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If you need to know anything at all about Sziget festival in Budapest, this Sziget festival review + guide will tell you ALL you need to know about this absolutely next-level festival. From the venue, the crowd, the lineup and the vibe to security, Sziget camping, amenities, getting tickets, hostels and hotels, transportation, how money works, and different kinds of food and drink… I got you. There’s even a link to get cheap tickets and travel packages below, so keep reading!! Without further ado…
Holy Sziget. This festival delivered about 500 times more than I was expecting. I came because it had a good lineup and intersected with my week off from work. I left with my mind completely blown and with a new favorite festival, which is actually saying quite a lot.
The amount of stuff to do at this weeklong festival was absolutely staggering – even apart from the amazing lineup of artists. I didn’t even have time to do everything I wanted to do in the 5 days that I attended – maybe I would have if I didn’t sleep!! This Sziget festival review should encompass everything you need to know.
With the music bumping until past 6am each night and pretty much not even stopping in the morning, there is something to be done at Sziget Festival literally all times of the day. First of all there are less people playing each day because the festival is a week long and more spaced out.
Secondly, the main stage headliners all play in the afternoon/evening, and the Dj/tent headliners are all at 12-3am ish, so there is really time to see everyone. It’s brilliant! There isn’t as much running around to try and see every single possible act or trying to decide between two huge headliners playing at the same time. It works so well! But you don’t sleep. So you can figure that one out on your own!
Sziget festival really is its own little civilization on an island in Budapest, coming into existence for a week each year. It’s more than just a festival, it really is a lifestyle! When you buy a 5 or 7 day pass to Sziget, you become a “Szitizen,” or a citizen of Sziget of course.
Upon entry, you get this amazing little passport that has the entire schedule of acts at each stage and every single little extra activity schedule, from the fire spinning parties at the beach to the yoga in the theatre tent to the traditional Hungarian dance shows and the sculpture classes at the art zone (See amenities section for all the extras!).
You can get your photo printed and laminated on it for free, and you can go and get a passport stamp at each little zone or village! Once you collect them all you can exchange it to get a ‘green card’ to be a real Szitizen of Sziget island of freedom. How cool is that?! Seriously, everything is so above and beyond, and this Sziget Review + Guide will walk you through each and every thing.
Also – there are plenty more epic Hungarian festivals where that came from! If you’re more into psytrance/transformational festivals, make sure to check out Ozora Festival.
Sziget Festival Review + Guide
Sziget Festival Venue
Sziget festival is held on an island in the middle of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. It is dubbed the ‘island of freedom’ and this couldn’t be more true! With a Sziget festival ticket comes the ability to camp anywhere on the island, and there are ample open areas to set up shop.
Tents are basically everywhere, just scattered throughout the grounds and between all the different areas and stages on the island. There are a good amount of leafy tree-covered areas (which are the best to camp) and some more forresty and bushy ones.
The island is surrounded by a quite rocky shoreline/beach which is nice to relax on, but you cannot swim in the river apart from one small designated area at Sziget beach. There are a few roads going throughout the island and more gravel/dusty paths dotted with food trucks, tents, and shops where the crowds move around.
There are other grass areas held as venues for the Art Zone, Design zone, Hungarian Village, outdoor theatre and circus, and millions of other quirky and amazing little activity areas. It does get quite dusty but that is to be expected in hot summer weather!
The Lineup for Sziget festival is always great. There are four headliners on the main stage on each of the 7 days, and more artists playing during the day and until 6am at the tent stages. The music is extremely varied here and Sziget really does accommodate for all different types of tastes.
There is an entire Latin/African Raggae village with a world music stage, and dozens of little bars along the main paths with dance floors that play different types of music as well. The main stage had more Rock and Alternative headliners while the two large tent stages saw more EDM, but all different kinds, and some other rock and solo artists as well.
