With so many festivals to choose from, one often wonders whether there is room for any more, but it seems that in the world of the festival goers, there really can never be enough. That said, not all quality is the same, so when you find a good one the experience is something to be savoured.
Sziget is one such event. It takes place on an island off Budapest, Hungary, every year in August and has grown over the past twenty years to become one of the most multicultural, enjoyable and friendly festivals on the annual European calendar. The event was born in the 1990s as an alternative to the summer youth camps, whose demise had left nothing in their place. Fortunately two young entrepreneurs could see a brighter future and headed to the island of Obudai to establish an event where young people could come together in a holiday atmosphere and listen to the music that was defining their new reality.
Theatre productions, film screenings and social events ran alongside the bands on the two music stages and the event was an instant success. 43,000 visitors attended the first Sziget festival and its success has seen this number rise closer to half a million in recent years, attracting fans from over 70 countries worldwide to come together in an orgy of cultural celebration.
Sziget takes place over the course of a week and now boasts over 60 venues, with around 200 individuals events taking place each day. The festival attracts major names such as the Stone Roses and Blur, who will be headlining in 2013. It covers a huge range of music genres, from the biggest names in rock, pop and electronic to metal, folk, jazz and blues and even classical, plus a huge range of live plays, films, exhibitions and even a circus.
The heat of the Hungarian summer sunshine makes for a pleasant alternative to the mudbath that is Glastonbury and many festival goers enjoy the chance to wear their summer finery as opposed to the wellies that are de rigueur for most of the UK summer. Thanks to its position close to the centre of Budapest, the accommodation options are vast too. While there is plenty of scope for staying onsite under canvas or in caravans, there is a huge range of hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation, ranging from the basic to the most luxurious.
There are many direct flights daily from all over Europe into Budapest, making this one of the most accessible overseas festivals of the year. Make time to enjoy the charms of this beautiful Hungarian city before you head for home. This is one of the most attractive cities in Europe, with buildings steeped in history, markets and bazaars for the ultimate in bargain hunting and exotic spas for rest and relaxation. Perfection.