The 25th edition of one of Europe's biggest cultural – mainly music and – festivals, the Sziget Festival (also called the ‘Island of Freedom’) on Óbuda Island (hence the name) on the River Danube in the Hungarian capital ended this Tuesday, having had a total number of 452.000 visitors from over a hundred countries attending the seven-day event in August 2017.
Taking over the role of
founder Károly Gerendai, the CEO of Sziget Cultural Management, Tamás Kádár, promises
to have vital changes happening already next year. In a press release by the
festival, he says “the 25th festival is a turning point in Sziget’s life: an
era has ended, where we built a unique and popular multicultural festival,
differentiating it from other festivals with its amazing atmosphere, cultural
diversity, colorful program, high level of services and spectacular visuals. Today,
Sziget is seen as a great leader among other festivals and because of this, we
also have to change, so, we don’t become just one in a million.”
The 25th Sziget hosted less
Szitizens (festival attendees) than last year’s record-breaking numbers, but
still had two sold-out days and more than 450,000 visitors. Kádár thinks that
the turn-out number could be a combination of many factors as the growing
number of Sziget-like festivals and what he terms as “an unlucky line-up this
year.” Regardless of these, he says that a wonderful and peaceful festival
happened during the seven days. It was especially lucky for a girl from
Transylvania who turned out to be Sziget’s 8 millionth visitor: she received a
lifetime Sziget pass from Károly Gerendai.
In 2017, Szitizens arrived
from more than a hundred countries, most of them from The Netherlands, United
Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, but also as remote parts of the world as
Australia or Hong Kong. This year, several Hollywood stars like Ashton Kutcher,
Mila Kunis, Justin Theroux and Luke Evans were spotted at Sziget, as well. Many
performers crossed the ocean only because of their Sziget concert, like Iggy
Azalea, The Chainsmokers or Macklemore, who unfortunately got hospitalized
after the show.
The security system of Sziget
was also a success this year: the check-in system introduced last year is
considered a great way to tackle security issues and many festival organizers
visiting Sziget had a big interest in this new system. The Head of Security also
had positive news, the statistics were 30-40% better than last year.
Sziget Festival will be held between the 8th and 15th of August.