In the first completely free summer after the pandemic, we looked forward to the festivals like never before. But we expected it to be different, with all the talk of escalating prices – inflation. And then the drought overshadowed the festival, but could this year’s Sziget be anything like previous years? There were a good number of festival-goers, some 452,000 visitors in total, but what were the general opinions after the festival? Here’s our whittling summary of what should change in the run-up to next year’s 30th anniversary Sziget.

I never went to Sziget for the line-up of the Big Stage. This year, I only knew the names of Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber, and of course, they brought the expected near full house. I missed the reggae stage and the Luminarium, but I was happy to see Magic Mirror and a circus after the big concerts in the evening.

Talking about missing things, what the Island has clearly underperformed on this year is the decoration. The K-bridge used to be the entrance to the festival, the way to the universe, as they put up the armband at the entrance and the bridge itself led into the island of freedom – this year they didn’t get permission to decorate it because strong winds could have caused problems with the bridge moving too much. So it was Filatorigág, petrol station, bridge and then the check-in. In other words, they just fucked me to the island without any welcome drink. Tamás Kádár, the main organizer of Sziget, added that this made it easier to get in and out of the concerts that attracted large crowds. “The system passed the test” Kádár wrote. We hope that next year there will be a much bigger budget for decoration in general and that the K-bridge will somehow regain its charm.

Sziget started in 1993, so next year it will be 30 years old, and it’s a strange coincidence that next year they expect the 10 millionth visitor since the beginning.

But on entering Sziget, I was struck by the harsh reality. Inflation, the weak forint, and the war drove up prices, and the cheapest draught beer at the Sziget Festival, Dreher Gold, was priced at 1290 forints per pint. According to Pénzcentrum’s calculations, beer is 71 percent more expensive than in 2019, but even mineral water costs almost as much as cola at just under 40 forints. And the price of a slice of pizza has almost doubled compared to 2019. Add to this the fact that several restaurateurs told Köz-Hír that all employees at food and drink stands had to buy their own festival tickets. Personal opinion, but as prices have increased, the taste of the food has decreased so much. No wonder many people preferred to shop at Auchan outside or Aldi inside. We need bigger self-service kitchens like the grill bar at Aldi.

The Sziget team also assisted the police in apprehending the alleged perpetrators of the brawl at the festival. (Source)

This year, the staff was somehow mostly characterized by cluelessness. Hardly any crowd management or guidance. Even some of the vendors went there speaking English as “tell us what you want, but don’t ask complex questions in English”. And speaking of staff, there were many complaints about security. Of course, some of the complaints were not about security within the Island, but about other Island-related events, but overall it was part of a great Island experience. You can read on forums that there have been cases of a guard showing his fist for a simple direction. Somehow, security used to be friendlier and more relaxed on the Island. That has changed too.

The audience also seemed to be very different from previous years. The two years of closure did people no good, they forgot how to behave. I don’t expect much, but let’s try to rise above the level of mindless animals.

And we left to the end what was as much of a shock this year as the price of beer: the DUST. No amount of sprinkling can compensate for the months of rain that have gone by. The beginning of the COVID season was back – at least in terms of mask-wearing: the crowd in front of the main stage had whipped up the fine dust so high that you couldn’t see the other side from one edge of the stage. It was the first time in 10 years that we had experienced this. About a third of the festival-goers were wearing medical or FFP2 masks or bandanas for this reason. “We constantly tried to sprinkle the dust, taking sustainability into account, making sure that we did it with water from the Danube rather than drinking water,” said Kádár. But the complaints are justified, “no matter how hard we fought, the dust won more often than not.”

Although this year it has been claimed that there will be many more English toilets than toi-tois, we found that there were still many toi-tois, far fewer water points (in the heat), and much dirtier toilets than in previous years. Over the last 10 years, we have seen that the garbage collectors are constantly on the road, the toilets are cleaned regularly, while we were out this year we found that there were far fewer cleaning staff and the toilets and toilets were far more neglected.

On top of all this, after the six-day jamboree, many people were caught by festival sickness. “I’m still coughing up green snot and I have a very runny nose. I also have a slight fever. I was tested for covid, it’s not covid.” – wrote someone 4 days after the festival. Others were not so lucky, they were infected by covid.
I don’t have covid, but since Tuesday I’ve had cold-like symptoms, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, feeling tired – that’s what the writer of these lines experienced.

But that’s the way of the festival, we’ll see how things change next year. What did you dislike most about this year’s Island?

Tetszett a tartalom?

Mood, atmosphere
Cleanliness, dust
Programmes, musical offer
Shadow/Water points
dustfest-the-first-sziget-after-the-pandemicAll in all, Sziget Festival is still a good festival, but something has to be done for our environment and against global warming: dust will probably continue to be a problem in the coming years, and a solution has to be found as soon as possible, as well as shade and a reform of the recap system. Next year we hope to have the right quantity and quality of cleaning, security, and safety staff. Prices should reflect the quality of the former and not only exclusively inflation. The list of performers more or less follows the trends.