Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sziget Festival in Hungary

The Sziget Festival is one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe, and more recently, in the world. The festival is held annually in August in Budapest, Hungary and takes place on Óbudai-sziget (”Old-Buda Island”), a landscaped island on the Danube, thus Sziget stands for Island. Currently it boasts more than 1000 performances each year.

The week-long festival has grown from a relatively low-profile, gap-filling 1993 student event to become one of the definitive European rock festivals by the late 1990s, with about half of all visitors coming from outside Hungary, including the Anglosphere and France (11 000 French visitors in 2007). Attendancy rates surpassed the 250 000 mark in 1997 and the 350 000 mark in 2001.

The all-time peak year was 2005 with 385 000 visitors (also attained in 2006 and 2008). It is now being increasingly labeled as a European alternative to the Burning Man festival due to its unique features (”an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality”).

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