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 music festival, 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 festival. 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 Sziget 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 Music
- 1. Sziget 2018 Lineup
- The Vibe
- Sziget Festival Parties
- Sziget Festival Activities
- Sziget Festival Art
- Sziget Festival Location
- Sziget Music Festival: Additional Information
- Sziget Festival Camping
- Sziget Festival Off-Site Accommodation
- Sziget Festival What To Wear
- What to Bring to Sziget Music Festival
Because what is a music festival without music?
1. Sziget 2018 Lineup
This is really the number one reason you should go to the festival this year: the 2018 Sziget lineup. The headliners for Sziget festival 2018 are Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, Mumford and Sons, Kygo, Dua Lipa and Shawn Mendes. Just listing the headliners makes me want to buy tickets to Budapest from the States right now. Not to mention other artists like Chet Faker, Bastille, Above and Beyond, Goo Goo Dolls, Little Dragon and so many more acts from around the world. Here is a (mostly) complete list of the Sziget festival lineup 2018.
2. 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. Sziget festival has, get this, 23 different stages and performing areas packed full of musical and entertaining acts throughout the week.
3. Sziget Campfire
This year Sziget is hosting a contest for up and coming bands and artists. Get the chance to play at the super laid back Campfire stage at the festival. The public can watch entry videos then vote for their favorite band! Such a cool opportunity for new artists!
4. 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!
5. Sziget Festival 2018 Theme – The Love Revolution
The theme for Sziget Festival 2018 is The Love Revolution, which is all about bringing people together despite differences in nationality, language, faith, skin color, sexually identity, etc. The founders of Sziget say that the idea of the festival was to create a “dream nation”, celebrating and sharing the best from cultures and people across the globe.’’ The Love Revolution is all about bringing people from all walks of life together for one incredible week. There’s something pretty amazing about almost half a million visitors from over 100 countries coming together for a week of music and art.
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. The best part is that a basic camping pass comes free with your festival pass! You can also upgrade to VIP camping, caravan camping, family camping or a variety of other outdoor accommodation options! Jump to the accommodation section for details on each camping area.
7. 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!
Sziget Festival Parties
Cause every music festival needs a couple of good parties!
8. 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.
9. 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. You could spend the entire week partying without a minute of sleep (although we don’t recommend it!)
10. 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! Plus it gives you an excuse to strip down to your bikini and get some relief from the heat!
Sziget Festival Activities
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. The activity schedule for Sziget festival 2018 is chock full of workshops, from Dance Therapy to Hatha Flow Yoga to Hip Hop, they’ll keep you moving all day long!
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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
Sziget Festival Art
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.
15. 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! This year Sziget festival has a ceramics studio, a build your own board game workshop and more.
16. 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. The 2018 Sziget Festival is having a Living Statues competition! Living statues (you know, those street artists that dress like statues and stand incredibly still!) can submit to be selected as one of 10 to perform at the festival.
Sziget Festival Location
Location, location, location! This festival has it all! Not only is it located in an awesome European city, it’s also on it’s very own island! How bad ass is that?!
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. Check out Sziget Festival’s City Pass, which gets you discounts to cool spots around the city and free access to public transportation!
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.
18. 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. We personally recommend Gellert Spa or the famous Széchenyi baths.
19. Obuda 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.
If you still need convincing to attend Sziget music festival 2018, this should push you over the edge:
Sziget Music Festival: Additional Information
Here is a list of useful information to help you best prepare for Sziget Festival this year!
Sziget Festival Camping
If you don’t mind sleeping on the ground, camping at Sziget is definitely the easiest and most convenient form of accommodation for the festival. There are a plethora of camping options. A basic camping pass comes free with your festival pass, which is awesome!
The designated camping zones are scattered throughout the festival, sometimes right in the mix. This can be fun, but also a bummer when you’re trying to sleep and people are literally stepping over your tent to get to the exit. If you’d like something a little fancier, you can upgrade to a nicer camping package. Here are your other options:
This camping package includes extra services like free wifi, luggage rooms, cell phone charging stations, VIP toilets and showers and, drum roll please, a swimming pool! Trust us, you’ll love being able to go for a dip after a sweaty day of dancing.
This Italian themed camping is known for its “Dolce Vita” vibes. Not as many amenities as VIP, but there are Italian and English speaking hosts, as well as Italian food available!
This French themed camping spot has French and English speaking hosts, games and endless French hospitality!
This is more of a traditional camping set up where you can roll in with your own RV/ van/ automobile camping set up to DIY. They also have private shower and toilet facilities designated for this camping.
Sziget works hard to stay sustainable so why not camp sustainability too? The eco camping are has solar powered showers, water efficient toilets, green energy power outlets and eco laundry.
Family camping is (you guessed it!) for guests looking for a more family-friendly environment. Free for children under the age of 14! This camping site has a playhouse, nap areas, as well as extra toilets and showers. There are also on site staff who love kids to ensure the campsite is just as fun as the rest of the festival!
This campsite has the basics plus free wifi, luggage rooms, snack bar and extra toilets.
*There are also some glamping options, in which the festival will set up premium glamping tents with mattresses and your own private area.
