Dan Panaitescu was for a long time one of the most important people in building the lineup for Sziget Festival, but not only that: he served as the International Booking Manager for Sziget, Volt, Balaton Sound, and Strand Festival. He is credited with having a very important role in the transformation of the Sziget Festival from a small, regional event into one that is widely considered one of Europe’s best summer festivals. Dan Panaitescu was one of the key professionals Sziget has to thank for receiving the “Best Lineup Award” at the European Festival Awards last year. Unfortunately, Dan passed away last year in a car accident – his memory was honored by the festival renaming its main venue to “Dan Panaitescu Main Stage” in 2016.
Dan Panaitescu made an impression during his years of serving the Sziget audience. At the latest edition of the European Festival Awards, his contribution to the growth and quality of Sziget Festival was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Panaitescu was born and raised in Romania – a restless child, as he was described by his parents. Bored of the life he had as an economist in Sighisoara (a city in Northern Romania), he was always seeking new opportunities – he decided to flee the communist Romania in 1989, crossing the border illegally to Hungary (knowing nothing but “Don’t shoot” in Hungarian at the time). He was granted political asylum in Hungary and settled in Budapest where he soon got involved with touring and concert organization for local bands like Beatrice, Pokolgép, Bonanza Banzai, Pál Utcai Fiúk, Európa Kiadó, URH, Sziámi, Auróra, and Hobo Blues Band. From here to Sziget it was just one step – he stayed with the festival since its beginnings until his passing in the summer of 2016.
Hopefully, the person taking over for Dan Panaitescu will be at least as dedicated as he was.
PS: In other news, Sziget was named the “Artist’s Favourite Festival” at the 2016 European Festival Awards.