Do you know this feeling when you were a small child looking so much forward to the Christmas morning? That is my feeling when entering the Sziget Festival yesterday night and judging from the number of people being already on the Island of Freedom; I was not the only one.
The gates of Sziget Festival 2016 opened already for so-called moving in. When I was going yesterday on the M1 highway from Vienna to Budapest, I saw several cars with foreign license plates packed until the roof with young and smiling passengers, whose destination was, without the doubt, the Sziget Festival. The first Sziget express train from Amersfoort arrived at Nyugati pályaudvar, and all the Szitizens seem to be in a very energised and festive mood.
The official program will not start until Wednesday, August 10 but there is still quite some fun you can get on the island. The nicest thing about arriving at Sziget early is that you can place your tent at a good spot, and you can familiarise yourself with the whole festival area before it gets crowded. This year, the 5- and 7-day passes were already sold out in June, and the daily passes are also disappearing with blazing speed, so you can expect the island to get pretty packed.
As the Sziget Festival did not start yet, there are still some finishing works being done. After last year, when I documented for you the building of the Festival, take a sneak peek at how it looks like just before being ready.
Sziget Festival – finishing works
Pre-pre-party at Sziget
The music is omnipresent. The first language I caught when entering the festival grounds was Czech (coincidence, I do not think so!). Later that evening, I head a lot of French, Hungarian, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, English – Sziget is really a Babel Tower! The party was on at multiple spots on the island yesterday:
Light decorations and art at Sziget Festival
My most popular activity at the Sziget festival is wandering through the island at night. The light decorations, the omnipresent art and random people you come across too are worth the kilometres you will walk.
Last year, it was quite dusty. This year seems to be no exception although the temperatures will not be 36 degrees (uff!). If you do not like dust or are allergic to it, bring a mask or at least a scarf to protect your nose and mouth.
Hungarian sun has similar intensity like in the Mediterranean. Make sure to bring sunblock and some hat! Pack some headlight or torch as it can be quite dark at night (and you want to take shortcuts to save steps).
Be patient, there is enhanced security check-in system to get into the festival, which might take some time in the peak hours. I suggest having fun in the city and coming to the festival grounds for check-in in off-peak hours.
There is a pharmacy, Aldi shop and Rossmann store at the Sziget Festival. If you forget something they do not have there, you can grab it in Auchan hypermarket, which is 20 min walk from the festival.
There seemed to be 1000+1 food options when I was walking through the Island. Budapest is in the past few years driving on the Food truck wave, so naturally, these iconic restaurants on the wheels are also offering their goodies at the Sziget Festival. I did not explore the entire island but found already places I love to grab a late night snack when partying down town.
The Sziget and Budapest signs are ready for your pics!
Are you on your way to Sziget? Or know somebody who is? Share this article with them. Also, follow me on my social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram) for insights into the life on the Island of Freedom 2016!