Sziget. A 7 day utopia for music & art lovers. One hell of a festival you can not miss. I could list a thousand reasons why this festival is amazing, but lets first start with these 10:
1. The Line – Up
Sziget is known for getting a lot of major artist on their stages. With 7 (!) days to fill, you’ll see a lifetime of favorite artists. I was lucky enough spot Blink 182, The 1975, Queens of the Stone Age, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bastille, Lily Allen, Bombay Bicycle Club, OutKast, The Kooks, Calvin Harris… and so many more! In 7 days there are a lot of artist you can enjoy. Every year they’re growing with an even better line-up.
The amazing thing about Sziget’s line-up is its variety. With so many different stages, they provide for everyone’s taste. From local Hungarian folklore music to Rock & Modern music. There was a Singer&Songwriter stage, Classical & Jazz Stage, Europe Stage, Blues/Irish Stage, African-Latin Stage, Worldstage & so on. You name it, they provided a stage with it.
My Sziget tip on this is to go wander around. Don’t mainly stay at the Main Stage but try to discover new artist at the other stages. So many talented artists!
In the heart of Budapest, in the Danube River, this festival is located on it’s own island. Jep, you’re on an whole festival island in the middle of one of Europe’s most interesting cities. This screams for opportunities.
Do take a Sziget city pass so you can discover the beauty of Budapest itself. Not only for it’s historical architecture, but also for its monumental bathing houses. With the City pass you’ll get free entrance to at least one.
3. The Vibe
With Sziget Szitizens there is nothing but good and friendly vibes. With hundreds of thousands of people on this festival island, all coming together to have the best time of their lives.
It’s a week lasting festival, what might explain the more relaxing vibe. People really take their time to relax, to chill and I think – in comparison with shorter festivals – that’s the reason why the vibe is so much more relaxed. Everybody tries to experience the smaller bits that the festival has to offer.
4. The Food
Don’t be afraid you’ll starve at Sziget: they provide amazing food trucks. It’s like a whole food truck festival of it’s own and it is yummy. Whatever you want, Sziget has it. Rows of food trucks, tents, and stalls which are selling basically everything you can wish for and a lot of traditional Hungarian dishes as well. There are so many and such diverse food options.
Try some of the local trucks as well. One of my favorite discoveries was an oil baked kind of bread, with garlic butter and cheese. These things are to die for! You’ll never discover new things if you don’t explore the more ‘exotic’ foodtrucks 😉
5. Art Festival
Sziget offers much more than music. There are so many extra art amenities at Sziget.. so many exciting things to do! I could list all of them but then this post would never end. Here are my favorites:
First you have the Art Zone – a huge grass area with different sculptures and booths. Also a lot things to do. There is sculpture making, body painting and stencil spray, yoga, many interesting art classes and things with strange names which make them so much more interesting to try!
The Before I die wall – This should be a common one. It’s basically a huge chalk wall with the words “Before I Die…” where you can write your dreams, hopes or anything you still wish to achieve. It’s always inspiring to read what others wish to accomplish, to read one’s ambitions & to laugh at the jokes some people make with it.
When writing about art at this festival, I can not leave Cirque de Sziget out. It’s an outdoor and indoor circus at Sziget, each with its own line-up of quirky and interesting acts. Mixed between acrobatics & comedy where people have been dressed in a funny way and a lot of participation from the audience.
The Ability Park – here you could experience what it is like to have disabilities. Drawing sayings literally – like it’s raining cat’s & dogs, drawing literally a sky that pours cats & dogs – doing obstacles blindfolded and a few other insanely creative ways to discover what it is like to live with disabilities.
The Luminarium was probably my favorite artistic place to be on the whole festival. It’s an enormous geometric installation where you can go inside. Basically it was a huge inflatable sculpture that uses natural light to create very calming mood as you wander through all the rooms inside. Very beautiful & with lots of colors. It gives you the idea of walking on the inside of a big air balloon. It’s the perfect place to wander around in thoughts as well. The fact that the whole attraction needed to be experienced barefoot helped a bit too. The Luminarium has traveled all around Europe as an art insulation that thousands of people have visited already.
6. Chill Zone
This is the one spot I discovered Chai Tea Latte, and now I’m hooked. This area had all sorts of colorful sheets draped around the top area. With pillows all laying spread over the floor this was a spot to go to when you wanted to relax & chill out. Most Szitizens came here to take a nap or just mainly relax majorly while listening to the calming music.
This area also had a lineup of DJ’s spinning mostly deep house, and had bars and some places to get food.
Each night there was a sweet campfire at chill zone – beach side – with different artists playing around the fire. Wonderful and ultimate enjoyable.
7. International Friends
People who come to Sziget Festival are from all over the world. It is amazing how easily you make new friends and learn about all these different cultures! One of my favorite things about festivals is the coming together of so many nationalities through music. There are so many extraordinary people. With a varied crowd – no age limit – so young & old people could come and enjoy the festival.
The majority of the crowd lays probably between 18-40 year . There was a huge Dutch population, but people really came from everywhere.
8. Theme Parties
Every night at 7PM there was a ‘special party’ at the main stage. It started off with a bubble party. They passed bubbles out to the whole crowd to blow. Next day there was a flag party, where they gave out thousands of Sziget flags and also encouraged people to bring their own. I still have my blue Sziget flag as a token of this amazing experience. There was a confetti party where everyone had confetti poppers, a color party where all different colors of color powder were passed out – what a mess that gave in combination with the rain and the mud, but worth it – , a maraca party with little maraca shakers in the whole crowd, and a glow stick and laser party.
These parties give a real unique twist to the Main Stage area, and a way for everyone to unite even more.
Sziget wouldn’t be a proper festival if it weren’t for it’s decorations. A lot has already been given away with the Art Zone & Chill Zone of course, but to be honest everywhere you looked you saw a piece of finishing touch. Or just some weird things totally out of place that for a crazy reason still worked out.
10. The Whole Experience
Go enjoy yourself on this Island of Freedom. One of the reasons Sziget has such a great experience is that it’s a completely self-contained festival. You can camp on the festival grounds, meaning you can spend the entire week at Sziget without leaving – Altho I still encourage you to visit Budapest at least once during your visit – . This really gives the venue a feeling of community.
Go explore new music of genres you might never heard of before! Try all the crazy art workshops! Go on full Szitizen mode and see how many stamps you can collect in you Sziget Passport – you can collect stamps with different activities – and become a fully resident of the Sziget Community. Enjoy all food stations & enjoy all of the possibilities the Festival has to offer.
Enjoy, Explore, Discover this wonderful Festival..
& Celebrate life!