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Sziget Festival

Coordinates: 47°33′14″N 19°03′18″E / 47.55389°N 19.05500°E / 47.55389; 19.05500
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Sziget Festival
GenreRock · alternative rock · psychedelic rock · punk rock · heavy metal · pop · synthpop · reggae · hip hop · indie · world · electronic
DatesSeven days, usually starting in the first week of August
Location(s)Budapest, Hungary
Years active1993–present
FoundersMüller Péter Sziámi, Károly Gerendai and others
Attendance530,000 (2019)[1]

The Sziget Festival (Hungarian: Sziget Fesztivál, pronounced [ˈsiɡɛt ˈfɛstivaːl]; "Sziget" 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.[3] It also has a dedicated "party train" service (with resident DJs) that transports festival-goers from all over Europe.[4] The second event (1994), labelled Eurowoodstock, was headlined by performers from the original Woodstock festival. By 1997, total attendance exceeded 250,000, and by 2001 reached 360,000.[5] In 2018 that record was broken when 565,000 visitors attended the festival.[6] Since the mid-2000s, Sziget Festival has been increasingly labelled 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").[7]

In 2011, Sziget was ranked one of the 5 best festivals in Europe by The Independent.[8] The festival is a two-time winner at the European Festivals Awards in the category Best Major European Festival, in 2011 and 2014.[9]

In 2002, Sziget branched out to Transylvania when its organisers co-created a new annual festival there titled Félsziget Fesztivál (Romanian: Festivalul Peninsula) that soon became the largest of its kind in Romania.[10] In 2007, the organisers co-created Balaton Sound, an electronic music festival held on the southern bank of Lake Balaton that quickly gained popularity.


Sziget 2003

Following the end of the Communist era in 1989, the formerly lively summer festival scene in Budapest faced a crisis due to a sudden loss of governmental funding. A group of artists and rock enthusiasts proposed the Sziget event as a way to bridge this gap. The festival was started in 1993, originally called Diáksziget (Student Island). This 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. It has been called Sziget Fesztivál ("island festival") since 2002.

A comprehensive survey was done and published on the risktaking behaviour and mood of Sziget visitors (2007) by the National Institute for Health Promotion (OEI). The survey revealed amongst others that the last sexual encounter of 9.4% of its participants was unprotected.[11]

Iggy Pop and folks on main stage, 2006
Sziget 2003 main stage

Sziget Festival is notable in that it contains acts from many different genres. 2006 saw, among others, a blues stage, a jazz tent, a world music stage, alongside the main stage with more typical popular rock acts.

The festival is popular with west Europeans. Around 50% of visitors come from outside Hungary, with the largest group coming from the Netherlands. Many also come from Belgium, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland and Romania.

Being located on an island, some festival goers have tried to enter by swimming across the Danube or by paddling across in inflatable rafts. The organisers very much discourage these attempts as it is dangerous due to the tricky nature of the fast-flowing Danube river.


Sziget 2008

In 2008, Sziget Festival lasted from 11 to 18 August. The festival, instead of 7+1 days as in 2007, was 5+2 days long, with a "zeroeth day" that featured one major gig (Iron Maiden)[12] and a special "minus first day" called "Day of Hungarian Songs" that headlined a number of popular Hungarian rock bands (including LGT and Beatrice). As well as Iron Maiden, R.E.M.,[13] Mass Hysteria, Babyshambles, Sex Pistols, Jamiroquai, Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Alanis Morissette, the Killers, the Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs, the Cribs, Speak and many other were also confirmed, the day of their performance is available at the Sziget website. The length of the festival was reduced so that the residents living in the neighborhoods nearby would have less trouble because of the noise. The organizers plan to take further steps to reduce noise: the metal stage will be open until 11 pm only and noise filtering walls will be built near the noisiest stages.[14]


Sziget 2009 was 10–17 August 2009. The festival had a 5+2 day schedule again. The "zeroeth day" had a Rock Against Racism concert, featuring mostly Hungarian bands. The "minus first day" had one major gig again, this time the 20th anniversary concert of Hungarian rock band Tankcsapda.

The Lineup:

Main Stage

IAMX, Nouvelle Vague, Ska-P, Snow Patrol, Lily Allen, Miss Platnum, The Ting Tings, Die Toten Hosen, Bloc Party, Fatboy Slim, Haydamaky, Jet, Primal Scream, Pendulum, The Prodigy, The Subways, Editors, Klaxons, Manic Street Preachers, Placebo, Disco Ensemble, Danko Jones, Maxïmo Park, The Offspring, Faith No More

World Music Main Stage

So Kalmery, Napra, Oi Va Voi, Calexico, 08001, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, Figli Di Madre Ignota, Zamballarana, Amadou & Mariam Speed Caravan, Woven Hand & Muzsikás, N&SK, Khaled, Vieux Farka Touré, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Brotherhood of Brass: Boban Marković Orkestar + Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars

A38-WAN2 Stage:

Blasted Mechanism, De Staat, La Troba Kung-Fú, Matatu, Miloopa, Muchachito Bombo Infierno, Squarepusher, Tricky, White Lies, Babylon Circus

  • White Lies' performance of "The Power and the Glory" from Sziget Festival was later used as the music video for the song.

