The Holy Festival of Music and More
by Lucas Aresin
There is a small nation inside Budapest. It's a musical amusement park. It's called Sziget Festival. Let's be honest, everybody loves music, and Budapest offers 'the Island of Freedom', open from the 10th to the 17th of August. On seven days of recreation, it's a festival with a highly international vibe and a global and genre-fluid line-up.
First Things First
'Sziget' is Hungarian for 'island', and yes, that's exactly what it is. The festival is held every August on the 'Old Buda Island' on the river Danube that runs through the heart of the city. It was established as Diáksziget (Student Island) in 1993, and thus has been around for 23 years, older than some of its younger visitors. Close to the city center, it represents its own little world in the Hungarian capital – a musical Vatican if you like.
It's all about music …
Sziget covers Rock, Metal, Pop, Reggae, Hip Hop, Indie, Electronic, and more. Of course, you'll also find some Hungarian folk music (if you're into that)! This year, visitors can enjoy artists like Muse, Rihanna, David Guetta, Hardwell, Manu Chao, The Last Shadow Puppets, and many, many more. If you use Spotify, check out this year's playlist. And bring all your friends, even if they have a different taste in music. It's the island of freedom after all! In fact, more than 1,000 performances take place at Sziget each year to satisfy the musical taste of almost half a million people.
... and so much more!
But it's not just music. Sziget is truly its own little republic – a state of mind, a state of carefreeness, a state of freedom. Go and see the Circus du Sziget. Bathe in the Danube, there's a beach for that. Get your hair braided or your face painted. There's showers, and the opportunity to wash your laundry. You can buy your own fruit, vegetables, and more. There's a color party. Dance performers. An Automatarium. A confetti party. Comedy. Even TEDX Talks. Don't make the mistake to think that Sziget is just a music festival. It's an island republic, ready to be your new home country for that one week in August. You can find the massive program with all the music and other activities on Sziget's website.
It's also international...
In 2015, 441,000 visitors from 95 countries came to worship music, so be prepared to meet some international folks. And that's not an exaggeration. About 50% of all visitors are non-Hungarians. So if you're really eager to meet some Dutch (they represent the largest group of foreigners, who knows why), British, German, Italian, French, or Irish friends, why not Sziget? Travelling is more expensive, and here you get free music on top!
... and highly recommended!
Sziget generally is sunny and pleasant. That invites camping, and at Sziget you can actually camp on site, not some far-away camping ground (which makes a surprising amount of sense since it's on an island). Those who choose not to camp can find accommodation in the many hotels or hostels near the island. And I'm sure there'll be a future blog post that goes into more detail on that.
So if music is your religion and you have the money, what are you waiting for? If you're one of the internationals on pilgrimage to Budapest, make sure to book a few extra days; the city is full of great sights and things to do – if you have any energy left after the 17th, check out our tours!
Feels: Like Freedom
*all photos taken from szigetfestival.com*
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