See What’s New at Sziget: Budapest’s Top Festival Goes Green

  • 8 Aug 2023 4:26 PM
See What’s New at Sziget: Budapest’s Top Festival Goes Green
This year’s Sziget is not only getting a new look in many areas, venues gaining new designs and improvements in sound and lighting technology, the festival pushing the envelope on green issues and sustainability.

For 2023, the hugely popular and internationally unique Art of Freedom returns, bringing a stunning artwork and the visual power of its spectacular space installations to Sziget.

The now iconic K Bridge of Sziget was renovated in 2022, so it is hoped that this year it will be possible to decorate the bridge leading to Island of Freedom again, in agreement with the City.

Another major development this year is the removal of the mobile toilets from the guest areas, which will be replaced by flushable container units. These blocks will not only offer a new level of comfort, they also fit in with the colourful hustle and bustle of the festival.

Sziget is also showcasing a new look in catering this year. At food courts, greater emphasis will aso be placed on convenience services. In addition to a local selection, including traditional festival food, Sziget partnering with well-known popular restaurants in town, the international range will be expanded and special diets catered for.

Prices will be set so that the festival will be no more expensive than comparable products available in the the city. Each outlet must offer at least one budget option, maximum price of €6.50.

Sustainability is another key aspect – caterers will tailor their cutlery, packaging and ingredients accordingly, and great attention will be paid to energy saving and waste collection.

Greenification continues in other areas. The use of old-school, combustion vehicles will be minimised, and apart from the most essential services, only electric- or human-powered vehicles will be used to transport everyone working at Sziget.

As for environmental protection, the area of the forest by the city’s District III will be closed again this year, in line with its reclassification as a nature reserve by the City and World Wildlife Fund.

To improve the festival experience, Sziget organisers are tackling the airborne dust particles caused by last year’s unusual drought.

They have already re-landscaped Sziget, using so-called grey water from the Danube to solve the problem of continuous irrigation, while a new dust-control treatment is being applied throughout the festival area.

This uses the humidity of the air to create a slightly moist layer on the ground, thus preventing dust from entering the air.

The guest experience is enhanced by the VIP venues at Sziget, giving access to four VIP sectors at a time, set up by the Main Stage, the Mastercard FreeDome, the Ticketswap Colosseum and the Party Arena.

The guest experience will also be improved for campers – in principle, those arriving for more than two days can pitch their tents throughout the whole of the festival, but for those who want more, there is Siesta Camping in north-west of the island, by the Sziget Beach by Tanqueray, or Park Camping near the entrance for shade.

Sziget Ville is located in the eastern part of the festival area, with set-up accommodation, and Caravan Camping offers access to private caravans. Podpadopolis is a special camping village, an excellent alternative to traditional tents, with a variety of services.

Sziget offers a wide variety of pre-installed accommodation, all of which is a great alternative to bringing your own tents, often left behind on the festival site.

The entrance to Sziget will continue to be located in the inner area after the K Bridge, and the admission and exit system introduced last year will be maintained, making it faster and safer for people arriving for big concerts to leave.

Greener Festival

One of this year’s innovations is the focus on increasing sustainability in catering, most notably food prepared with a smaller carbon footprint.

To this end, the organisers have launched a campaign which will result in 80% of Sziget’s catering partners offering at least two vegetarian main courses, and over 40% of partners not offering any red meat at all.

The campaign also aimed to increase the proportion of Hungarian food used by caterers. A set of seven sustainability criteria was also introduced, of which at least two must be met by all caterers.

Last year, 42% of the festival’s total waste was recycled, and this year’s target is at least 50%. Work is continuing to reduce waste from camping.

Pledges made by festivalgoers in a video message are being collected; and this year a special camping section will be provided for those who want to spend time in a waste-free environment and make a commitment. 

Three new high-capacity drinking-water stations will be installed at the festival, where visitors will be able to fill their canteens with chilled tap water, reducing the number of PET bottles.

And this year, on a trial basis, a special carbon offsetting scheme will be launched for those arriving to the festival by plane. The aim is to offset the majority of air travel within a few years.

Sziget Festival

Words by Peterjon Cresswell for
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website

Related links

Festival Guide: Budapest’s Sziget Festival – New Stages and New Places

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