The Sziget Festival (Hungarian: Sziget Fesztivál, pronounced [ˈsiɡɛt ˈfɛstivaːl]; "Sziget" for "Island") is one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe. It is held every August in northern Budapest, Hungary, on Óbudai-sziget ("Old Buda Island"), a leafy 108-hectare (266-acre) island on the Danube. More than 1,000 performances take place each year.
The week-long festival has grown from a relatively low-profile student event in 1993 to become one of the prominent European rock festivals, with about half of all visitors coming from outside Hungary, especially from Western Europe. It also has a dedicated "party train" service (with resident DJs) that transports festival-goers from all over Europe. The second event (1994), labelled Eurowoodstock, was headlined by performers from the original Woodstock festival. By 1997, total attendance surpassed the 250,000 mark, reaching an all-time peak in 2016 with 496,000 visitors from 95 countries (the daily capacity having been raised to 90,000). in 2019 that record was once broken when 565,000 visitors attended the festival. Sziget Festival increasingly labelled as a European alternative to the Burning Man festival due to its unique features ("an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality").
In 2011, Sziget was ranked one of the 5 best festivals in Europe by The Independent. The festival is a two-time winner at the European Festivals Awards in the category Best Major European Festival, in 2011 and 2014.
In 2002, Sziget branched out to Transylvania when its organisers co-created a new annual festival there titled Félsziget Fesztivál (Romanian: Festivalul Peninsula) that soon became the largest of its kind in Romania. In 2007, the organisers co-created Balaton Sound, an electronic music festival held on the southern bank of Lake Balaton that quickly gained popularity.
Following the end of the Communist era in 1989, the formerly lively summer festival scene in Budapest faced a crisis due to a sudden loss of governmental funding. A group of artists and rock enthusiasts proposed the Sziget event as a way to bridge this gap. The festival was started in 1993, originally called Diáksziget (Student Island). This first event was organised by music fans in their spare time and ran well over budget, taking until 1997 to repay the losses. From 1996 to 2001 it was sponsored by Pepsi and renamed Pepsi Sziget. It has been called Sziget Fesztivál ("island festival") since 2002.
A comprehensive survey was done and published on the risktaking behaviour and mood of Sziget visitors (2007) by the National Institute for Health Promotion (OEI). The survey revealed amongst others that the last sexual encounter of 9.4% of its participants was unprotected.
Sziget Festival Now
Sziget Festival is notable in that it contains acts from many different genres. 2006 saw, among others, a blues stage, a jazz tent, a world music stage, alongside the main stage with more typical popular rock acts.
The festival is popular with west Europeans. Around 50% of visitors come from outside Hungary, with the largest group coming from the Netherlands. Many also come from Belgium, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland and Romania.
Being located on an island, some festival goers have tried to enter by swimming across the Danube or by paddling across in inflatable rafts. The organisers very much discourage these attempts as it is dangerous due to the tricky nature of the fast-flowing Danube river.
In 2008, Sziget Festival lasted from 11 to 18 August. The festival, instead of 7+1 days as in 2007, was 5+2 days long, with a "zeroeth day" that featured one major gig (Iron Maiden) and a special "minus first day" called "Day of Hungarian Songs" that headlined a number of popular Hungarian rock bands (including LGT and Beatrice). As well as Iron Maiden, R.E.M., Mass Hysteria, Babyshambles, Sex Pistols, Jamiroquai, Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Alanis Morissette, The Killers, The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs, The Cribs, Speak and many other were also confirmed, the day of their performance is available at the Sziget website. The length of the festival was reduced so that the residents living in the neighborhoods nearby would have less trouble because of the noise. The organizers plan to take further steps to reduce noise: the metal stage will be open until 11 pm only and noise filtering walls will be built near the noisiest stages.
Sziget 2009 was 10–17 August 2009. The festival had a 5+2 day schedule again. The "zeroeth day" had a Rock Against Racism concert, featuring mostly Hungarian bands. The "minus first day" had one major gig again, this time the 20th anniversary concert of Hungarian rock band Tankcsapda.