The main stage has seen the likes of Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine, Mumford + Sons, Kygo, Kendrick Lamar, Kings of Leon, Chet Faker, Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, Limp Bizkit (apparently on their first tour back in a while), Awolnation, Alt-J, The Script, Robbie Williams, Rudimental, Kasabian, and Avicii. Clearly very varied, but big names just the same!
In some of the tent stages big acts included Oliver Heldens, Alesso, Arty, Gorgon City, SBTRKT, Gramatik, MØ, Infected Mushroom, Sal Feldt, Nero, Foxes, Ella Eyre, Milky Chance, C2C, Sigma, Interpol, Nervo, Blasterjaxx, Bassjackers, and Sander Van Doorn.
The Colosseum this year was a super cool stage made entirely of wood to look like the actual Colsseum, and was definitely the place to go to have a little crazy dance break out of all the stages! With an entirely deep house artist lineup playing all day every day, you could take a quick 10 minute Colosseum break at any time of day. I would compare it to the Do Lab of Coachella! Headliners consisted of Dixon, Marcel Dettman, Damiam Lazarun, Jay Lumen, and Secret Factory – all playing around 2-5am as a last stop before crashing out for the night.
The World Music Stage, Sziget Beach area/Chill Garden, Europe Stage, Blues/Irish Stage, Classical/Jazz Stage, Tribute Band Stage, Hungarikum Village, Telekon Volt Stage, Snowattack Stage, Campfire area, and other smaller sponsored stages all had musical and activity lineups in the schedule as well and are so much fun to check out to get a change of pace or to discover all the festival has to offer. More info Below under Amenities!
- Read More: Free and Cheap things to do in Budapest
The crowd was totally varied at Sziget. There is no age minimum or limit on the “Island of Freedom,’ making way for families to come with their children and for old and young people alike to come and enjoy the Sziget Lifestyle. You can even bring your dog!
I saw a father with his young baby relaxing and listening to some deep house at Sziget beach, and plenty of people with their dogs walking around the pathways of the island. Apparently this year the youngest Szitizen was 8 months old and the oldest was 86! That should give you an idea of the variety at this festival.
That being said, the majority of the crowd was probably 18-40 year olds with a lot of partiers. There was a large Australian and Dutch population, but people really came from everywhere! 195 countries were apparently represented this year – one of my favorite things about festivals is the coming together of so many nationalities through music, and it was definitely demonstrated at Sziget!
There was nothing but good and friendly vibes here at Sziget festival. For some reason it did not seem as social as some festivals I have been to in terms of everyone being really outgoing and eager to meet all the other people. But, it was still as happy as you would expect with hundreds of thousands of people all coming together to have a week of the best time of their lives.
I think that maybe since it is a week long people are sometimes more tired, reserving themselves for the rest of the week or until later at night whereas at three day festivals people wake up and immediately get going each day. The vibe here was more relaxed and calm than shorter festivals, with people taking more time in the day to chill, relax and experience the smaller bits that the festival had to offer.
Atmosphere/Decorations at Sziget Festival
Sziget is also an art festival, with installations and decorations in each and every corner. It may not be as done up as a festival like Tomorrowland regarding attention to decoration and atmosphere, but it was absolutely enough to be impressive.
Bright and colorful tarps cover every tree trunk, and different kinds of creative lights are strung between the trees bordering each main pathway – from different shapes like unicorns and jellyfish to lights inside of small hanging dresses to strangely shaped colorful lanterns.
Adorning the gates that separate different areas of the venue are big blown-up photos of millions if different moments from the festival, from artists singing to happy szitizens to other performers, which keeps something as boring as a gate interesting and attention – grabbing.
Fairy lights are strung over all the tents in the forresty areas, and random installations and structures can be found in most areas throughout the venue. In the art zone and design area are all sorts of places to make your own creations or experiment with different crafts they have to offer.
The stages are basic – normal dark tent stages with built-in lights, and the main stage was a large structure stage with the sziget logo printed on it. They weren’t anything really special, but with the rest of what Sziget has to offer they were more than adequate. The lights at the main stage were amazing as well!
