Tired of festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo? We get it — the lineups are usually great but the massive crowds aren’t. With festivals in the states so commercialized, more and more events abroad are catching our eye, and Sziget Festival is one of them. With a week of solid performances that range from psychedelic rock to synthpop, Sziget Fest is definitely a Coachella or Bonaroo competitor. It also helps that it's set in the beautiful countryside of Budapest, Hungary. From August 9 to 16, artists like Flume, The Chainsmokers, Glass Animals, Pink, and Macklemore take the stage for this year’s 25th anniversary festival, and we’ve put together the perfect inside guide.
How to Get There
Located on the beautiful island of Obuda (or Island of Freedom during the week of Sziget Festival) in the heart of Budapest, Sziget Festival is like no other. And because it's so centrally located, it's pretty easy to get to. Whether you’re flying in via Budapest’s International Airport, Frenec Liszt, or you decide to drive in from a closer distance, you won’t have to go far once you reach the city. There's also plenty of public transit that can take festival goers to the Island of Freedom, and if you decide to go this route we recommend you purchase the Sziget-Budapest CityPass, which costs roughly 33 euros for 13 days. This includes full use of Budapest’s public transit system, and even comes with discounted entry into the thermal baths, pool complexes, and museums scattered across Budapest. Yeah, somehow having a bus pass just got cool.
Where to Stay
Unlike Coachella, Sziget is located in the heart of Budapest, so if you’re not a huge fan of camping you have a wide range of hotels and Airbnbs to choose from. Although if you do decide to stay at a hotel, we recommend you check the distance and public transit connections (the city can become quite hectic during the week of the Festival). If camping is, in fact, up your alley, then there are plenty of options for you too. The basic camping sites offer shower and toilet facilities, and the upgraded camping sites offer Wi-Fi Hotspots, guarded lockers, 24/7 reception, and pre-pitched tents. If you really want to enjoy the Festival atmosphere in luxury, Sziget Festival also has Glamping sites that include your own wooden cottage, equipped with mattresses, lights, power outlets and all the other amenities of home.
Which Artists to Catch
Just because Sziget Festival takes place in Hungary doesn't mean there will only be a selection of Hungarian artists. As we mentioned in the intro, Sziget Festival has a wide range of live music to check out. After all, P!NK opens the Festival on Wednesday. More huge artists like Wiz Khalifa and Alex Clare will be on stage Thursday, and on Sunday up and coming hitters like The Chainsmokers and The Naked and Famous will be performing. These are just a few of some of the artists that will be playing at Sziget Festival, so you can head over to their site to check out the full lineup.
What to Eat
While the official vendor listing is not yet posted online, Sziget Festival is expected to have numerous street food stalls that will definitely take care of whatever you're craving. If you’re vegetarian or have a gluten allergy, don’t worry, there will be plenty of options for you. Also, don’t worry about struggling to find a solid buzz — Sziget will not have a shortage of places selling beer and other alcoholic beverages.
What to Pack
Depending on how you get to Sziget Fest and where you plan to stay, your packing strategy is bound to vary. For the average Fest-goer, we recommend you bring your voucher (your passport if you’re from out of the country), a proper hat, sunglasses, a rain coat, warm clothes, plenty of sun tan lotion, and of course a bathing suit. Campers should expect to bring their own camping gear, and everything else you’ll need to be comfortable staying outside. Also if you forget something, don’t panic. There is a camping store on site where you can buy anything you’ll ever need.
What VIP Gets You
Unlike most Festivals, Sziget Fest doesn’t have a VIP ticket option. While everyone can stay at the VIP camping locations, not everyone can be what Sziget Fest calls a Szitizen Prime. Prime members are the first inhabitants of the Island of Freedom. In order to do so, you’ll need to purchase a 7-Day or 5-Day Festival Pass in the first 25 hours of ticket sales. With a Prime Package, ‘Szitizens’ are given a limited edition Sziget T-Shirt, a pair of Szitizen Prime socks, a Sziget Patch, and a plethora of other goodies. As well as being an exclusive ‘Szitizen’, purchasers are automatically entered in a draw to receive the Szitizen Prime VIP Package. This winner of this special package is given: the ability to view one concert from the Front of House tower, exclusive backstage tours, a one-time dinner from backstage catering, a Citypass for 13 days, and an exclusive Sziget watch. While it is too late to become a Szitizen now, there is still an equal opportunity for next year.
Ready to get in the festival mood? Check out our Coachella coverage.