Sziget is quite possibly one of the most attractive festival getaways Europe has to offer, and this year’s Island festival in Danube promises to be nothing short of spectacular. Not only does Sziget play host to a myriad of fantastic musical acts, it has a plethora of cultural bedazzlements to occupy your time with. So much so that this festival has been dubbed the Burning Man of Europe. Starting as a student festival in 1993 and attracting some of the performers from the original Woodstock festival for 1994, Sziget has grown to cover all sorts of genres from Folk, Electronic, Indie, Blues, Jazz, and even baroque pop. It consistently attracts big name acts and performers; furthermore it brings you acts that you may not have even heard of, it is often these acts that will endear your experience many times over.
Let’s tackle this behemoth of a week from its cultural aspect. It sports internet access (quite frankly, festivals that don’t are very behind the times) so that you can keep anyone and everyone up to date with your endeavors and help the beautiful festival grow in years to come. It also maintains aspects of cinema, dance halls and DJ sets, theatre, on site tattooing, football, life-sized foosball, indoor rowing and even bungee jumping has made an appearance. Not only does this festival sport an amazing array of cultural activities scattered around its massive venue, it has the astonishing city of Budapest as its backdrop. When not actively at the festival grounds, either before or after its opening, you’re free (and encouraged) to explore Budapest. We recommend visiting one of the many romkocsma (ruin pubs) of the cities seventh district. On top of all of this, during the time of the festival, a towering Ferris wheel called the Sziget Eye will have the festival ground as its new home.
When it comes to the line up of this year’s festival a rare few music lovers will be disappointed. Bats for Lashes, Everything Everything, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk), Peter Bjorn & John, Blur, Parov Stelar, Azealia Banks, Franz Ferdinand and Tame Impala alone make up about 7% of the festivals line up, with some acts having not even been announced yet. Furthermore, these acts are split over 7 full days, so the dreaded overlap crisis of many a festivalgoer will rarely become an issue.
Budapest is a city that is above all easy to get to. You can expect to arrive either by coach, train, car, and apparently even via a nautical route. Travel between the festival and the city is simple and present at regular intervals. This is made all the more easy with a Sziget Budapest City Pass, nicely advertised and described in full on their official website. You can expect to snag one for either 2 days at 9 euros or 29 euros for a whopping 13 days. Accommodation is plenty, if camping is your thing then go ahead and bring yourself a tent and burrow in, similarly, if you are fortunate to own a camper van, drive it down and settle in for the week. If camping isn’t your cup of tea there are plenty of hostels and hotels in the vicinity of the festival and, as mentioned previously, transport from them to the festival is extremely straightforward.
Tickets with camping for the entire week are 229 euros and 199 euros without camping included. More information can be found on their official UK website. Similarly, have a glance at the festival as part of The Edge’s Alternative Festival Guide.