Sziget Festival Prepares For Record Turnout And More

  • 20 Apr 2016 9:02 AM
Sziget Festival Prepares For Record Turnout And More
Sziget is the Island of Freedom and also the winner of the ‘Best European Festival Line-up Award’ in 2015. To live up to its traditions, the festival continues to build its identity upon a very diverse and open-minded program structure, making sure that it is much more than ‘just’ a music festival.

Sziget tickets are selling with record speed this year, so visitors do well to buy their passes as early as possible. This year will bring along some new developments focusing on environmental protection, hygiene, spectacular installations and the quality of services. Sziget Festival takes place in Budapest between 10-17 August, 2016.

Last year's Sziget week hosted altogether 441 thousand people. Not only Szitizens, but the industry, artists and press reflected to #sziget2015 as the best Sziget so far. The Island of Freedom already received the "Best Major European Festival" award twice, but last year it was awarded as the festival with the "Best European Line-up".

Károly Gerendai, Main Organizer and Founder of the festival said: "After such an esteemed past it is not easy to organize a better festival, but we will definitely give it a try. Last year we closed Sziget 2015 with 3 completely sold out days, where Sziget hosted 90 thousand people, this time we prepare for a sold out week. 5 days passes are already sold out and almost three-quarter of the 7 days passes are also sold. The ticket prices will change this year 5th May, so we definitely expect many tickets to sell until then. Also important to add that even before the announcements many passes were already gone. We can explain this with the unique Sziget atmosphere as one of the most important motives for visitors to choose Sziget."

This unique atmosphere has been the essential part of Sziget from the beginning, merging a diverse music line-up with many programs beyond music as theatre, dance, circus and many more. This is all topped with quality services, exciting visuals and spectacular installations. These are the guarantees of success on a very packed festival market.

Art of Freedom
When it comes to the visual landscape of Sziget, Gerendai added, that Sziget received more than 200 applications to its Art of Freedom tender this year. These ideas and concepts arrived from designers, sculptors, artists or just enthusiastic "amateurs" from all over the world. Out of all applications almost 100 will come to life in any corner of the island. These gigantic installations and peculiar lights bring one, very important aspect to the previously mentioned special Sziget atmosphere, so all day, visitors can wander to one of the 50 venues through many worlds.

Environmental protection & service developments
Since the first Sziget, organizers work year by year to develop a great system for environmental protection. They find it crucially important to promote the concept of a sustainable festival, so this year there will be special campaigns and dedicated communication to help boost environmentally friendly festival time spending. This year's theme will be recycling, conscious consumer shopping, selective waste collection, use of green energy and many more. The commercial actors of the festival will be banned to use plastic bags and the food stalls will use compostable and recycled materials. Besides the already numerous bins, this year there separate cigarette stub holders will be introduced as well. Connected to recycling and the humanitarian spirit of the Island of Freedom, organizers will continue with last year's successful campaign, to ask Szitizens to collect their camping accessories, tents, blankets, mattresses which they are not willing to take home and dedicate it to the refugees.

Hygiene at Sziget has always been above average, but this year the toilet and shower blocks will be further developed and the number of cleaning staff will be increased as well. This time not only the increase of comfort is the guiding principle, but also to make these unites as visually part of island as possible. Part of the easy guidance on the huge island, there will be a great development to make it even easier to find the different program venues on the island.

The gastronomy landscape of Sziget aims to be both diverse and high quality. This time even more restaurants will be present from outside Hungary. For instance FoodStock, festival kitchen of the Slovakian restaurant Fou Zoo, will also bring a nice twist to the wide variety of hamburgers, pizzas, the most exciting food trucks, Hungarian specialties and prominent kitchens from all over the world.

The cashless payment system this year at Sziget will be operated by Festipay, now part of the Sziget group. The festival visitors can meet countless innovative developments, so one cannot only follow where certain amounts were spent or the current balance, but also register a credit card and top-up the festival card without standing in line. The international debut of a brand new virtual festival card, that will allow full payment services through mobile phones, will also be at Sziget.

Every year organizers emphasize the importance and priority of security of its Szitizens. The activities of Sziget have been outstanding previously as well, but development is crucial all the time. This year the number of security staff will be increased and the biggest development will be visible around the entrances. A new "check-in" system will operate, just as the one at the airports. So, when exchanging the voucher to a wristband the visitors will be asked to show their ID and check-in to the festival. A camera system installed at the entrances will monitor the person exchanging the ticket and entering.


Music program of 2016

The Main Stage will again host the biggest acts of Sziget for 7 days, starting on Wednesday, 10th August. Szitizens can enjoy Rihanna, Jake Bugg, Manu Chao La Ventura, Muse, David Guetta, Sia, Sigur Rós, Noel Gallager's High Flying Birds, The Last Shadow Puppets, Bastille, John Newman, The Lumineers, Years&Years and many more. This year's End Show will be hosted by Hardwell. The lovely tent of the OTP Bank A38 Stage will host acts like MØ, Travis Scott, Jain, Kovacs, Unkle, Kodaline, Róisín Murphy, Tourist, The Neighbourhood, CHVRCHES, M83, Dillon Francis, Aurora, Carnage, Fidlar, Jess Glynne and Crystal Castles. More announcements for both stages are still expected.