IAMX, Nouvelle Vague, Ska-P, Snow Patrol, Lily Allen, Miss Platnum, The Ting Tings, Die Toten Hosen, Bloc Party, Fatboy Slim, Haydamaky, Jet, Primal Scream, Pendulum, The Prodigy, The Subways, Editors, Klaxons, Manic Street Preachers, Placebo, Disco Ensemble, Danko Jones, Maxïmo Park, The Offspring, Faith No More
World Music Main Stage
So Kalmery, Napra, Oi Va Voi, Calexico, 08001, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, Figli Di Madre Ignota, Zamballarana, Amadou & Mariam Speed Caravan, Woven Hand & Muzsikás, N&SK, Khaled, Vieux Farka Touré, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Brotherhood of Brass: Boban Marković Orkestar + Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars
Blasted Mechanism, De Staat, La Troba Kung-Fú, Matatu, Miloopa, Muchachito Bombo Infierno, Squarepusher, Tricky, White Lies, Babylon Circus
- White Lies' performance of "The Power and the Glory" from Sziget Festival was later used as the music video for the song.
Prince, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Prodigy, Pulp, Chemical Brothers, White Lies, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Dizzee Rascal, Interpol, Flogging Molly, Kate Nash, British Sea Power, Skunk Anansie, Gogol Bordello, La Roux, Rise Against, The National, Hadouken!, Good Charlotte, .
Dr. Tamas Derce, the mayor of Újpest, the 4th district of Budapest has sued Sziget Festival, claiming that the event is so loud the locals cannot sleep at night. The mayor wants to force the organisers by court decision to cease every program between 6 pm and 10 am - which virtually means closing down the festival. The mayor already lost a similar case against Sziget at court in 2002. The organizers of the 2008 festival promised local officials that the main stage will shut down at 11 pm and no music on that stage will be played after that. For this reason the Iron Maiden concert was taken from its original starting time of 9:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
In addition to music, the festival offers a plethora of other activities including cinema, dance, theatre, tattooing, Internet access, volleyball, tennis, football, indoor rowing, rock climbing, bungee jumping and a life-sized foosball.
The island is located in the city of Budapest allowing trips to the city centre during the day.
- List of historic rock festivals
- An "artistic reply" to this festival is "Magyar Sziget" (Hungarian Island) at Verőce (Hungary), focusing on Hungarian rather than international music. It is held every year in July.
- all days combined
- "Latest Singapore and International News on xinmsn News". News.sg.msn.com. 2014-06-12. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Állami támogatást kér a Sziget" [Calls for state aid to island] (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 11 April 2009.
- "Sziget Festival sees record attendance of 441,000". Budapest Business Journal.
- "Sziget 2018: 9 Millionth Visitor, Record Number of Festival Goers and Last Concerts in the Rain". Hungary Today. 2018-08-15. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
- "Index - Kult - Mikor égetnek már óriási bábukat a Szigeten?". Index.hu. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Index - Kultúr - A Sziget az öt legjobb fesztivál között van". Index.hu. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Sziget=Best Major European Festival". szigetfestival.com. 2015-01-15. Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- "Félsziget - Peninsula 2014". Felsziget.ro. Archived from the original on 2017-08-03. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Sziget elemzés-SOI, szenzoros élménykeresés" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Iron Maiden confirmed to headline Sziget Festival's Zero Day!". Sziget.hu. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "R.E.M. to perform on Sziget with new album". Sziget.hu. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Rövidebb, jobb és nem drágább" [Shorter, better, and not expensive] (in Hungarian). Sziget-hu. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007.
- "Zárjon be a Sziget este 10-kor?!" [Shut off the Island at 10 pm ?!] (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 19 December 2007.
- "Sziget Festival Vlaanderen".
- "Sziget Festival - News". Sziget.hu. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Sziget Festival - News". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-03-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Fijne feestdagen met nieuwe acts voor #Sziget2016!". nl.szigetfestival.com (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
- "First names for Sziget 2016". en.szigetfestival.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
- "Sziget Festival 2017 line-up and rumours". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
- "Jövőre is Magyar Sziget!" [Hungarian Sziget next year!] (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 31 August 2003.
- Official website in 12 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Ukrainian, Finnish, Slovakian, Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian
- Official website for the Netherlands
- Official website for Spain
- Official website for the U.K.
- Official website for Turkey
- Sziget Ticketing
- Sziget 2007 Foto Group
- Latest news on Sziget - unofficial news site
- Sziget News - independent news site and fan community
- Budapest All in One Guide