Sziget Festival, Budapest, 9-15 August
If you haven’t heard of Sziget, it’s a 7 day festival on an island in the Danube river in Budapest. Euro festivals take a bit more of a 24 hour approach than Australasian; they have the resources and the numbers (Half a million to be exact). Sziget’s main stages closed at 11, but there were plenty that finished after the sun came up. Not that you need be concerned if the acts on the stages aren’t to your taste, as people watching alone makes wandering around trying to see as much as possible worthwhile, at any hour of the day. The incredible art installations, workshops and circus shows were everywhere and even with a seven day ticket we had no hope of seeing it all.
At 300 euro a ticket it’s about the same price for seven day access (including camping if you’re reeally really keen- expect at least 3 days of 35+ degree temperatures and nowhere to go for silence) as 3-4 day Australian festivals.
Acts to catch when if they hit Australian shores: Macklemore (I’m not a huge fan of his music, and if you don’t want to fork out for a ticket I completely understand; catch him at a festival) for the pure energy and joy he put into his performance, as well as the theatrics; Kasabian, for the bangers; Major Lazer, Andy C, Mano Le Tough, Tycho, Latalaya, Australian performers The Pierce Brothers, Bombay Royale and Limbo- an incredible circus act that packed out the speigeltent it was in. The Sziget organisers put in the effort to pull acts from around the globe, and you can tell. About a week after the festival I found out Alison Wonderland played at a secret stage you could only access through a portaloo somewhere on site; I was gutted.
One thing they could have done better was waste management (of course I’d say that!); the sheer volume of disposable cups everywhere made it sometimes annoying just trying to walk or chill on the grass, especially near the stages. Water refills were confined to the few taps the island has year round, with huge lines and muddy patches to get to them. The portaloos made me appreciate the Australian initiative of composting toilets, which I far prefer, however lacking Alison Wonderland dj sets they may be.
There were SO MANY things I missed, the hidden bars, the immersive art, the circus and comedy acts and hundreds of acts that wouldn't fit into the most organised timetable. I can’t wait to go back.