Press conference: Gerendai Károly standing

Sziget 2010: a special EU presidency location

One of the Belgian EU presidency summer event locations will be Sziget festival this year. Károly Gerendai is pleased with the cooperation. The invitation for partnership means, they count with the Sziget festival in Europe.

“The programs of the Main stage are fixed in more than 100% while at the World music stage everything is fixed already” announced Károly Gerendai main organizer of Sziget festival at the press conference on May 13. The managing director also said that this year’s festival will not only be unforgettable due to the world-class performers but a program series of the EU will be held on the Sziget as well. “This is very good news, because with this cooperation, it is proven again that they are counting with us, paying attention to us in Europe!”

During the present EU presidency trio, three countries work together for a half-half year: first Spain, then from July Belgium and Hungary last but not least from 2011 January. Many cultural partnerships are being formed during the trio presidency, one testimony of this is the cooperation with Sziget, more precisely the EU Trio focus program-series at the festival. Sziget will give more opportunities for performers coming from Spain and Belgium. They will be highlighted among other programs and will have the opportunities to participate in international performances too. Another focus project of the EU trio focus will concentrate on Hungary and its forthcoming presidency – which the programs aim to highlight for foreign and Hungarian young people.

Olivier Alsteens, the outdoor communicational director of the Presidential Office in Belgium participated at the press conference too. “I am here on behalf of the three countries. We are working together on common priorities for the EU, we represent the values and need to promote the achievements of the EU institutions. We had to find a way to transfer the messages so we put up a question: young people are flexible and mobile, travel a lot, they can be our message takers. This is why Hungarian Sziget festival came into our minds. Although it is not held in Belgium but in Hungary, it is one of Europe’s most visited summer festivals. We are going to have the possibility here to reach many thousands of people.

“By the help of the EU presidency and by their cooperation with Sziget, we can transfer knowledge that we had never had the possibility to” continued Tamás Szûcs, the President of the Hungarian Representation at the European Commission. “Young people are one of the main targets of the communication strategy, this is why Sziget is an ideal place for the representation.”

“We build a two-storey high building for presenting the EU trio. There will be a bar at the ground floor, with trio music and gastronomic specialties from Spain and Belgium. And after dusk, European DJs will mix multicultural rhythms till dawn.” Program manager Fruzsina Szép went into details. “This will be a special ‘European meeting point’. It will entertain people and also will give information about the EU institutions and programs too” continued Szûcs.

Another popular venue amongst foreign and Hungarian students is the Hungaricum village which is held for the second time in 2010. The village present the treasures of Hungarian culture by the help of folk art, folk music and dancing, handcrafts and gastronomic delights. This year the thematic topic is going to be the harvest and bread.
By daytime, visitors get acquainted with the procedure of harvesting, with the different stages of handling the wheat till it becomes flour. There will be a market too where gastronomy lovers will be able to buy wine, palinka, mangalica pig sausages, cheese and other Hungarian gastronomy specialties. One can also try baking Hungarian pastry products such as pogácsa, kalácc, bread… Others can try painting Hungarian folk motives and play with folk games. On Saturday, one can buy handicraft products at the market, such as boots, dresses, shirts, textiles, baskets. Sunday awaits people with an ecumenical mass.

This year Sziget organizers also focus on a new topic: the theme of fresh water, drinking water, natural water in ecological, biological, energetic and cultural historic aspect. They also set up a new location called H2O. Organizers would like to make people pay attention on the significance of fresh water, the reduction of the world’s water supply and the ecologically conscious behavior. The focus this year is on the Danube and on the world-famous thermal and medicinal waters of Hungary.
Creative installations, interactive water games are awaiting the festival-goers behind the Main stage. One will also be able to quench one’s thirst by drinking a glass of water in the water-bar.

Besides well-known former performers such as the Muse, Iron Maiden, Faithless, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Kasabian, new bands are queuing up at the Main Stage, such as the Madness, or Johnny Rotten’s formation (after the Pistols) the Public Image Limited
Some of the greatest performers of World Music stage will be the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club® featuring Omara Portuondo, Oi-Va-Voi, Tony Allen and Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar. Upcoming new rising stars among others are Amparo Sanchez, 08001 or one of Belgium’s great vocals, Jaune Toujours.

For further detailed programs click to the Sziget website!

Dorottya Vannai

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