There are so many posts and articles on Sziget.. I will provide you, dear readers, with my insight into 2 days of this huge festival that saw a total of 362 thousand visitors present on the island throughout the 7 days. This year’s festival was focused on gathering the experiences (élmény in Hungarian). As the organizers stated, the highest VAT in Europe and the density of emerging European festivals challenged them to save the title of the biggest festival in Central Europe. Despite the warnings on festival’s loud decibels from the local authorities and their district majors inclined to get the votes of the pensioners in the upcoming elections, I have to say that the organizers did an excellent job. Again. The passage to the festival was quick and painless, BKV was effective and HÉVs were transporting the early and late goers throughout the night as well. The lack of a fresh, exciting and a more up-to-date line up was compensated with dozens of tents set by various promoters/Budapest based bars/companies and clubs… all those tiny ceremonies, circuses, straight and same sex couple weddings, riding on a wooden installations, bungee jumping, chilling out – they are all memories. There were also tents of prolific new bars such as Uri Muri, Fogasház, somewhat older Instant and many more.
Last time I was at the festival was 2 years ago and I simply have to admit that this year’s experience was much more enjoying. First of all, the organizers enhanced the quality of sound at stages, there was no distorted sound like before. Secondly, each bigger tent had the separate entrance and exit parts which eased the frequency of the audience into the tents.
The stage that earned my most respect was the A38 stage of course. The first concert I saw there on Thursday was the English folk rock Dry The River. Acoustic guitars, drums, pianos, violins and the high pitched vocals entertained the local and mostly very young Sziget’s audience of Dutch and French hipsters.
After the concert I wandered in this huge festival. I discovered a cool party stage called B My Lake that was made of wood. The sound system was impressive.
Next to the stage you could rest in the giant wooden egg
Do you remember the giant eye on Deak square? We all knew they will move it to Sziget, so they did!
I got hungry and observed all the eating places and saw they have the taste of home – pljeskavica. Shortly, its a Balkan hamburger, the burger is thinner and bigger than the ordinary one.
I went back to A38 stage to see Little Boots, the British singer whose debut album in 2009 coloured my summer with electropop hits. I dare to say that she was the highlight of the festival, also according to other press. This slightly shy and very cute girl shines with adorable charisma and talent. New songs prevailed her act portraying how the unknown songs can be as catchy as the singles from the first album. You go Little Boots! Actually don’t go, come back! 😉
Hoards of people rushed to the main stage to wait for the beginning of the biggest superstars this year: the pioneers of brit pop, the eternal Oasis opponents – BLUR. Damon Albarn preserved his young looks while the other did get a bit long in the tooth. However, their sound and melodic powerfulness is not! All those songs that you listened to as the teenager on MTV, in your bedrooms, in your HI FI audio cassettes and CDs, they all came to life. Park Life, Coffee and TV, Beetlebum, and the Song 2 at the end, they were all some of those 90s hits that rocked your world less than 2 decades ago. I was thrilled to hear them live but at the same time nostalgia grasped me. The nostalgia for a brilliant POP music, that music that is so rare nowadays.
I was so happy that I had to raise my friend, was tempted to throw her to stage dive.
Then the time came to check out the liveliest spot on Sziget – the Magic Mirror tent. Each year they have dance and music shows performed by local and international queer artists. The images speak for themselves:
On Saturday I saw Nneka, the Nigerian soul singer. It was a pleasant, ordinary soul with those repetitive messages of love, world peace and tolerance.
At the same time at Party Arena there was the Swedish band Timbuktu&Damn consisting of the rapper Timbuktu. He had the whole band of around 10 musicians. It was so funky! I’m usually not fond of this genre, but they were really energetic and quirky.
I took a walk on the main path where you can find tons of shops and food stands. I came across my friends from the Lollipop store. The co-owner of the shop, the Hungarian designer Klára Erdélyi said she wasn’t too satisfied with the sales this year but she was more enthusiastic about the weekend. They have a cute little shop downtown next to Csendes coffee bar in Magyar utca. 2 years ago their customer at Sziget was Moloko’s Roisin Murphy, who went crazy about Lollipop clothes.
I also bumped into Redaster Ákos, who crafts accessories from LEGO cubes.
Let’s see what I came across afterwards! There were instances of a live circus, puppet masters and even peacocks!
In the meantime at the A38 stage the Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini, an Icelandic version of Lily Allen, was enchanting the audience with her dream pop.
As you can see, the organizers succeeded in their mission despite many earlier mentioned obstacles. So many experiences/memories in only a couple of hours in 2 days in a row! You will also read about my colleague Jani’s insights soon. Until later!