One of the most vibrant stages of Sziget, the World Music Stage, will once again bring some party! Performers are coming from all around the world, bringing super exciting productions such as Buika, Goran Bregovic Wedding and Funeral Band, Leningrad, Rachid Taha, Systema Solar, Soviet Suprem, Kultur Shock, Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra and many more. The electronic music scene is represented at two dedicated venues, the Telekom Arena and the Colosseum. The already announced acts for the Telekom Arena are Afrojack, Vinai, Dyro, DVBBS, Zedd and Nicky Romero. There are many more to come! In addition, the Colosseum is a very special party venue, as it is built entirely on pallets. The line-up will come shortly.

The concept behind the Europe Stage is to host solid European bands, who have already proven their talent in their home countries and now have the opportunity to showcase their music in front of Sziget fans from more than 80 countries. The program of the stage is not ready yet, announcements are continuous, but the acts we already know are: I Ministri, The Zen Circus and Salmo from Italy, Ceza from Turkey, La Smala from Belgium, Perturbator and Deluxe from France, Brunettes Shoot Blondes from Ukraine, Therr Maitz from Russia, Israeli Maya Isacowitz, Isolation Berlin and Die Nerven from Germany, Golan from Romania, En.Dru from Czech Republic, Palace Winter from Denmark, Abu and Serafyn from Switzerland, Thunder & Co. and Groove Salvation from Portugal and Queer Jane from Slovakia.

The slots on 10th & 11th August (Day -1 and Day 0) are dedicated to the up-and-coming European talents, who will come from 16 European countries. These bands are the winners of the Sziget talent contests organized in their countries, who will showcase their music on these special dedicated days on the Europe Stage.

The Petőfi Radio - Telekom VOLT Festival stage will once again host the most popular and promising bands of the Hungarian music scene, as Kiscsillag, Bin-Jip, Péterfy Bori & Love Band, Hiperkarma, MiddleMist Red or Szabó Balázs bandája while, The Budapest Park Tribute Stage will bring some well-known tunes to the party. One of the most authentic venues of the island is the Campfire venue, where Szitizens, who received the most votes through the Campfire application bring the music. Strictly acoustic, besides the campfire. The winner 25 groups will perform at a new location.

The Blues Pub will host those who love blues music. Among the performers we can find Errol Linton from the UK, Leif de Leeuw Band and Erik Ankoné from the Netherlands, the Krakow Street Band from Poland and Hungarian bands as Jambalaya, Tom White & the Mad Circus, Lead Zeppelin, or the Jack Canon Band.

The Lightstage designed by the Blokk Építészműhely will be decorated with hundreds of lights, which will shine on the beautiful green grass of the entrance of Camping Alternativa. The stage, in cooperation with Puglia Sounds music export office, will host Italian, French, Dutch and Hungarian talents as L'Orso, Barbados, Bugo, Dirty Harry’s Dynamite, Giosada & Band, Landlord, Lola, Lysergic, Mama Marjas, Osc2X, Selton, or Teapot Industries.

The "Soul of Sziget" - non-musical programs at Sziget 2016

The programs, that actually make Sziget different from any other festival, are those that are spread all around the island on numerous locations, making the festival vibe a real cultural experience. The French Transe Express will be this year's Giant Street Theatre company at Sziget, who will bring their newest production called 'Mù', which will invite the Szitizens to the wonderful world of Jules Verne, where we can follow the members of the company from the depth of the seas through fire and air straight to the Moon.

This is a very spectacular and amazing production that will definitely enchant the viewers! The Cirque du Sziget will bring unique and spectacular productions once again, where great international new-circus companies will arrive and entertain the crowd. The German More Promotions will bring their production called 'Soap', arriving from Australia, the company of Circa will bring their production called 'Beyond' .

The Québec Circus School from Canada is bringing 'La Souche' and the Hungarian Circus Institute will be also present at the venue with the performance called 'The Ball', performed together with the students of the Québec Circus School. 'Miss Dolly' is the performance of the French company of Marcel et ses drôles de femmes. Also from Canada, Les Dudes will perform 'Let's do this!' , while the Hungarian company Recirquel is coming back to Sziget with their performance 'Paris De Nuit' .

The Theatre and Dance Tent will host once again the most exciting contemporary theatre and dance companies at two venues: in the tent itself and also on an outdoor stage. Outside we can meet the youngest generation of contemporary dance both from Hungary and all over the world.

From Hungary we can meet Milán Újvári, Adél Juhász and Áron Porteleki, Viktor Szeri and Júlia Vavra as well as Body Lotion, formation of Virág Arany and Júlia Lányi. József Trefeli and Gábor Varga will bring their production called 'Jinx 103'. From the international scene we can see three performances on the outdoor stage: Maastheater from Rotterdam bringing 'Twins' and 'Play it Back'.

From Israel arrives Roni Chadash and Etay Axelros and Chiaki Horita. In addition, Turkish Ziya Azazi comes back to Sziget with the performance called 'Ember' . In the tent there will be performances twice a day, so Szitizens can check out the world famous Hiroaki Umeda with the so called 'Fluid Intelligence'.

