Although the budget of the Sziget Festival has grown to 4.4 billion HUF (over $16 million or 14 million euros) the current list of headliners to participate at this year’s edition might not be as great as expected, the festival’s organizers announced in a press conference today. Last year the festival’s date was pushed back to avoid overlapping with major US and Japanese festivals. This year the above mentioned events will start later as well. This means that the organizers of Sziget might again be in trouble.
Still, according to lead organizer Gerendai Károly, the interest in the festival is unbroken after last year’s over 400,000 visitors. “Headliners are no longer enough to make a festival attractive”, he said. “We are improving the visuals, the infrastructure, the hygiene, the public lighting, many venues will be moved to new locations, and we will move the Main Stage, so the audience will have more space”. This year’s visuals will cost about 1 million euros this year, and the number of programmes will grow over 1 thousand.
Gerendai told the press that the Sziget Festival is the biggest tourist attraction of Hungary – it’s bigger than the Hungarian F1 grand prix. Over 90% of the tickets are sold outside the country, and the number of visitors arriving to Hungary for the event is three times as big as those coming to see the F1.
Former / new program manager Kardos József has returned to the Sziget staff after six years, replacing Szép Fruzsina who has left to work at a Berlin festival. He also spoke at the press event – he told the press about the introduction of genre zones, which might even make some programmes more popular. “The Culture Zone will be strengthened, with the Fidelio Stage, that will be the home to opera, symphonic music and jazz, but this area will house the theater and dance tents, the movable fun-fair, several street theaters, the Hungaricum Village that replaces the afro-latin-reggae village, and the barn dance hall (táncház), but the museum district also moves in here, where 17 institutions have already confirmed their presence,” he said.
The Fidelio will feature acts like the CrossOper performance, the Opera Sitcom, the jazz performance of Abraham Brody and Harcsa Veronika, among others. The theater and dance stage will house performances of the world-famous Japanese dancer and choreographer Hiroaki Umeda, the Cuban Danz Abierta group, the French Compagnie MimH or the Israeli IdanSharabi & Dancers.
Among the international acts at the Cirque du Sziget, the popular circus venue, we’ll be able to see the French group Akoreaco perform their act called Klaxon, the Czech group Cirk La Putyka and the Hungarian troupe Grotesque Gimnastics.
The other venues of the event will include a Creative Zone with a logic tent and TEDx workshops, a Design Area with a Design Terminal and WAMP vendors, an ArtZone with artists and artisans, a Sports Zone with a series of sports opportunities, and an Electronic Zone. The World Music Stage moves to the former spot of the circus, and will have a richer lineup (and a bigger budget) this year.
The A38 Stage will house performances from artists like Dropkick Murphys, Enter Shikari, Gaslight Anthem, Infected Mushrooms, Interpol and José Gonzalez. The Petofi Rádió – Telekom VOLT Festival stage will be “inhabited” by acts like the winners of this year’s Nagy-Szín-Pad talent show, along with Péterfy Bori & Love Band, Kistehén, Carbonfools, Kiscsillag, Magashegyi Underground, Wellhello, Bin-Jip Erik Truffazzal, Fábián Juli & Zoohacker, Vad Fruttik, hiperkarma or 30Y.