Rock Stage:

Backyard Babies, Brujeria, Deathstars, Donots, Expatriate, Life of Agony, Satyricon, Turbonegro, Turisas

Party Arena:

Armin van Buuren, Birdy Nam Nam, Coldcut, Dillinja, Eric Prydz, Grooverider, Jose Padilla, Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, 808 State



Prince, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Prodigy, Pulp, Chemical Brothers, White Lies, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Dizzee Rascal, Interpol, Flogging Molly, Kate Nash, British Sea Power, Skunk Anansie, Gogol Bordello, La Roux, Rise Against, The National, Hadouken!, Good Charlotte, Batucada Sound Machine.

Worldmusic Stage[edit]

AfroCubism, Rotfront, Ojos de Brujo, Gotan Project, Eliades Ochoa, Hurlements d’Leo, Debout Sur Le Zinc, Goran Bregovic Wedding & Funeral Band and Shtetl Super Stars.

Party Arena[edit]

Crystal Castles, 2 Many DJ's, Empire of the Sun, Goose (Belgian band) and Zombie Nation.

Europe Stage[edit]

Söhne Mannheims, Verdena, Go Back to the Zoo and Triggerfinger.

A38/Wan2 Stage[edit]

De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig, Baskerville, DeWolff, Kees van Hondt, Selah Sue, Marina and the Diamonds, Bloody Beetroots, Death Crew 77 and Hurts.

Metal Mainstage[edit]

Deftones, Lostprophets, Within Temptation, Sonata Arctica, Judas Priest and Motörhead.



Monday, August 11: Ivan & The Parazol, Leningrad, The 1975, Tankcsapda, Blink-182

Tuesday, August 12: Anti-Flag, Ska-P, Queens of the Stone Age, Deadmau5

Wednesday, August 13: Jake Bugg, Imagine Dragons, Placebo, Skrillex

Thursday, August 14: Mary PopKids, Bastille, Lily Allen, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Friday, August 15: Die Fantastischen Vier, CeeLo Green, Manic Street Preachers, Korn

Saturday, August 16: Bombay Bicycle Club, Punnany Massif, Madness, The Prodigy

Sunday, August 17: Triggerfinger, The Kooks, Outkast, Calvin Harris

A38 Stage[edit]

Tuesday, August 12: Brody Dalle, A Day to Remember, Casper, Jimmy Eat World, The Bloody Beetroots, Deniz Koyu, Thomas Gold (DJ), Sikztah

Wednesday, August 13: Girls in Hawaii, The Big Pink, Tom Odell, Miles Kane, Clean Bandit, R3hab, Madeon, Andro

Thursday, August 14: Michael Kiwanuka, Fink, Irie Maffia, Bonobo (musician), Stromae, Kavinsky (Outrun Live), Axwell, Muzzaik

Friday, August 15: Palma Violets, Band of Skulls, Angel Haze, Kelis, Klaxons, Sandro Silva, Laidback Luke, Dave Martin

Saturday, August 16: Starlight Girls, The BossHoss, Jagwar Ma, Wild Beasts, Crystal Fighters, Quentin Mosimann, Fedde le Grand, Julia Carpenter

Sunday, August 17: INVSN, Mount Kimbie, NOFX, La Roux, Darkside, DJAIKOVSKI ft. TK Wonder & MC Wasp, Ian Autorun, Borgore, Black Sun Empire, Jade


Sziget 2003 chill-out tent

Dr. Tamas Derce, the mayor of Újpest, the 4th district of Budapest, has sued Sziget Festival, claiming that the event is so loud the locals cannot sleep at night. The mayor wants to force the organisers by court decision to cease every program between 6 pm and 10 am - which virtually means closing down the festival. The mayor already lost a similar case against Sziget at court in 2002.[15] The organizers of the 2008 festival promised local officials that the main stage will shut down at 11 pm and no music on that stage will be played after that. For this reason the Iron Maiden concert was taken from its original starting time of 9:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

Previous years[edit]

