Sziget Festival
The line up! The location! The culture!

It’s Hungary’s most famous festival acclaimed for an escapist experience like no other. A festival, holiday and city break combined into one week - yes, that’s right, WEEK of music, booze and the best in international arts and culture, all in the enchanting surroundings of Budapest’s Óbuda Island (the proclaimed ‘Island of Freedom’).

It’s really no wonder most of its punters rave about it and return year on year. But why should you aboard the Sziget ship?

1. It’s a WEEK long!
Just to reiterate, that’s 7 days long. The time it took Craig David to get from a bottle of Moet on a Monday to a chilled Sunday with his new girl (via making love every day on the way).

This is pretty much what Sziget feels like, FYI. Those of us that get that deflated feeling - or post-fest-depression - after returning to normality after a long weekend need not to worry. That feeling can be delayed until you’re so gloriously warn out you can’t imagine a place in the world better than your own bed and a gallon of green tea.

Top tip: give yourself at least a couple of days recovery before returning to work. We speak from experience. (N.B. If you can’t hack a week, three day tickets are still available).

2. Sziget is an entire Island nicknamed the ‘Island of Freedom’
What better way to feel truly transported away from bleak reality than to escape to a literal island. The iconic bridge from the main city of Budapest to the city’s Óbuda Island - the largest of its kind - is the gate to an utopian world. Set your out-of-office at the gate and forget about it.

There are no restrictions on Sziget Island; forget unimaginative colour-named camping areas a marathon from the stage, at Sziget you have the freedom to camp anywhere on the Island; pitch your tent right next to the main stage if you fancy, or away from the basslines in the forest, surrounded by impressive art installations and dreamy light displays.

Camping opposite your favourite Chinese food stall is always a great shout for early morning snackage, by the way. With beachside tiki bars and far better weather than the UK, Sziget is a 2-in-1 holiday festival that will by far trump your Reading imperial-vodka-in-bottle ventures.

3. It’s in the thriving city of Budapest
Festival, holiday escape, but not to forget a city break in one of Europe’s top destinations. If spending a week down and dirty in a tent doesn’t do it for you, a quick ride on the metro takes you to the glorious main city of Budapest and all its cultural offerings alongside accommodation alternatives.

Hostels, hotels and classic Hungarian Air B&Bs are all just a short journey from the festival, Sziget’s city pass providing free travel around the city, as well as discounts to its infamous baths and selective attractions. If the full festival experience is, indeed, your jam, it’s worth pushing through some early morning hangovers to explore the city before the music starts. If you can...

4. The line-up is ridiculous
If there's anything key to take out of this year’s Sziget Festival, is that it’s line-up is CRAZY GOOD. From pop royalty Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey to long-time favourites Gorillaz and Arctic Monkeys, not to forget Sir Kendrick Lamar. Sziget is famed for its versatile line-up year on year, featuring the best in new music alongside big names across a whole host of genres. Check out Shame, SG Lewis and Ben UFO alongside the likes of Stormzy, Wolf Alice and Kaleo.

Championing the best in music from the UK, US and far beyond - an opportunity to enjoy some of the most exciting artists from eastern Europe and Scandinavia - it really is an international celebration of everyone’s favourite art form. Punters tip: Arctic Monkeys will be incredible, but head to the tribute act stage afterward for guaranteed fun; nothing can beat belting out various guilty pleasures with a crowd of assorted first-languages.

5. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream
We would be all ‘leave your phone behind’ and everything, but the whole festival is so madly Instagrammable it would be almost rude not to take a few snaps for the ‘gram. Littered between stages, attractions and tents are spectacular installations waiting to be discovered. Colourful sculptures, unique art projects and innovative visuals are all part of Sziget’s Art of Freedom, a collection of works by young creative minds transforming the island into its own fantasical nation of hedonist celebration, which promotes further its world of music and dancing.

6. This year’s ‘Love Revolution’ theme
This year - more than ever - Sziget is all about that four letter word. Love. The festival talks of its global family of ‘Szitizens’ coming together to support causes that could help our planet become a better place. These include sustainability and environmental protection, human rights, promotion of a peaceful, anti-nuclear world and the creation of an environment which completely eliminates sexual, religious or ethnic discrimination.

Attending Sziget is attending more than just a festival, but a communal event towards a better future. There’s much more to get involved in than the music!

7. You’ll make the best friends
Sziget is very much an international festival and the place to be if you’re all about meeting friendly, open-minded creatives from all over Europe and the world. Enjoy with your pals from home, but don’t be afraid to go alone! The aura at Sziget is nothing like anything you’ve experience at a Brit festival; round every bend, stage or bar are new pals, awaiting your stories of music from your part of the world.

The alcohol is so cheap - a ‘large wine’ is often served in a pint, and a beer will only set you back a couple of euros - you’re bound to make some boozy buds. Sziget is not only about the music, but how it bring us together - back to basics.

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Sziget Festival takes place August 8th - 15th in Budapest, Hungry. Grab your tickets before they sell out, here. We’ll see you on the Island!

Words: Alice Mortimer

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