Bad news for world music loving Szitizens: after years and years, Sziget closes its World Music Stage starting its 2019 edition. The news was broken by Lángoló Gitárok, a long-running Hungarian music blog, and confirmed by Kardos József, Sziget’s Program Manager.
Kardos was quick to reassure Szitizens that this move doesn’t banish world music from the festival, especially since world music is so influential today that its effects can be pinpointed even in the songs of many Main Stage performers. Instead, the genre will be integrated into the program of another venue – which one, Kardos didn’t say just yet.
Why does Sziget close the World Music Stage
The main reason behind the closing of the World Music Stage is the low number of visitors attending its events. Despite many performers being truly big names in their genre, they often attracted up to 500 or 1000 people to the venue capable of hosting 10,000. The closing (or probably rather repurposing) of the venue has nothing to do with the work of Marton László Távolodó and L?kös Csaba, the two organizers tasked with filling the World Music Stage with world-class performers for almost two decades, but rather with the fact that the trends have changed, so it’s no longer viable to reserve a venue of such dimensions for a genre that’s not very profitable.
While Kardos didn’t go into details about where world music will go from its dedicated venue, he did reveal a few plans related to the genre. He said that they plan to group venues related to the genre, like placing the Hungaricum Village, the Caravan Tent, perhaps even the Afro-Latino-Reggae Village into the field that has been the home of the World Music Stage in the previous years. But nothing specific will be decided before the budget of next year’s festival will be finalized.
No big names
The one thing that’s for sure at this point, as pointed out by Kardos in the interview, that you shouldn’t expect big names in the world music genre to perform at next year’s Sziget Festival. The organizers will stay with their finger on the pulse of the music trends, though, and if the popularity of world music begins to rise again, it will return to its dedicated state at Sziget Festival.
In the last two decades, the World Music Stage has hosted the performances of artists like Goran Bregovic, Fanfare Ciocarlia, La Dame Blanche, the Antwerp Gypsy Ska Orchestra, Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, and many, many others.
(Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg, Sziget 2009 Thansk Fsfsf for the tip)