Year Name Visitors[a] Main artists
1993 Diáksziget '93 43,000 Hungarian artists only
1994 Diáksziget '94
1995 Diáksziget '95 173,000
1996 Pepsi Sziget 1996 206,000
1997 Pepsi Sziget 1997 260,000
1998 Pepsi Sziget 1998 268,000
1999 Pepsi Sziget 1999 297,000
2000 Pepsi Sziget 2000 324,000
2001 Pepsi Sziget 2001 365,000
2002 Sziget 2002 355,000
2003 Sziget 2003 361,000
2004 Sziget 2004 369,000
2005 Sziget 2005 385,000
2006 Sziget 2006 385,000
2007 Sziget Festival 2007 371,000
2008 Sziget Festival 2008 385,000
2009 Sziget Festival 2009 390,000
2010 Sziget Festival 2010 382,000
2011 Sziget Festival 2011 385,000
2012 Sziget Festival 2012 379,000[16]
2013 Sziget Festival 2013 362,000[17]
2014 Sziget Festival 2014 415,000[18]
2015 Sziget Festival 2015 441,000[19]
2016 Sziget Festival 2016 496,000[20]
2017 Sziget Festival 2017[23] 452,000[24]
2018 Sziget Festival 2018 565,000[25]
2019 Sziget Festival 2019 530,000[1]
2020 cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic[26]
2021 cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic[26]
2022 Sziget Festival 2022 452,000[27]

Other activities[edit]

In addition to music, the festival offers a plethora of other activities including cinema, dance, theatre, tattooing, Internet access, volleyball, tennis, football, indoor rowing, rock climbing, bungee jumping and a life-sized foosball.

The island is located in the city of Budapest allowing trips to the city centre during the day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ all days combined


  1. ^ a b "Sziget Festival Draws 530,000 Visitors". 14 August 2019.
  2. ^ Yorke, Ana (2022-07-27). "Sziget Festival 2022 Is Back With Joyful Exuberance". Popmatters. Retrieved 2023-08-09.
  3. ^ "Latest Singapore and International News on xinmsn News". News.sg.msn.com. 2014-06-12. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  4. ^ "Állami támogatást kér a Sziget" [Calls for state aid to island] (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 11 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Sziget Festival sees record attendance of 441,000". Budapest Business Journal.
  6. ^ "Sziget 2018: 9 Millionth Visitor, Record Number of Festival Goers and Last Concerts in the Rain". Hungary Today. 2018-08-15. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  7. ^ "Index - Kult - Mikor égetnek már óriási bábukat a Szigeten?". Index.hu. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  8. ^ "Index - Kultúr - A Sziget az öt legjobb fesztivál között van". Index.hu. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  9. ^ "Sziget=Best Major European Festival". szigetfestival.com. 2015-01-15. Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  10. ^ "Félsziget - Peninsula 2014". Felsziget.ro. Archived from the original on 2017-08-03. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  11. ^ "Sziget elemzés-SOI, szenzoros élménykeresés" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  12. ^ "Iron Maiden confirmed to headline Sziget Festival's Zero Day!". Sziget.hu. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  13. ^ "R.E.M. to perform on Sziget with new album". Sziget.hu. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  14. ^ "Rövidebb, jobb és nem drágább" [Shorter, better, and not expensive] (in Hungarian). Sziget-hu. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007.
  15. ^ "Zárjon be a Sziget este 10-kor?!" [Shut off the Island at 10 pm ?!] (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 19 December 2007.
  16. ^ "Sziget Festival Vlaanderen". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26.
  17. ^ "Sziget Festival - News". Sziget.hu. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  18. ^ "Sziget Festival - News". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  19. ^ "Sziget 2015 - 441 ezer látogató idén, dátum jövőre!". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  20. ^ "Rekordot döntött a Sziget, félmillióan jártak a fesztiválon". 17 August 2016.
  21. ^ "Fijne feestdagen met nieuwe acts voor #Sziget2016!". nl.szigetfestival.com (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  22. ^ "First names for Sziget 2016". en.szigetfestival.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  23. ^ "Sziget Festival 2017 line-up and rumours". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  24. ^ "Sziget 2017 - 452 ezer látogató érkezett a jubileumra, itt a jövő évi dátum! - Élményem.hu".
  25. ^ "Sziget 2018 - masszív látogatórekord, az első 2019-es headliner már szeptemberben jöhet! - Élményem.hu".
  26. ^ a b "#SZIGET2020 – the Island of Freedom". szigetfestival.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Sziget Festival Draws around 450,000 Revelers – PHOTOS". 16 August 2022. Archived from the original on 28 December 2022.
  28. ^ "Jövőre is Magyar Sziget!" [Hungarian Sziget next year!] (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 31 August 2003.

External links[edit]

47°33′14″N 19°03′18″E / 47.55389°N 19.05500°E / 47.55389; 19.05500