The Japanese choreographer is working with five Hungarian dancers this year on this play that will have its debut at Sziget. Important to mention the other companies as E.sperimenti Dance Company, the National Dance Company of Wales, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Dani Pannullo Dancetheatre Company and Cortez-Fontán.

The Hungarikum Village will once again bring to Sziget the Hungarian countryside and show Szitizens what Hungarian customs, virtue, food and drinks are all about. Every year has a special theme, this time it will be the "toys and games". The fresh and dynamic venue of Sziget, the Afo-Latin-Reggae Village will be very colorful again!

Every day special workshops, dance and drum lessons, yoga classes, capoeira, salsa, samba, African dance and drum workshops, Northern African belly dance and Afro-Caribbean dance workshops will await the Szitizens. Straight from Senegal, the Sory Ballet Camara will bring their authentic African dance and drumshow production and also representing the South-Asian reggae scene Ras Muhamad from Indonesia will bring some nice beats.

The Sziget Beach is one of the most popular venues, as it is the place to be if one wants to enjoy the sun and chill in the Danube. This year Sziget Beach will be teamed up again with the Cökxpôn Chill Garden, where the only thing to do is "chill". The venue of the Classical, Opera and Jazz Stage will host Gabriel Prokofiev, who is the grandson of the famous musician. At the venue Szitizens can not only enjoy contemporary opera, but can also interact with the artists when it comes to conducting or composing. Fans of jazz should also migrate here as great concerts and programs will await them.

The venue of the Travelling Funfair "Vándor Vurstli" will bring a unique atmosphere, a magical world to Sziget, where everything is possible and we can all turn back time. There will be a lot of shooting, tossing and striking game-structures all with some fanfare music! This time Szitizens can also enjoy the Catalan Automatarium and the white caravan of the Omnivolant. The small street theatres bring life to any corner of Sziget, you don't even know where you will meet them! This year Sziget welcomes Brincadeira, Sarruga and Murmuyo.

The Museum Quarter is where Szitizens can meet the most important Hungarian museums in a highly interactive and fun way. However this year there is also a special guest, the Musée national de l'historie de l'immigration. The prestigious museum from Paris together with the Museum of Ethnography from Budapest will have an almost 30 meters long exhibition and interactive program series focusing on the topic of borders. This way the center of attention will be the borders and migration, where they will show migration issues starting from the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The I Ching Labyrinth is an interactive venue, where visitors can learn about themselves and help them to discover unknown truths with the help of the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, and the 64 hexagrams.The exiting and interesting venue of GameLandHub will present the digitally controlled world around us. Besides digital games, traditional games also can be found as well as the new generation of the world’s best and latest party board games. Here Szitizens can also master their knowledge of the Rubik's Cube and play poker as well. At the venue of the Chess Tent Szitizens can start learning or strengthen their chess knowledge.

Similarly to last year Hungarian movies will be screened at Sziget with English subtitles at the #szigetcinema venue, while at the TEDx Club one can come to debate, talk, discuss smaller and larger topics of the world. Many creative ideas will be revealed here and Szitizens can meet Hungarian and international speakers coming from different fields.

The Magic Mirror is the resident queer and LGBT venue of Sziget. The venue is the host of man discussions this year in English language brought to the Szitizens by Kristóf Steiner, while the movie screenings will once again feature the queer movies of the Berlinale Film Festival, where the Q&As will be hosted by Kristian Petersen. This year Dave Thompson will bring some laughter with his stand-up performances and finishing the program every day, Szitizens can enjoy the Variéte show, this time directed by Markus Pabst, who is the founder of the Base Berlin. The show will feature artists as David Pereira and Jack Woodhead.

In the ArtZone, Szitizens will have the opportunity to try out different art forms and to create arts and crafts. In the main focus we can find re-cycled materials and with the help of the most prominent artistic groups there will be several opportunities to be creative. This year the Architects of Air are arriving with Trilumin-Luminarium. A Luminarium is an 800 square meter inflatable sculpture made up of labyrinthine tunnels and inspiring spacious domes - a sensual world of liquid-light and color. The interactive and community art project of the Before I Die encourages people to share their personal desires, secrets and fears in one common space. The giant board of Candy Chang will await Szitizens to leave those they would like to see/feel/experience before they die.

In partnership with sport associations Sziget's aim is to provide a place for Szitizens to get to know various new sport activities or just find some leisure time enjoying their favorite sports. This place is the SportsZone, where in 2016, the year of the Olympics and the UEFA European Championships Sziget is planning special activities and surprises, such as establishing a center for the Olympics with live broadcast of the events of Olympic Games.

At the NGO Island Sziget is awaiting organizations with multilingual programs in important subjects as being environmentally friendly, human rights and minority rights, drug prevention, social issues and education. The Ability Park is an internationally awarded interactive adventure park that shows visitors in a fun way what persons with disabilities experience in their everyday lives.

More names, venues, programs will arrive in the upcoming weeks.

Tickets and information:

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