Ever since I heard about the Sziget Festival – a good 10 years ago – I knew I had to go. The combination of it having a fantastic lineup (snoop lion aka snoop dog, The XX, the killers, beatsteaks etc.), it being on an island on the Danube in Budapest and spanning an entire week – ir rightly so earned the crown as the Best Festival in Europe. Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading are nothing compared to this. Something always got in the way of me going (I was either always broke or in some other country far away) but not this year. Seeing as my lovely partner is from Budapest (and it has subsequently become a Second/Third home for me) we decided to drive from Berlin back “home” to Budapest for my Birthday in early August. Seeing as we had lots of things to get done in Budapest – aka going to the pool to kool off in the 41C heat and meeting old friends – we decided to spend one day – and night – at the Sziget Festival.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Sziget Festival here’s a short breakdown of what it’s all about:
*The Sziget Festival (Sziget is the Hungarian for “Island”) is one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe. It is held every August in northern Budapest, Hungary, on Óbudai-sziget (“Old Buda Island”), a 108-hectare Shipyard island in the Danube. More than 1,000 performances take place there each year.
The week-long festival has grown from a relatively low-profile student event in 1993 to become one of the largest European rock festivals, with about half of all visitors coming from outside Hungary, particularly the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. It also has a dedicated “party train” service (with resident DJ’s) that transports festivalgoers from Western Europe.The second event (1994), labeled Eurowoodstock, was headlined by performers from the original Woodstock festival. By 1997 total attendance surpassed the 250,000 mark, reaching an all-time peak year in 2009 with 390,000 visitors (the full 70,000 capacity being reached on one day).It is now being increasingly labeled as a European alternative to the Burning Man festival due to its unique features (“an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality”). *Source: Wikipedia
The Ticket Prices are pretty steep. A Day Tickets cost €45 (valid from 6am until 8am the following day) and the week ticket (including camping) costs €225. Quite hefty, but totally worth it. Concerts start around 3pm and the music on some stages goes on until 5am in the morning. There are 5 main stages and multiple smaller venues catering to every taste. There are even some “villages” dotted around the island where you can learn about traditional hungarian crafts, NGOs, Art Movies and of course why not – Safe Sex.
Despite my lovely partner having been to Sziget before (lucky her) – and preparing me as to what I should expect, there were several things I clearly wasnt prepared for when we got there. I’ll leave that post for next week or something – but for now I’ll leave you with a small glimpse of a normal Friday at the Sziget Festival 2012.
For more Pictures of Guns, Girls, and the Regular Sziget Crowd check out the Sziget Festival Flickr Album.