READ MORE: Looking for more of a cultural experience in Budapest? Their Independence Day is not long after Sziget!
Sziget Festival Amenities – Other Stuff to Do
No Sziget festival review wold be complete without going into the extra stuff to do… but I legitimately have no idea where to begin with all the insane extra amenities at Sziget. No idea. This was so, so much more than just a music festival. It was like going to disneyland as an adult and being able to do all the weird, crazy, fun things you could ever imagine, plus HEAPS more.
I will now launch into a list of amenities, basically other things available besides the main acts, that is as inclusive as I can remember but still probably forgot some – photos do these things more justice!!
At Sziget they had:
The art zone is a huge grass area with loads of different sculptures and booths. The area had schedules of different arts and crafts each day in different parts of the area. There was sculpture making, tote bag making, body painting and stencil spray, yoga, many interesting art classes, and things with strange names I could not tell you what were (e.g. playful sculpting, digital self-realization, house of Holy Olga, you get the point), digital painting, floral wreath making, origami, painting and weaving, time capsule making, interactive visuals, and even more…. its exhaustive!!
Each of these cool activities had a scheduled time in the week or day that you could find in your passport. So you had to stay on top of the schedule to make some of the classes!
Sziget Beach and Chill Zone
This was a rad area with all sorts of tapestries and colorful sheets draped all over the place. There was an ‘event zone’ and tent that had activities each day, and a lower beach area. Some activities at Sziget beach were: yoga, bollywood dancing, belly dancing, craft, juggling, contemporary dancing, and fire dancing workshops which happened every day at different times.
This area also had a lineup of DJ’s spinning mostly epic deep house, and had bars and some places to get food as well. There were also tons of pillows and places to sprawl out and nap, which most people did. The actual ‘beach’ was a pebbly area with a few art installations and a bar, and a small fenced out area where people were allowed to swim in the Danube.
I never made it to the fire dancing and body painting workshop they had each night, although I really wanted to! The beach was an amazing area, and one of my favorites for sure.
Before I Die Wall
If you have’t seen one of these before, they’re basically a huge chalk wall with the words “Before I Die…” and tons and tons of blank spaces for people to write down their hopes, dreams, and ambitions. Some took it seriously and some wrote some funny jokes, but it was cool to see what all the Szitizens wanted to do in their lifetime.
Cirque de Sziget
There was an outdoor and indoor circus at Sziget, each with its own lineup of quirky and interesting circus acts over each day. There was a lot of comedy, acrobatics, and people dressed strangely and making funny noises getting the crowds involved in their show. It was a super fun place to relax and take it easy for a while and enjoy some talented acts! Certain acts such as ‘Grotesque Gymnastics,’ and ‘Cirk La Putyka’ would go one each day, while there were others that would perform at different times each day and night.
Theatre and Dance Tent
There was an indoor and outdoor stage for the theatre and dance tent, with talented and emotional shows from many different dance companies and delightfully random performances each afternoon. Yoga was at the outdoor stage each morning, which also saw the likes of crazy hair painting and other quirky performances each day.
Magic Mirror (LBGT Village)
This was the LGBT area of the festival with its own bar and tent with different LGBT and Drag shows, movies, discussions, and parties each day. Yet another reason this festival is insanely inclusive!
This park next to the disability camping area was a place for everyone to experience what it would be like to have certain disabilities. There was a rock wall to climb blindfolded, a maze that you could try and navigate blindfolded with a stick, a course to try and complete in a wheel chair, and a few other insanely creative options for people to explore how it would be to not be fully able. How amazing!!
Giant Street Theatre
This was an absolutely incredible ‘street’ show that played four times each day. The crowd would all stand inside a closed off area, and the performers would have the crowd help them pull an enormous ‘bubble’ over them. This bubble (a clear plastic tarp) was then inflated from the inside and used as a stage for a mind-blowing performance featuring the dancers climbing over the bubble and being pulled up into it from the crowd and back down again. I can’t even adequately describe it! It was like being inside the stage as a spectator yet directly involved in the performance as well. I have never seen anything like it!
