You might have noticed that there was a little festival called Glastonbury happening in a field (or several dozen) in England over the weekend. Perhaps you were disappointed that you weren’t there – and who could blame you? Watching it on the TV might have got your blood pumping for some festival action over the next couple of months – and where better than the Michael Eavis-approved Sziget Festival in Budapest? The 21st edition of this internationally-renowned festival is taking place between the 5-12 of August 2013.
For those unfamiliar with the festival, it takes place on Óbudai Island (or Óbudaisziget – the festival gets its name from the Hungarian word for ‘Island’), which is situated in the middle of the Danube river that runs through the middle of Budapest. You may have heard about the recent flooding that has been wreaking havoc along the Danube, but fortunately for this year’s festival-goers, a crew of workers and volunteers have been working tirelessly to protect the island and ensure the festival can go ahead. So, with that piece of good news in hand, what’s in store for you if you make a trip to the place they call the ‘Island Of Freedom’?
First off, the weather is pretty much guaranteed to be great in Hungary during early August, so you can leave your waterproof at home and pack some shades and sunscreen instead. Secondly, the festival takes place on a massive scale, literally taking over the entire island. There are dozens of stages covering all sorts of music from across the world, as well as many non-musical forms of entertainment – theatre, circus performances, and even the ‘Sziget Eye’, a giant wheel that provides panoramic views across the island and the rest of Budapest. Soundsphere editor Dom Smith has had the pleasure of visiting the festival for the last couple of years, and his reports make for envy-inducing reading – check out what he thought about last year’s festival, as well as the 2011 edition.
That’s all well and good, you may say. But why should I get excited about this year’s festival? Here are five good reasons:
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The Australian king of doom-laden rock and his band provided one of the weekend’s most compelling performances at this year’s Glastonbury, making a pretty good case that they should have headlined the whole shebang in the process. At Sziget, however, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds will take their rightful place at the top of the bill, headlining the main stage on Wednesday (7th August).
Former Soundsphere magazine cover stars Enter Shikari are sure to get things off to a lively start with their early set on Saturday (10th August). Their crossover mishmash of rave and rock will almost certainly bring attendees from all corners of the festival to dance, mosh and party together.
The legendary Britpop band are the festival’s biggest draw for indie-rock fans. Blur have once again been firmly on the comeback trail after the phenomenal success of their gig in Hyde Park last year, and they’ll bring their euphoric show to Sziget on Friday night (9th August).
From cult act to stadium-conquering rock stars, Biffy Clyro’s ascendancy has been remarkable. They’re also headlining this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals, but if you’d rather not run the risk of a rain-sodden set, you can catch their headline performance at Sziget on Thursday night (8th August).
Finally, as we like to champion acts from the north, it’d be remiss of us not to give a shout out to Wakefield’s very own The Cribs, who’ll be playing on Sunday (11th August). Throughout their career they’ve proven to be one of the most consistently brilliant and energetic live acts. Johnny Marr may have gone off to do his own thing (after being a member of the band between 2008-2011), but the band were a force to be reckoned with even before he joined – see the tune at the bottom of the page for proof enough.
However, if that’s not quite got you in the mood, fear not, for the line-up has much more to offer. There’s plenty more indie-rock on the bill with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Editors, The Gaslight Anthem, Tame Impala, Peter Bjorn & John, !!! (chk chk chk), The Joy Formidable, Everything Everything, Woodkid, Mystery Jets and The Bots, while fans of Punk and Ska may be tempted by the likes of Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, Die Ärzte, Skunk Anansie and Ska-P. Lovers of electronic music are spoilt for choice, with Chase & Status, Nero, Hadouken!, Noisia, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Katy B, Alex Clare, Boys Noize, Netsky, Gessafelstein and Sebastian Ingrosso all appearing during the week – and that’s not even mentioning the festival’s closing party, which will be soundtracked by David Guetta. Rounding out the bill are a selection of more eclectic bands, from quirky solo artists like Regina Spektor, Emiliana Torrini and Bat For Lashes, to intriguing acts from around the world such as Calexico and the Parov Stelar Band. You can check out the full lineup, get more information and buy tickets at the Sziget Festival website – or alternatively, check out the UK-centric portal at www.szigetfest.co.uk for additional information on travel and accommodation.
Sziget Festival 2013 – An infographic by the team at We Love Budapest