of great festivals, each dedicated to a different sub-genre. They’ve got events covering punk, sleaze rock, prog, and even ‘Viking metal’.
Opting to head to Leeds, a part of me was hoping to be taken in by a coven from Wigan and spend the rest of my days listening to Diamanda Galas, burning patchouli oil and eating pie barms. Mostly, though, it was a chance to join devotees from all corners of the North making the pilgrimage to the first UK goth festival since before the pandemic.
“The entire atmosphere here is just really nice,” Bevan, 22 from Derby tells me on his way to the bar to get a round in. “Everyone’s really friendly and the music is just fantastic. I love Lord of the Lost.”
“It was a bit surreal coming in, when I saw all the lights and the people and stuff,” adds Ruth, 27, who travelled down from York to meet friends from Manchester and Middlesbrough. “It feels like a dream, as if the last year and half didn’t exist! I’ve missed this so much.”
The lockdowns and isolation of the last 18 months have taken their toll on our beloved fallen angels. While endless furlough nights spent reading Clark Ashton Smith and drinking red wine might sound pretty ideal for a goth, it turns out they enjoy leaving the house and socialising too – each one of them full of life and dressed to kill.
We photographed them in all their mysterious glamour.