Sziget Festival

The Sziget Festival (Sziget, pronounced , is the Hungarian for “Island”) is one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe. It is held every August in northern Budapest, Hungary, on Óbudai-sziget (“Old Buda Island”), a leafy 108-hectare (266-acre) island on the Danube. More than 1,000 performances take place each year. The week-long festival has grown from a relatively low-profile student event in 1993 to become one of the prominent European rock festivals, with about half of all visitors coming from outside Hungary, especially from Western Europe. It also has a dedicated “party train” service (with resident DJs) that transports festivalgoers from all over Europe. The second event (1994), labeled Eurowoodstock, was headlined by performers from the original Woodstock festival. By 1997 total attendance surpassed the 250,000 mark, reaching an all-time peak in 2009 with 390,000 visitors (the full 70,000 capacity being reached on one day). It is now being increasingly labeled as a European alternative to the Burning Man festival due to its unique features (“an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality”). In 2011, Sziget was ranked one of the 5 best festivals in Europe by The Independent. The 2011 festival won the European Festivals Award in the category Best Major European Festival in early 2012. In 2002, Sziget branched out to Transylvania when its organizers co-created a new annual festival there titled Félsziget Fesztivál (Romanian: Festivalul Peninsula) that soon became the largest of its kind in Romania. In 2007, the organizers co-created Balaton Sound, an electronic music festival that quickly gained popularity. In 2014, Sziget also branched out to Kiev: “Sziget Kiev” is organized on Trukhaniv Island.