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Sziget 2011 starts today

Budapest's Sziget Festival, one of Europe's most popular outdoor musical and cultural events kicks off today with Day Zero. The festival’s Main Stage will host the 7-time Grammy winner American pop-icon Prince.

During the following days, the 18th year's program line-up will include Kasabian, Pulp, Interpol, The Chemical Brothers and the National. The world music program will feature Goran Bregovic, AfroCubism, Gotan Project, Oi Va Voi and Cowboy Junkies. Gerendai said the big stage will get a face-lift this year and a new Europe stage will give home to bands that are already well-known in their home countries but not yet internationally. Some of these bands are the Dutch Go Back to the Zoo, the Belgian Triggerfinger or the German Sohne Mennheims. The rock-metal scene will welcome Judas Priest, Motorhead, Within Temptation and Deftones. The pre-festival day will feature a Hungarian band from the eighties, Elsõ Emelet, whose founding drummer, Michel, will return to the stage after twenty years.

Other oldtimer Hungarian bands like LGT and Illés as well as Kispál és a Borz and Tankcsapda will do a gig. Fruzsina Szép, the event's program director, said the Roma tent will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with lots of Central European music to fit this year's theme and the Sziget Paradise zone will be built around the theme of love and human relationships.

The preparations

On the 76 hectar area of Óbudai Sziget 6000 people have built up the festival-town in 15 days. The main routes of Sziget now have plastic pavements, delivered by 12 trucks, and the tents have a wooden floor of 25 000 square meters. Some ways are even covered by ’metal carpet’ in order to make them completely stable and undestroyable. As a whole, 180 trucks have delivered containers to the event, among them 215 offices, warehouse containers, dressing rooms, lockers and so on. Twenty-five trucks have delivered fences and cordons and a further 5 trucks have been packed with cabels and cabinets. The containers with running water have been distributed to five central points now, each of them with 45-50 floodlit toilets and constant cleaning. With all the mobile units, a total of 1500-1600 toilets are available for Sziget fans. The lighting system has also been improved: besides the already existing 3 km long constant lighting, organizers have ordered floodlights to make sure you find your way by night.

The festival goes high-tech with top internet and mobile phone services. Ticket prices remain level with last year's.

Réka Alíz Francisck

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