At nearly three times the attendance of Glastonbury (575,000) Sziget is overwhelmingly large in scale, but matched in stature by its sense of occasion.
What: Sziget Festival
Where: Óbudai-sziget, Budapest
Attendance: Around 565,000
Dates: 7-13 August 2019
Access attended the event with Hungexpo – our chosen method of transport being a manned boat, setting off from central Pest. Many other entry methods are available, with almost half of all visitors coming from outside Hungary and choosing to arrive on a dedicated ‘party train’ service (with resident DJs).
The festival started in 1993, hailing from an underground student movement. Originally called Diáksziget (Student Island), the first event was organised by music fans in their spare time and ran well over budget, taking until 1997 to repay the losses. From 1996 to 2001 it was sponsored by Pepsi and renamed Pepsi Sziget.
The festival still has a heavily sponsored element, with Mercedes-Benz taking over areas including the VIP section. This no doubt helps fund an impressive line-up, that this year featured Foo Fighters, The National, Martin Garrix, Post Malone and Florence and the Machine.
A wealth of nearby hotels are reasonably priced by UK standards. Top of Access’ tip list is the occult-themed Mystery Hotel (pictured below) and the warm, homely feeling Kempinski Hotel. Elsewhere, the Budapest Marriott also impressed with its bold, brutalist stylings, and high-end service. All these properties are near the Danube on the Pest side of town and offer extensive opportunities for groups, with meetings and event facilities.