Sziget – A Pre-Flection

Art & Culture

So as the build up to Glastonbury takes speed, so does the deep seated jealousy of the people not going, we’re all fine with it….OK?

“The line-up’s rubbish”, “It’s gonna rain”, etc, etc, these are the exact people you DON’T want there anyway. The ones who spend the whole time at The Pyramid Stage, rocking up to the front as early as poss with their plastic chairs (which they ditch when they leave the festival BEFORE it’s ended, on Sunday) and shoving bacon butties down their gobs while genuinely believing that Ed Sheeran is good while they jig to another acoustic dronathon amongst a crowd too lethargic to get away from those crappy sounds. These are the guys who eventually find areas like the Unfairground and Croissant Neuf, just before heading back early to ‘avoid the traffic’ and promising that they’ll spend more time there next year…no, don’t…
For several years now, there’s been a mass influx of UK festival attending festivals abroad, mainly for a different experience and more reliable weather, the line-ups tend to be pretty similar but there’s only so many times you can ooooh at the (still) impressive Block 9 area, or laugh along to the guy pretending to bum a fox, so where else?
There’s your tried and testeds: Primavera, Benicassim, Roskilde, Open-er, these are all pretty established now amongst the more savvy UK festival goer, there are still plenty of other options but the one that stands out way beyond the rest is the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary, on what they call ‘The Island of Freedom’, from 11th August through to the 18th.
Often compared to the infamous Burning Man festival in the Nevada Desert, Sziget takes place on the Obuda Island in the middle of the Danube River which sounds a damn site more exotic than Reading. Since its humble beginnings back in 1993, they have made steady progress to becoming one of Europe’s biggest festivals, which has a schedule that takes in styles as disparate as you’d expect from the big UK festivals and thankfully no sight of your Arctics, Kasbians, Kings of Leons, Killers etc.
The bigger draw acts include Queens of the Stoneage, The Prodigy, Deadmau5, Bombay Bicycle Club, Manic Street Preachers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Skrillex, Kelis and the European return of much missed Outkast. The EDM set also get an unnecasary nod with Calvin Harris, king of the sync button, Axwell, Laidback Luke & Fedde Le Grand. For those who prefer their music with a little integrity, ignore Bastille and head towards Bonobo’s leftfield electronica, wonky pop from Crystal Fighters, Imagine Dragons, the obligatory festival set by Australian baggy revivalists, Jagwar Ma, Mount Kimbie and makers of one of this year’s finest album’s so far, Wild Beasts.
So, like other people who are definitely all OK about not getting Glastonbury tickets this year, or those people who couldn’t afford to pay off the ticket and were ripped off £15 by Glastonbury for their ridiculous ‘cancellation fee’ (like rubbing lime and salt into a fresh wound), forget Pilton and go get buggered in Budapest instead.

Chris Todd