I first heard of the Sziget music festival while staying at the indescribably, ridiculously awesome Retox hostel in my favourite city in Europe- Budapest. I was living in Europe at the time and had been to Budapest before, thinking that the party haven couldn’t get any better. That was until I heard people talking about the upcoming festival (which I would be gone for). I remember talking to guy who worked as a Roadie, traveling the world with different concerts and festivals, who told me Sziget was the best one he had ever been to. I vowed to one day return for this wondrous event, that the hardest partyers in Europe waited for all year, and this year I finally did.
If you’ve never been to Budapest before, it is actually a city divided by the Danube River, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. On this river there are several Szigets (islands), and one of the biggest is the location of the Sziget Music Festival, a 7 day event held in August every year in which around 80,000 tie-dye and fluro clad individuals head to the ‘island of freedom’ and go absolutely bonkers.
Sziget was everything I expected and everything I had no idea could happen at a festival. It wasn’t just the festival’s location right near the heart of city, meaning we could actually stay at the fabled and most drunkenly joyous Retox Party Hostel every night, and go with new friends from the hostel on a massive party bus to the actual festival.
It wasn’t the line-up either, which was great but nothing special for a European festival. It was everything else that was around it.
There was the beach-
*Thanks to my wonderful matey Sigrid (@sigridf123) for her handy phone shots
The different themed party every day at the main stage-
The field of wonders with different activities at each station-
The different performances other than music, including this insane dance-music-bubble spectacular-
..and there was even a wall to write down your deepest hopes and desires (don’t ask me what I wrote, I shall never tell)
There were tea houses and volleyball and debate tents and marriage tents and all the food anyone could imagine and Alice in Wonderland themed bars. There was a full circus section with circus games, fortune telling and puppet shows, there was giant table setting complete with giant crib for people to play out all their weird fantasies. There were so many things to see we didn’t get to everything, and every time we thought we had the festival mapped in our heads we found a new section. There was even an underground labyrinth of tunnels for crying out loud, but we never made it because we kept getting distracted by all the shiny things. Most importantly, there was no judgement, very few dickheads, and not a shirtless, overly muscled butthead guy looking for a fight to be seen. Just a lot of people dancing their faces off, and occasionally rolling around in mud (I did not partake).
For an Australian, the 5 day pass I went for was about the same cost of a 2 or 3-day festival back home, while drink and food prices were the same as you any place in Pest. In Melbourne, you basically have to give over your first born to buy some crappy vodka pre-mix at a festival, so this left my friends and I pretty shocked (cut to us with 8 mojitos..).
The music itself was awesome, but my favourites of the festival were pretty unexpected. While I knew Ellie Goulding’s songs before and liked them I was no devout fan, but she put on an awesome show, while her rendition of Your Song by Elton John actually gave me goosebumps. She was just a great performer, and while other acts I expected to really enjoy like Major Lazer and Kings of Leon and Milky Chance, they either performed well but had no stage presence or the other way around. I had an amazing time at all of them, but nothing compared to C2C’s set for absolute boogy-ability. Maybe it was because it was the last day, maybe it was the rain, but I was dancing my tooshy of for every second of their set and absolutely loving it. Yasssss C2C are the besssttttt.
Sziget was everything I wanted it to be and everything more. I would go again in a heartbeat/once I have recovered. I miss it already. You should go. Right now. Or, wait until next year…whatever suits you…