Going to a music festival is often like leaving the real world and entering a bubble of chaos.
At music festivals, it’s like you’re looking at people for the first time. You walk, wide-eyed, taking in your surroundings, no longer glued to your phone. You talk, eager and fast, to people pressed against you in crowds. You laugh, out loud and enthusiastically. You just live – no checking yourself in the mirror, no worries, carefree.
Sziget Festival takes this euphoria to another level by completely taking over an island – keeping to its namesake – in Budapest, Hungary. Transforming the 108-hectacre island into the ‘Island of Freedom’, the weeklong festivities combine circus, performing arts, talks, and of course, live music. Isolated but never alone, you become a true ‘szitien’, confirmed with a passport to freedom where you can collect stamps across the land and knowing every word to the festival’s national anthem.
Like the half a million guests from 95 countries, the performers flock from all over the world to the award winning festival, keen to indulge in the leafy hideaway. This year’s line-up covers everything from EDM to rock, welcoming a variety from Alt J to The Pretty Reckless to Metronomy to Major Lazer. It boasts the chart-topping duo, The Chainsmokers, and will see the return of Pink, no doubt aero acrobatting across the mainstage. Relentless, Kasabian will be there on behalf of the fired up underdogs, and George Ezra will give a whole new tangible meaning to his hit ‘Budapest’. Magic piano man, Tom Odell, and the sensational songstress, Birdy, are there for when emotions may run high, whilst Glass Animals and Mac Demarco will ignite that teenage giddiness. Vince Staples almost demands your presence, mon the biff, and Oliver Heldens’ set is always something special.
But if you did want to leave and see the city at all, you can take the Sziget cruiser – a boat that allows you to party in front of parliament. Soak in your surroundings and visit both Buda and Pest, to wipe off the glitter in the famous spa and baths, just to put it back on again. Filled to the very brim with culture, the island provides access into the minds of the world’s greatest young creatives as they have space to showcase their artwork and bring the whole island to life in their imagination.
With a foam pit, the nightly themed parties; complete with confetti, paint and glitter, and the after parties, finding the time to close your eyes, sleep and be away from the freedom for just a few hours doesn’t even appeal. But to recharge you may either camp on the island and make friends without barriers; with many packages available, and the option to buy your tent, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets on site for the extra case space. Or leave to stay in one of Budapest’s many hotels, hostels or private accommodation. We’re heard that some guests attempt to swim, but you can just use the Sziget-Budapest citypass for travel convenience.
So once you’ve learned how to Hungarian dance, sang your heart out, dipped your toes in the sand, and spent seven nights on a hammock, you’ll leave your heart on the island of freedom.
Sziget festival runs from 9th – 16th August, 2017, tickets available now
Words by Tanyel Gumushan