Sziget Festival Off-Site Accommodation
There is plenty of off-site accommodation if you want to be able to leave the festival behind every night to get some actual rest. But with over 450,000 visitors expected at Sziget 2018, you can bet that Budapest is going to be packed. Definitely plan ahead if you’re looking to secure a hotel or AirBnB.
We’ve heard of people pitching a tent in the basic camping area on site, as well as booking a hostel or hotel room in the city so they could decide spur of the moment whether they wanted a good night sleep or to just pass out at the festival.
Here are some great options for where to stay for Sziget music festival:
Sziget Festival Hotels
Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget – Located on Margaret Island in the Danube River, this upscale hotel has 2 pools, a fine dining restaurant on site and a spa. Worth the splurge if you want some luxury TLC during the festival.
Ibis Styles Budapest City – A great city hotel with funky style and impeccable cleanliness.
Cosmo City Hotel – A good mid-range hotel choice in a prime location for exploring Budapest.
Sziget Festival Hostels
Sziget Hostel – This hostel is only 10 minutes from the festival entrance and dorm beds are only 19 euro/ night with a festival ticket. You can also get a private room for 57 euros for 2 people, which may be preferable if you actually want some sleep. Great place to make friends for the festival!
Meander Hostel – Located in downtown Budapest, this is a great choice if you want to visit the festival, as well as explore the city. Dorm beds are a bit more expensive, starting at 28 euro.
Sziget Festival Apartments
Kodaly Apartment – A cute studio apartment with kitchen, washing machine and of course your own bathroom which is a simple pleasure you won’t get in the festival!
Budapest Downtown Apartments – A selection of apartments for a range of guests. Rent a place with your group to keep costs down and have an after-party house!
Blue Box Apartment – A one bedroom apartment perfect for couples looking for some privacy after the fest.
- Comfortable walking shoes – Sziget is a HUGE festival. There’s so much to see and do. The last thing you want is to cut your day short because your feet are killing you. Take comfort over fashion and invest in some comfy kicks. Who’s looking at your shoes anyway?!
- Bandana – The grounds of the festival are mostly made of dirt. With almost half a million people walking through during the week, you can bet there’s gonna be a TON of dust kicked up. A bandana will save you from inhaling ridiculous amounts of gross festival dirt. We recommend something like a Buff, they’re cheap, easy and super versatile.
- Costumes – If you love a good festival costume, Sziget festival is definitely the place to break it out! From onesies to sequins to barely there bikinis, you’ll pretty much see everything at Sziget.
- Rain jacket – Even though it gets pretty hot during the day, there’s still a possibility of rain. Having a light rain jacket can keep you from getting soaking wet and ruining your night.
- Remember, between the dust and the color bombs things are bound to get a little messy. Don’t wear or bring anything you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
Women’s Sziget Packing List
- Bodysuits – There’s no more classic festival look than a bodysuit with denim shorts. Just remember to get a bodysuit that has snaps in the crotch area so you don’t have to take the whole damn thing off every time you need to use the bathroom!
- Everlane Mini Wrap dress – The fabric on this dress is so soft and comfortable. Plus wrap dresses are super easy to slip on and off.
- Everlane Cotton Shirt Dress – Standing in the sun alllll day means some seriously burnt arms and shoulders. Cover up with this adorable yellow cotton dress perfect for summer.
- Alternative Apparel Rayon Challis Shorts – Soft, lightweight fabrics shorts, because sometimes a girl just needs a break from denim! These are the kind of shorts you could roll up into a ball, toss in the back of your tent and throw them back on and they’d still look good.
- Band shirt – Rep your favorite artists with some throwback band t-shirts. Just make sure you actually listen to them, otherwise it could make for some awkward conversation with fellow “fans!”
- Felt hat – Not only is a hat a great festival accessory, but it will keep the sun off your face while everyone else is squinting at the stage.
- Soft hoodie – The year we went there was a huge fashion trend of wearing a leather jacket tied around your waist. Taking a leather jacket (faux or otherwise) to a music festival seems a bit odd to me, and even more uncomfortable wrapped around your waist. I would recommend a soft hoodie that can double up as a pillow during warm nights in your tent.
Men’s Sziget Packing List
- Everlane Air Tee – Jules is obsessed with these shirts. Light, comfortable and perfect for a hot festival day.
- Swim trunks – There’s nothing better than being able to move from the festival to the foam pit to the pool without having to change your clothes. Being able to stay in the same shorts will just make your festival life easier. Plus, these come in some rad patterns.
- Alternative Apparel Basic Eco-Jersey Zip Hoodie – Even though it stays pretty hot during the day, the temperature can drop at night. A basic hoodie should keep you warm.
What to Bring to Sziget Music Festival
- Sunscreen – Unless you get terrible weather, chances are there’s going to be plenty of sun. Be prepared!
- Toilet paper/ tissues – You never know if the porta potties will run out!
- Snacks – Unlike some festivals which will literally throw away an apple if you try to bring it in (ahem, Coachella), Sziget is fine with you bringing in outside food. Not a bad way to save a couple bucks and keep your energy levels up while you’re stacking out your place at the main stage.
- Water bottle – Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up at refill stations around the festival. Because nobody likes one use plastic! Our favorite water bottles are Vapur, because one they’re empty you can fold them up and put them in your pocket!