This area had about a dozen tents all representing different Hungarian museums that were available to visit in August with a Sziget ticket. How cool is that? You could do different activities at each tent and hear about the scope of the museum it was representing, whether it was about photography, ambulance, science, technology, castles, or cartoons. This goes to show how cultural of a festival Sziget is; not only can you find out about all sorts of Hungarian museums but you can visit them after the festival with your Sziget ticket!
Classical and Jazz Stage
This was a stage for those who might not be a fan of more popular music! Opera, classical, jazz, symphonic, and other acts that fall under the ‘classical and jazz’ label would play at this stage each morning and night for a little chill break from the hype of the festival!
This little area had different fun games and shows each day. The performers would have the crowd play different games – and I quote from the schedule – “everything that can be flipped, touched, targeted, shot, fished, or played,” and other magic tricks or films each day. Delightfully quirky and hilariously fun!
The sport zone had three beach volleyball courts, a soccer field, half a basketball court, some soccer-pong tables, a bungee jumping zone where you could jump onto a huge (like, 20x20x20) inflated bag from maybe 25 meters up in the air, foosball, and a really interesting ropes course where you could climb around rings, ropes, bars and nets while suspended in the air. Oh, and a rock wall. And a lot more things I am probably forgetting. In other words, you could probably spend all day here alone!
Foam Pit & Beauty Area
This was the BEST. Each day until about 7 or 8 o’clock, there was a foam pit going with great music and some dance performances next to it as well (pictured). You could go into the foam pit, dance, and play, and then they would shower you off as you got out. It was a great way to have a ‘shower’ or just have a lot of fun!
They also had a free makeup and hair station next to the foam pit (that never even had that long of a line) and a pharmacy – type store where you could buy any beauty, hair, or body supplies like you could find in a CVS or Boots. Someone also walked up to me and gave me a free pack of baby wipes at one point. You can literally get everything at this festival.
This place had every board game I can think of going on at some point during each day. Backgammon, Battleship (or as the program says, “Battlesheep.” Gotta love translations), Dobble, Quarto, Splendor, and Dragon Egg were on the schedule for each day. What are those games? No idea, but they were available at Sziget. Oh, and there was a darts championship competition each day, and a Poker and Chess championship you could sign up for. So there’s that.
The Gamelandhub also had a TEDx Budapest Club tent, which had a schedule of the most famous Hungarian movies throughout the week that which were apparently acclaimed at international film festivals as well. All were screened with English subtitles. They also had a schedule of Ted Talks each day as well. So there’s that, too. (what?!?! At a festival?!?! ok I’m done.)
Afro-Latin Reggae Village and Master Card World Music Stage
The Afro-Latin Reggae Village had awesome reggae music blasting from somewhere all the time, and was always great vibes. It had a different cultural dance workshop at each hour from 12-5 ( Brazilian Dance, Cuban Salsa & Rumba, Afro- Caribbean Dance, West-African Drums, African Dance and Drums) every. single. day.
There was also a hair-braiding, henna painting, tribal face painting, and jewelry making area, also with an African Info Point with travel advice and information about African festivals. INSANE.
The Master Card World Music Stage was in the same area as the Afro-Latin Reggae Village, and the whole area had really cool decorations and art installations. This stage was like one of the main stages and had a big lineup of different world musical artists and DJ’s. The fact that I hadn’t heard of any of them is pretty irrelevant – it was a perfect opportunity to hear sounds from different parts of the world!
This area was all for Traditional Hungarian things, straight from the Hungarian countryside. There was a wooden barn-type thing with Hungarian dancing going on that anyone was welcome to join, where different dance companies would perform each day.
There were mini structures shaped to look like Hungarian buildings, Displays, workshops, little Hungarian games to play, and tons of little market stalls where you could shop and buy Hungarian souvenirs. Everyone was dressed in traditional attire and gave a real feeling of getting some culture of the country we were in!
Where bands from all over Europe performed and added to the multiculturality of the festival! Literally from dozens of other European countries, I have no doubt they covered them all!
All sorts of Blues bands and Irish type music! If you wanted a different vibe this was definitely another option to check out.
Budapest Park Tribute Stage
Literally a stage just for tribute bands. how epic is that? It saw bands tributing the likes of Linkin Park, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, U2, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Beatles, and Bob Marley. So if you wanted a fun sing-along adventure, this was the place.
Each night from 11-3am there was a sweet campfire chill zone with different artists playing around the fire. A perfect place to hang out and warm up!
This was an incredible enormous geometric plastic creation that people could go inside. It’s hard to describe but it was basically huge inflatable thin plastic (bubble-like) sculpture that uses natural light to create a beautiful, colorful, and calming mood as you wander through all the passages and rooms inside. Created by a British artist, this specific luminarium has traveled all around Europe as an art insulation that thousands of people have visited. See photos for better idea 🙂
Other small “Street Theaters”
This is pretty much another world to describe the other insanely random things traveling around Sziget that I could not otherwise describe. The alien – looking people who painted people’s hair neon colors, the guy riding around on a bicycle with all sorts of instruments, the marching band of people in yellow suits. I thought I had seen it all, but then I went to Sziget.
I didn’t get a chance to actually go in here because the line was always so long but it looked amazing. Apparently it was a labyrinth that you had to navigate through by drawing tarot cards, and was accompanied by actors inside who were all a part of the experience. I wish I could have gone in!
Separate from the Art Zone, the Design zone was a place with other amazing art installations and its own stage where you could go and see designers of fashion, startup design companies, 3d printing, and other interesting designs that you could physically use or experience. There were deign market shops that lined it with tattoos, clothing, jewelry and other trinkets, all really cool to check out. I also got a free African hair braid in the design zone 🙂
Tattoo and Piercing Parlors
There were multiple of these in the festival. The only thing I can say is … dangerous.
This was an entire area lined with booths representing philanthropy, charity, volunteer, student exchange, health, economy, LBGT, different diet requirements, and literally dozens of other programs. Each booth had educational games or little trinkets or info packets for and Szitizen who wanted to hear more about a certain thing. There were representatives from every kind of association I can think of- yet another way that Sziget is so inclusive and has something for every single type of person.
There were multiple places where you could pay to be taken up a huge crane and bungee jump down over 50-60 meters. At. a. Festival.
There was a crane that would strap four people vertically hanging into a butterfly shaped contraption and bring them up into the air and fly them around face down as if they were a butterfly. at a festival.
There was a bar that would strap people into its seats and then raise them up 50 meters in the air and serve them a beer as they observed the festival from above. AT A FESTIVAL. Can you tell how impressed I am by all this? Because I am.
At 7pm every night there was a ‘special party’ at the main stage. The first night it was bubbles, and they passed bubbles out to the whole crowd to blow. There was a flag party, where they gave out thousands of Sziget flags and also encouraged people to bring their own (I was repping California of course). There was a confetti party where everyone had confetti poppers, a color party where all different colors of color powder were passed out, a maraca party with little maraca shakers in the whole crowd, and a glow stick and laser party right before Martin Garrix’s headlining set. These were awesome, so creative, and fun for everyone 🙂
(For Food – See Below)
Sziget Camping/Camping Amenities/Camping Review
Now, for the Sziget camping review. Like I said before, you could camp anywhere on the whole island. It was a free-for-all. This is the only reason I would recommend getting there early to get a good, tree-shaded camping spot.. if you plan on really sleeping. Just kidding. But there were tents literally EVERYWHERE. There were tents next to a stand that sold speakers, which made me really confused because the stand was just blasting loud music all day and all night. There were tents next to the Colosseum which confused me for the same reason.
Tents were everywhere: by all the bathrooms, on hills, and dangerously close to the pathways. But, to each their own, I guess. I truly believe some people didn’t even bring tents and just found pillows, shady spots, or mats to pass out on every once in a while. There were air mattresses brought down to the rocky beaches and hammocks strung between all the trees. It was literally a free-for-all.
Everything got pretty insanely dusty, given that the island and pathways are dusty as hell. You pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe dust at this festival, and never don’t have pounding bass in your ears, but it’s definitely worth it. 🙂
There are a few other Sziget camping options + Sziget VIP camping as well:
The Sziget Siesta Camping area has all the pre-set up tents that you can rent. Beware though, if you buy a pre-set tent you also need to buy a wristband to get into this area, which will be another 60-70 euro on top of what you paid for your tent setup.
The Bridge Camping area was its own sectioned-off and central camping area that you could also only enter with a wristband. All the camping sections have 24 hour reception, enhanced security, and extra toilets/showers so you don’t have to wait in line at the normal ones.
There was also a caravan camping section, and a family camping section for families with children.
The Sziget VIP camping area also came with pre-set up tents, and was apparently a really sweet area. The coolest thing (and selling point) about it was that it had a huge pool inside where people would just hang out before going into the madness each day. This was an incredibly clutch amenity because it is very hot at Sziget. A pool is a perfect way to cool off or wake up in the morning, and isn’t as dirty as trying to shower in the Danube (which most people did anyway).
The VIP section also had little bunk bed style wooden houses, ‘farm’ houses, and ‘accordion’ (interestingly shaped) houses, and ‘shoe’ houses you could rent for an extra fee too – with mattresses and power! All available for two people.
Quite possibly the coolest option at Sziget were the “flexotels.’ These little huts were sectioned off in the camping area and came with actual beds (wow), towels, linen, toilets and showers, power, and a little table to hang out at. Pretty sweet!
There were some. Some were big nice rooms with personal shower stalls, long mirrors, and even hair dryers to use. The big shower areas had hot water and places to plug in, straighten, and do makeup. A smaller shower I visited was just 5 shower heads next to each other where people could go and shower more publicly, separated by gender of course. The shower option was definitely there, but sometimes had longer lines. A lot of people brought shampoo and soap down to the beach and, like I said, showered in the Danube, which debatably made you cleaner!
Sziget Festival Transportation/Hotels/Hostels
There were tons of hostel groups and people staying in Budapest city at the festival. There are LOADS of party hostels in Budapest, and most people who don;t camp will stay at these. Sziget is easily accessible by public transportation, which will take about 20 minutes and cost about 550 Florint (pretty much 2 euro) each way. It’s a bit of a walk from the Metro, (maybe another 10-15 minutes) but it’s definitely easy to stay in the city and commute to Sziget. If you want a package like this, check Festicket. Their packages are on sale for 2019!
Hostels in Budapest for Sziget
If you want to book a hostel, some awesome party hostels in Budapest are Retox Party Hostel (which is renowned for being insane), Pal’s Hostel, Hostel One Basilica, The Hive Party Hostel, and Avenue Hostel. There are SO many hostels in Budapest; it’s really the quintessential backpacker city and really caters to the community. Check Hostelworld for all the options in Budapest – there are tons!
That being said, I would’t personally recommend staying in town…. being that it is a 24 hour festival, there is no real time for you to go back and sleep, or to come back again for it to be worth the commute time. I always say it’s best to immerse yourself into the festival experience by camping, and Sziget is the best festival to do that I’ve seen yet. This is because the camping and festival are all the same exact area. I met some people who would go on 30-40 hour stints at the festival and then go back to their hostel for a rest…. but again, easier to just pass out in your tent for a few hours twice a day!
Stoke Travel and Sziget
Stoke Travel also organizes packages of accommodation and Sziget tickets for large groups of party people. Sziget is one of Stoke’s main festivals, and they do it large. If you see a large group of Aussies wearing matching neon singlets (one year they said “Let’s Sziget Fucked”) then you know you’ve found the Stokies!
Stoke is always a good time. If you like to party with like-minded individuals and also don’t want to camp, sign up with Stoke. The home base is a Budapest party hostel and groups all go into the festival together. They have a few packages; the tickets and hostel stay can go together or serperate:
Sziget Food + Drink Guide
THE. FOOD. AT. SZIGET. IS. INCREDIBLE. Holy shit. Whatever you want, Sziget has it, and there probably isn’t even a long line. All the pathways are lined with food trucks, tents, and stalls selling basically everything known to man and a lot of cool traditional Hungarian dishes as well. There are so many and such diverse food options that even hundreds of thousands of people don’t crowd one single place.
Some food I can remember (just for the Sziget review) are: Organic Bakery, Eggs/Omelets, Crepes, Pancakes, BBQ all kinds of meat, Italian flatbread and cheeses, Thai food/Pad Thai, Fruit stands with all kinds of fruit, many different burger stands, Panini’s, Soup, Coffee stands, Kebabs of all shapes, sizes, and types, bagel and baguette stands with salmon/duck/cream cheese/ham options, Hungarian Pastries everywhere, Pressed Juice, Chinese, Greek, and Indian foods, Mexican meals, an amazing ‘real cheeseburger’ with the patty made of fried cheese with bacon, salad, and coleslaw on top (pictured below), and more than I can’t even name.
Ok, Drinks. Drinks are basically the same deal as the food. There are bars literally every 20 steps, with beers, ciders, and spirits all readily available, and plenty of craft tents selling more specialized types of alcohol. There were 58 bars on site according to the schedule, and I would say it felt like even more!
The cheapest drink is definitely the beer coming in at 650 florint, or just about 2-3 dollars/euro. The beer of the festival was a popular Hungarian beet called Dreher, which was actually amazing. Kingswood cider was just 50 florint more and was crisp and refreshing. However I did however buy a Redbull vodka that was a staggering 1750 florint – three times as much as a beer! It depends what you want but beer is definitely the cheaper way to go at Sziget festival. That, or smuggling drinks in rom the supermarket outside, but I didn’t say that.
The Hungarian National Spirit (palinka) was available at all bars as well, which is a really interesting 50% alcohol drink distilled from different fruits – apricots, blackberries, strawberries, and more. It is definitely worth a try at the festival – It is strong but sweet! liked blueberry the best!
There were cocktail buckets available at most bars as well for a bit more expensive but larger volume. You could get 1 or 2 liter buckets for 4,000-5,000 florint, which I is 10-20 dollars depending on which currency you are looking for (Australian dollar, american dollar, euro, pound… I am lost these days) but one Euro is about 300 florint so you can go from there.
WINE. The wine options at Sziget are delightfully extensive, to my delight. There are multiple wine gardens and bars dedicated just to wine, and one area that had all sorts of different flavors of a yummy hungarian fruit wine with sparkling water that was to die for. I went and sampled different flavors from different booths and came away with a bottle to share with my friends. Apparently there were 4 big wine bars and 15 smaller handicraft wine stations, so for wine-o’s like me it is a paradise.
Sziget Tickets and Price
If you get the earlier sale, you can get 7 days of Sziget for just 219 euro. That, my friends, is f*&^ing insane. You can get day tickets for 50-60 euro depending on which sale you get them in, and 5 day passes for just over 200 as well. To say the very least, this price is absolutely ridiculously cheap for what you get. I still can’t really believe it. I think Tomorrowland is worth the 425 euro I paid for 4 nights, so you could bet what I think 7 nights of Sziget is worth. A lot.
GET SZIGET TICKETS + PACKAGES.
Festicket, Sziget's official partner, not only sells the best priced tickets but has transport and accommodation packages as well.
The security at Sziget depends on what line you go in. The security lady opened the backpack on my front and tapped the enormous backpack on my back, and sent me through. The line next to us, however, had a big guy absolutely picking apart this girl’s tote bag and taking everything out and shaking her water bottles. Get the line that’s moving the fastest, that’s the golden rule!
