Sziget is proud to be more than a music festival. Euronews Culture investigates and gives you the lowdown.
Following our Sziget Festival preview, Euronews Culture is on sight to recommend several unmissable events and activities happening around the main stages.
Sziget festival came back strong this year, after a two-year break. The music festival had a full house on Day 1 with 95,000 visitors, and the festivities are far from over.
It’s easy to get lost in the embarrassment of riches, with thousands of events over only 6 days, so Euronews Culture has picked some of the scenes, venues and events which give Sziget a unique multicultural flavour.
Performances you can bump into
Every year, there are some performers you can literally run into at the festival.
This year, a favourite walkabout event is Afuma from Togo. It’s a group of stilt-walkers accompanied by percussive sounds. They dance, high-five other artists, and pretend to lose their balance.
They can be found at the Global Village, which is one of the hot spots when it comes to discovering new artists.
A top encounter from this stage was Pegatina in 2013, a ska and Catalan Rumba music group from Barcelona; they played on one of the warmest afternoons but made hundreds of people dance, jump and sing in the 40 degree heat.
So far this year, a standout has been opening act Xurxo Fernandes & Pan Sen Fron, from Galicia; the dancers joined the public and shared their dance moves with the audience.
Another highlight has been Terre Livre, coming from Portugal to share an important message. They use music to fight for the protection of the planet, sustainable agriculture and a more responsible approach.
From the walkabout acts, Chalaang Drummers of India have been a must-see, as they kicked off a spontaneous dance party with the Sacred Cows - two huge cattle-shaped machines that were given some fresh grass by several caring festival-goers.
In the coming days, look out for Delinus, the smallest taxi-van you’ll ever see.
The protection of the environment is a crucial theme during the festival.
Every year, the organisers try to find ways to minimize the event’s ecological footprint. To achieve this, they introduced reusable cups in 2018. They also help all the catering units in selective waste collection.
Of course, there are more and more initiatives to encourage the participants of the festival to be greener, with straw-free drinks or initiatives to save water. The watering cars on the festival trying to fix (or at least improve) the dust issue use water taken directly from the river Danube.
This year, Sziget has invited guests taking a plane to Budapest to join the festival’s carbon compensation program. And the campers are invited to take a vow to clean up any waste before they leave the site.
Vietnam National Water Puppet Theatre
One major recommendation for this year's edition is the magical and unique performance of the Vietnam National Water Puppet Theatre. Audiences can’t seem to decide if they want to understand the secret mechanics of their puppetry or just be swept away by the magic of the show.
They have two shows every day (at 16:20 and 21:15) and it’s so much more than just puppets in a pool of water. The experience is heightened by traditional Vietnamese live music and dance.
The Travelling Funfair is a perfect spot to kill some time between two concerts.
The little Ferris wheel is ideal for anyone with a fear of heights.
There are also small games to play and the Magik Show of Balázs Kiss should be a priority. Not only a great magician and illusionist, Balázs Kiss is a genuinely funny performer, and his act has been gracing Sziget for several years now.
Best spots to chill
Six days can feel like a long stretch and being at a festival can be exhausting at times.
Sziget knows this and offers two spots where you can recharge your batteries before the evening line-up kicks off.
The first is Sziget Beach. Since the festival is located on an island, people crave a dip in the river. Visitors can enjoy the sunshine, cool their feet in the Danube, and, to avoid any mishaps, the deeper end is fenced off to discourage any adventurous swimmers. Sziget Beach also offers activities for those who would like to “recharge mentally” with yoga and sound healing sessions.
The second area that offers respite from lively festival antics is the Art Zone, which welcomes people every day from noon until 8pm, with workshops, installations and interactive exhibitions.
You can craft small gifts from recycled wood, create your own festival bag, play with LEGOs, learn more about East Asian art, and the endless creative possibilities that plastic recycling offers. It’s a great spot to relax while your friends are stretching their creative muscles..
Tent Without Borders
Sziget is also known for their active stances on issues like discrimination, intolerance and migration.
Tent Without Borders is an initiative that opens festival goers’ minds on the past and present plights of refugees with film screenings, discussions, games and workshops. This year, there is an open exhibition dedicated to Ukraine (‘Ukraine: Fleeing and Welcoming’).
Four Ukrainian women from the band Drum Divas are playing this year in front of the tent, and also participate in discussions about the situation of refugees..
Sziget have also invited visitors to donate to Music Saves UA, a non-profit fundraising initiative created by Ukrainian Association of Music Events to provide immediate humanitarian aid for those who need it most.
There will be a special performance on the mainstage by Ukrainian band Kazka on Sunday evening.
Civil Sziget is where you can meet and chat with NGOs.
Big international NGOs are present, like Greenpeace or Red Cross, as well as developing Hungarian organisations.
NANE + Patent discuss relationship and sexual violence, and the Hősök Tere Foundation encourages people to stand up for themselves and for others “to make the Hungarian society a more liveable and supportive one.” As for the Hungarian Nuclear Society, it tries to explain nuclear fusion in an innovative and cheeky way to young people.
Sziget takes place on the “Island of Freedom” and welcomes “Szitizens” from more than a hundred different countries. The 2022 edition closes on Monday 15 August.