First day arrivals at Sziget 2014 | Balazs Mohai / MTI

Sziget festival kicks off in Budapest

August 11, 2014

One of Europe's biggest cultural - and mainly music - festival, the Sziget Festival on Óbuda island (hence the name) on the River Danube opened its gates this Monday. We have for you a preview by a Dutch journalist, Maria Douwes.

For the 22nd time, the annual Sziget
Festival in Budapest opens its doors to the public and welcomes about
400,000 visitors from all over the world. Besides world famous artists like The
Prodigy, Lily Allen and Placebo, a lot of bands that play are already well
known in their own country and will make a leap to European fame at Sziget. Sziget attracts young music lovers and music makers
from all around the globe. More than one thousand bands will play from the
world all over. Sziget is big business!

Marketing & Customer Loyalty

Sziget Festival has a website in 19 languages with over 268.000 likes. The
organization stays in touch with its visitors all year round. ‘Mission
Szitizen’ is a game people can play to win a VIP dinner, a backstage tour and a
main stage selfie. In The Netherlands, bands have been battling in a contest
for several years to win a gig on the Talent
Stage at Sziget. Another contest is meant for musicians who would like to win a
gig on the Camp Fire Stage. So visitors can become artists.

What’s on the 2014 menu?

Every thinkable style of music
will be played: rock, dance, world-music, punk, electro, funk, folk-rock, blues
and classical music on the 60 stages. But Sziget is more: you can watch
theater, film and art, be active in sports and take a swim, eat something new
and different in countless restaurants, buy your own food in shops, have a
drink in one of the colorful bars or tearooms, take part in a capoeira lesson, massage class, spiritual workshop or look at
demonstrations of Hungarian crafts.

The Dutch are well represented

A relatively
large number of Dutch visitors, approximately 18.000, will attend Sziget this
year. One of them, Thijs Lanspauch (26), who has been attending since 2006,
explains why: “The thing that makes Sziget so special is
its size and the location on the Óbuda Island in the Danube. You can abandon
your normal life for a while and at the same time, you can walk around in
Budapest within 15 minutes.” His friend Marco adds: “After I’d been to Sziget,
Dutch festivals lost their magic”. For Noémi Zaalberg, it’s the combination of
good weather, good music and good food. “You see big pots hanging over a fire
on a tripod, you see stone ovens and there are delicious smells. There’s a
field for juggling, there’s a car wash for people, and you see the Hare Krishna
offering free food. The atmosphere is just great! And if somebody is annoying
other people, (s)he is removed from the island instantly. And that makes you
feel safe, as well,” she concludes.

Bus, Train, Car, Plane

From three different towns
in The Netherlands, Zwolle, Enschede and Eindhoven, countless buses will
transport thousands of festival visitors bringing them directly to Sziget.
Three direct trains to Budapest will leave from Utrecht with 2,700 people on
board. The Roadtrip is a six day rally leaving from Twente airport in Enschede
to Sziget Festival this year. A race on the Nürnburgring, Urban Street Golf, a
party night, challenges and obstacles are on the program. And, of course, there
are plenty of planes leaving from five different airports in The Netherlands to


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