Once you’re in, however, you are in for good and there is no re-entering the festival site each day like most festivals because you camp inside. Pretty cool and very chill. Security inside was minimal if existent at all.
Sziget Festival Weather
Budapest in the summer is hot, hot, hot – be prepared for pretty intense heat during the day and drink lots and lots of water. There are a few refill stations on site and water is pretty cheap at the bar, just over 1 euro/350ft.
It is Europe, however, and rain storms can happen at any time. There were a few rainstorms during the festival and the week afterwards rained nonstop for 3 days, so be prepared for heat but bring at least something warm just in case.
Sziget is 24/7 literally. Whenever you want to do something, there is something to be done. No matter when you decide to sleep, there will be music bumping from somewhere or another… and that’s something about this festival you have to get used to. Peace and quiet doesn’t really exist – but usually you’re so tired you pass out anyway!
One of the coolest things about this festival I thought was the fact that there were only about four headliners at the main stage each day. They would play at at 4, 5:45, 7:30, and 9:30. All the other headliners in the tents would be at 11:45, 1, and 2:30/3am. So, it was perfectly staggered so that you could see the main headliners in the day and also the smaller ones too, at night. There was no running back and forth to see your favorite rock headliner who played at the same time as your DJ headliner. Not at Sziget. Here you can see everyone, and it is amazing.
Money at Sziget
At Sziget festival, you put all your money onto a ‘festi-pay’ card, which you can top up at dozens of points all over the venue. You can top up in whatever currency you want, which they will convert to florint because they use the local currently at the festival. It is so convenient not to have to fuss about cash or cards in the festival. All you do is touch your card to the reader and it deducts it from your balance. Very smart and ver convenient.
The being said, it is hard to know what you are spending with everything in such strange prices. 750 for a cider? Sure. 1595 for a flatbread? Sounds good. 1700 for a burger? Ummmm… yeah. Because I do not have an internal calculator that automatically divides everything by 280.5 (conversion to USD), it was hard for me to know what I was paying besides a general idea. But, being at a festival, I was okay spending a bit more for the holiday, as most people were. It’s just something to look out for – Hungary has a strange currency!
Sziget Festival Review Final Tips
All the tips I have for this festival are pretty much scattered throughout this article already. Get there early, and camp in the shade. Try to stay away from really loud music stages if you are like me and would rather a bit more quiet. Try and visit everything at least once; make it your mission! Do 5 or 7 days; even if you don’t think you can do it. You can. At Sziget, you chill a lot more, and have more down time. You do watch Awolnation at 4pm, but from a blanket at the back rather than all sweaty and crazy in the front row.
You’ll learn when to take it easy and chill at the beach, and when to go hard and dance your heart out. I think this whole experience is worth the 7 days and experiencing fully. You can go in and out, so if you need a supermarket or a break, it is always possible. Sziget really is a lifestyle – I would honestly go even if there were no headliners at all. There is THAT much cool stuff to do! I often missed all the really cool nighttime shows and parties to watch headliners. But after the fact, I honestly wish that at least one night I hadn’t. Anyway, it really is the best festival ever (if this Sziget review hasn’t made that clear already), and worth a go for anyone. 🙂
MORE SZIGET FESTIVAL REVIEW PHOTOS!
Some more art installations throughout the island
Sound Art Tent with creative instruments
All sorts of market stalls to shop in
A strange man with one of those little instruments you put in your mouth that makes squeaky sounds. He was pretending to play that violin and interacting with people in high pitched gibberish while sitting in this wooden enclosure in the Hungarikum Village. I have no idea. Who thinks of these things?
I don’t know who thinks of these things either.
A guy pulling around another guy riding this strange bike – instrument contraption.
Hungarian Dance Party.
Another Image from the amazing Giant Street Theatre experience. Yes, that’s a human going through that tube.
They had dogs to pet at the Ability Park 🙂
And, repping my home state as always!
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