If you haven’t heard of Sziget Festival (pronounced Zi-get) buckle up, because this is one festival you definitely don’t want to miss. Sziget, held every August in Budapest, is one of the largest music festivals in all of Europe. And that’s saying something, because Europe is home to some pretty big festivals.
For non-Europeans, it’s a little hard to comprehend exactly how outrageous European music festivals are. I thought Coachella was big, but that’s nothing compared to Sziget. This week long festival held on a island in the middle of the Danube river is jam packed with some of today’s hottest bands. And if the lineup isn’t enough to convince you, there is so much more to do, see and experience at Sziget music festival than you can imagine.
For a little more inspiration, here are 19 reasons you can’t miss Sziget Music Festival!
- The Vibe
- The Party
- The Activities
- The Art
- The Location
- The Music
1. The Island of Freedom
Sziget’s nickname is “the island of freedom” and it’s not hard to see why. The minute you enter the festival gates you feel like you’ve been transported to another universe. With so many people in costumes, music in the air and art everywhere, you have a feeling of complete acceptance. You can truly be anything or anyone you want here!
Sziget is it’s own little world. The organizers have dubbed attendees as “szitizens” and you can even get a Sziget festival passport. Take your passport to all the different parts of the festival and have them stamp your Sziget passport. More than half of the festival guests come from outside of Hungary, so this is perfect for all the travelers!
One of the reasons Sziget has such a great vibe 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! This really gives the venue a feeling of community.
3. The Organizing
If you’ve ever been to a poorly organized music festival, you know how important it is that they are managed correctly! The Sziget organizers absolutely knock their’s out of the park. They’ve seriously thought of everything. From “party train” services that transport festival goers from all over Europe, to Festival “credit cards” that you can add money to and avoid carrying around cash, they’ve thought of everything!
4. The Community
While Sziget is ultimately about the music, you get the feeling that there’s a deeper mission here. Sizget is really about the people that attend the festival and the community that develops for one special week during the year. There’s something pretty incredible about almost half a million visitors from over 95 countries coming together for a week of music and art.
6. Theme Parties
Every evening at the main stage there is a “theme” party. Organizers pass out certain items depending on the theme night. At the “color party” guests received colored powder to throw in the air, at the “flag” party guests were invited to wave their country’s flag proudly in the air and the confetti party had guests throw colorful confetti into the crowd. It may not sound like the most elaborate theme party, but watching tens of thousands of people collected at the main stage throwing every color of the rainbow into the air is pretty spectacular.
7. After Parties
The music at the main stages go pretty late, at least compared to American festivals, but the party really never stops. After the headlines finish there’s plenty of DJs playing on smaller stages and after parties erupting throughout the campground.
8. The Foam Pit
If you have a break between bands you want to see (not likely with the killer lineup, but you never know!) and still want a party, head over to the foam pit. Spitting out old school hip hop beats and tons of foam, the foam pit is the place to party during the day!
You may be at Sziget for the music, but there’s SO much else going on that you could literally not see any music and still have an amazing day full of activities.
Love playing sports? Sziget’s got you covered. They have literally every sport under the sun. Want to play a game of pickup bball? No problem. Want to try your hand at wheelchair volleyball?! What about playing soccer while bouncing around in giant inflatable balls? Sziget’s got every sport you’ve heard and even a few that you haven’t.
10. Something for the Adrenaline Junkies
If you’re riding the festival high and feeling invincible, Sziget’s got plenty of activities to push your comfort zone. They literally have a bungee jump at the festival. Swinging out across a crowd of people in the warm Budapest air might just be the best way to finish the festival.
11. NGO Tents
Learning about social issues might not be how you’d imagine spending time at a music festival, but hear me out. Sziget has a whole NGO section with booths dedicated to different organizations. Some booths hold interesting talks discussing local and international issues, others have activities that you can take part in. It’s just another element that separates Sziget from other festivals.
Art and music mix together like peanut butter and jelly (or if you’re Hungarian, palinka and goulash).
Art installations seem to be a staple at music festivals now and Sziget has some pretty rad ones. Anyone can apply to have their art displayed at the festival. From light up sculptures to interactive pieces, there’s so much to see during the week.
13. Arts and Crafts
Getting inspired by all the art? You can make some yourself! There’s plenty of arts and crafts booths where you can get creative and take home a DIY souvenir!
14. Performance Art
Not all of the art at Sziget is made from paint and canvas. There’s a ton of performance art taking place throughout the week, including amazing displays of acro-yoga and circus acts.
Location, location, location!
One of the great things about Sziget is that you can buy single day tickets to the week long festival. That means that you can skip a day to explore Budapest (which we highly recommend you doing!). The city (technically cities, Budapest is made up of Buda and Pest) is a wonder in itself. From the gorgeous Belle Époque pre-communist architecture to the retro ruin bar scene, Budapest is well worth skipping a day at the festival.
Want to spend a day exploring the historical side of the city? We recommend checking out some of the tours on offer around Budapest. Check out our article about the best history tours in Budapest.
16. The Baths
Yes, the famous spas and baths are a part of Budapest, but they deserve their own special mention. Believe me, you’ll want to take a break from the hot, dusty island of Sziget to cross the Danube river and visit one of these magical baths. Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of the cool outside baths, or soak your weary feet inside in one of the heated baths.
17. River Island
There are some pretty cool music festival venues out there, but an island in the middle of the Danube river? Only Sziget can claim that. Even though you’re only a stone’s throw from busy Budapest, the island is isolated enough to make it feel like you’re out in the middle of the ocean.
Finally, the music. Because what is a music festival without music?
18. The Range of Genres
The thing about a week long festival is that there is just SO much music. From rock to hip hop to EDM, there’s pretty much something for everyone. Sure, the mainstage is going to be pretty mainstream, but there’s plenty of smaller acts to please more eclectic palates.
19. Sziget Lineup 2017
And finally, the number one reason you should go to Sziget this year: the 2017 lineup. The Chainsmokers, Kasabian, Mackelmore, Pink, Major Lazer, Wiz Kalifa and so, so, so many more. Just listing the headliners makes me want to buy tickets to Budapest from the States right now. Not to mention Flume, Alt-J, Jagwar Ma and so many more acts from around the world.
If you still need convincing to attend Sziget music festival 2017, this should push you over the edge: