Going to Sziget festival is a little like getting excited about the main at your favourite restaurant, only to realise there's a whole seven-course-meal waiting for you instead. Each day a new surprise comes up, whether it’s a gigantic foam pool, an innovative drummer playing beats on his cooking set or a cool art piece made from recycled materials. Let me show you why the island of freedom has stolen my festival heart forever, and why yours won't be able to resist either…
THE PERFECT SETTING
There’s no cooler place than an island to feel a sense of community amongst all the “survivors” of this week-long musical gathering. PLUS it also means you get to swim in the mighty Danube river with a beer in hand like a real “Szitizen”.
A sense of identity
Upon arrival, each Szitizen receives a passport that guides you through the floating labyrinth of the festival grounds – a genius idea that instantly makes you feel part of the party.
A MAGICAL DECOR
Walking inside Sziget will instantly make you feel like you’re entering Alice’s dreamlike world of wonderland. This is what I’m talking about…
Trippy art work
Seats that take the form of psychedelic mushrooms, multi-coloured umbrellas packed together as rain protectors (although it rarely rains) or an entire zone of creativity to unleash your skills? You name it, Sziget has it.
Don’t worry, no spoilers ahead because 1. every year there’s something new and 2. you never know when to expect a street artist or performer to just pop by your path since they wander around freely, offering surprises and delights everywhere they go.
Whoever invented this festival sure knows how to have fun, and also knows that the key to surviving any festival is sleep. The island of freedom is packed with hammocks, grassy and sandy areas just perfect for sweet siestas, plus art installations where Szitizens can crash on and catch up on precious zzz’s.
Tip mainly dedicated to all the campers (they know what it’s like to go sleepless for a week) : choose a day where your energy is running low to momentarily leave the island and take a dip in one of the traditional Hungarian baths. I’d recommend the széchenyi fürdő, a local favourite. Trust me, it’s the perfect relaxation plan to ensure you make it through the week.
Kids at heart
Since everyone’s floating on the same island, having a blast and listening to great music, the atmosphere could hardly be more intoxicating…and childish. Yes, the Szitizens love to have a laugh, wear weird yet wonderful clothes and aim at you with water guns over, and over, and over. Be the smartest player to win all the battles and come prepared.
Festival costumes on point
Think your rainbow sunnies and flower headband will make you stand out from the crowd? Let’s make one thing clear…weird is not weird enough for Szitizens, so better consider stepping up your festival costume game, stat.
Full of flavours
If ever you need a musical break, there’s plenty of other activities that will keep you going. From attending yoga or capoeira classes to watching a live theatre show or going to the circus, just take your pick.
A sense of community and freedom
Every day of the week, the Szitizens get together to celebrate unity and love by throwing balloons, colours, bubbles, flags and beach balls in the air all at once. People get really excited about this one so make sure to go on the main stage a few minutes before the launch of the party to grab your kit.
If the island of freedom seems to be your type of vibe, there’s no way you’d want to miss out on a quick visit to one of Budapest’s iconic ruin bars. I assure you that even after the week-long hangover you’ve accumulated, you’ll be glad to add this last experience to your trip since it brings you the full package of any young Hungarians’ perfect summer.