The Sziget Festival, one of the biggest multi-genre festivals in Europe, will be held in Budapest from August 7th to 13th. Since 1993, with the collapse of the USSR, the trajectory of Sziget (Hungarian for “island”) has turned it into a macro-event that hosts more than 550,000 people on the 108 hectares of Obuda Island for a unique 24-hour experience. Proof of the festival’s strong roots at home is that Hungarians make up half the capacity, while the rest come mainly from Western Europe (the Netherlands being the top country in terms of visitors).
The first event, in 1993, was called Diáksziget (Students’ Island), a low-budget event organised by music fans in their spare time. Between 1996 and 2001 it was sponsored by Pepsi, which added its brand to the name of the festival, which has been known by its current name since 2002. What has been considered the European version of Burning Man is one of our favourite festivals – why? Because of a line-up that has twice won a world award? Of course, but what gives Sziget its true character is its multicultural, global and committed spirit, a real vocation to see the Szitizens enjoy themselves.
#1 THE MUSIC
The island in the Danube that has seen musicians such as Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Cure, Pet Shop Boys or Rihanna, will host this year on the Dan Panaitescu main stage a programme with headliners such as Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, The 1975, The National, James Blake, Macklermore, Martin Garrix, or Franz Ferdinand.
#2 THE MULTI-STAGE EXPERIENCE
The festival’s programme of more than a thousand activities includes dance, theatre, circus and performance shows. Among them, Sol Picó with Halab, a forceful street dance piece that aims to raise awareness and give visibility to the drama of refugees, with live music by Pere Jou, and Joan Catalá with Pelat, a creation that blurs the boundaries between genres as much as those that separate the audience from the artist, who takes on the choreography and interpretation, without technical means.
From Africa comes the first and impressive Ethiopian circus, whose members have managed to make a dream come true in the streets of Addis Ababa. Circus Abyssinia, directed by Bichu Tesfamariam, will stage the tale of Bibi and Bichu, apprentice minstrels, in a surreal and silent comedy. From the East comes the Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda, a dancer and visual artist fascinated by the human body. Cells, molecular forms, organic syntheses… become visible in another world of movement, light and sound. Proposals from Korea (BongnJoule), Finland (Sisus), France (Cirque Inextremiste), Chile (La Licuadora) and Australia (Briefs) form part of a programme that combines experimentation, social and environmental concerns with art.
#3 ART OF FREEDOM
The Festival is calling for artists who want to design something extraordinary, spectacular and fun, something that will not go unnoticed: a sculpture, installation, decoration or functional tool that fits in with the environment and the ecological vibe of Sziget. This open tender offers the opportunity for young creative minds to present their ideas and showcase their talent on the Island of Freedom, transforming it into a magical world full of music and dance, happiness and fun, love and friendship.
#4 GREEN SZIGET
The Planet also celebrates the Love Revolution with a series of initiatives which, in addition to 500 special VIP access passes (Very Important Planet) and a SzigEthics gift pack, include recyclable, refillable cups and drinking fountains; climate innovation workshops, TrashFashion sessions and Wifi for Trash activities; on the last day of the festival, tents, sleeping bags and blankets will be collected and donated to charities and volunteers; and a final sustainability report will be presented.
#5 BONUS TRACK
The island offers a variety of accommodation that makes the stay an experience adaptable to all tastes and possibilities, from Glamcamp to Flexhotel, wooden cabins, VIP camping or teepees. If you take advantage of your holiday to get to know the city, in addition to enjoying the festival you can discover Budapest thanks to the spectacular boat tour. On the Europa cruise you can relax while enjoying the views of the historic buildings along the Danube or dance non-stop with the artists at the boat party. And let’s not forget the city pass that you can buy to travel by public transport, visit museums and of course, really relax in the city’s historic spas.
You can find all the information about the line-up, activities, tickets and accommodation on the festival’s official website.