Ever since Count Dracula alighted upon the shores of Whitby Bay, the goth subculture has had particularly strong associations with Yorkshire.

The DV8 Goth Festival in York is a new event specifically designed to unite all those who ally themselves with this modern phenomenon.

From July 15 to 18, members of the goth community will enjoy the medieval Gothic architecture of the city by day, and, in true nocturnal style, will be treated to performances by many of the biggest goth bands by night at Fibbers and The Duchess in Stonebow and Stereo in Gillygate.

The goth subculture has developed greatly over the decades, and the 21st century goth scene is more multi-faceted than ever. The DV8 Goth Festival will celebrate the richness and diversity of the music, art, fashion and literature of this alternative way of life.

Chris Sherrington, organiser of the festival, says: “I want to prove that goth is not dying, but rather growing. I’m putting on the biggest line-up of goth acts that this country has ever hosted and support for us has been amazing: live music festivals can be magical events where people make great memories and discover new music.”

As 45 bands perform across four venues over three days, every festival-goer is sure to find a favourite. “The Duchess will host the more traditional goth and post-punk bands: The Eden House, Wayne Hussey, and Gene Loves Jezebel will headline, and a stage with burlesque dancers from York’s Coquette Burlesque Club will also feature,” says Chris.

“Fibbers will have a more electronic feel with our Industrial and EBM stage, with headliners Modulate and the European bands Faderhead and Noisuf-x.

“Stereo will be going back to the punky roots of goth with a mix of horrorpunk, rockabilly and glam goth. Headliners include Zombina & The Skeletones, Devilish Presley and Nosferatu, as well as punk legend Ed Tudor Pole and local band The Eureka Machines.”

Despite the calibre of the acts appearing, the festival will represent much more than just goth music. Alternative markets selling all kinds of goth merchandise will be open across the three days, while a bring-and-buy event will be open for all attendees to exchange old items for new.

Standing in solidarity with York’s own alternative shops, the DV8 Festival will attract many to the city, and local attractions will offer discounts and tours to ensure this event is anchored in its historic surroundings. “York has many links to goths. We have the best Gothic cathedral in the world, goth supergroup Sisters Of Mercy played their first gig at Vanbrugh College at the University of York and there are ghosts, gargoyles, graveyards, dungeons, haunted houses, pubs and friendly people – everything that goths love.”

The DV8 Festival will be more than an occasion for elaborate eyeliner and white face paint; it will raise awareness by paying tribute to the varied, interesting artistic forms that stem from this very individual mode of self-expression.

“For me, goth is all about the individual, because each person defines themselves,” says Chris. “Goths are willing to challenge the everyday and stand out from the crowd – even if it’s just as some black in a sea of colour.”

• For the full DV8 Goth Festival line-up, see dv8fest.com/artists.

- Lydia Onyett