Finally Day 1 started! All the closed parts of the festival opened their gates, more and more people came and put up their tents and the sun was shining like crazy. The day was dusty, I am thinking that if there would be no rain or watering of the paths and stage areas, it will start to be detrimental. Since 7 pm, I was having a dusty feeling in my mouth and could not get rid of it until I got home. This reminds me of the book we had to read at high school called Heat and Dust.
Our first gig of the day has been Gogol Bordello and I must admit, it was very hard to choose between everything that starts at around 4 pm. Pity that later in the day, we did not have such dilemmas anymore. Yeah, that is festival life. We picked up alpaca from the tent and put tons of sunscreen on, took the water machine so that we can refresh ourselves and headed off to the Gogol Bordello gig.
I had to chance to already see the band multiple times before this performance and to some extent, it is very hard to compare for me as the gigs look the same, feel the same. I guess that is the effect of gypsy ska punk. The audience is always the same too, many girls dancing alone and many guys forming a traditional “hit me from all sides” dance in front of the stage. Also, because it is so early, the lead singer Eugene Hütz was not even drunk yet. Although he was trying hard with countless bottles of wine and vodka.
This has been Gogol bordello’s 4th time at Sziget and you could see the band and the audience having a good time. Also, I think it has been the first concert of the day for quite some people, so they were fresher and enjoyed the concert to the fullest. All in all, it was a nice gig with good timing, good performance and the audience was satisfied.
After Gogol Bordello, there was a secret gig taking place. A guy won some Christmas Sziget competition and he could perform on the main stage. He brought along his triangle, but to be honest, nobody probably ever told him that he should not hold the body of the instrument, but the string only. This lead to very strange sounds, but he seemed to be having fun playing on the main stage and the audience was merciful with him and nobody threw a beer at him.
Cirk la Putyka
Usually the Czech foot is not so big at Sziget. But that changed this year, when the Czech circus Cirk la Putyka got invited to hold daily session in Cirque du Sziget at 6pm. To be frank with you, this contemporary circus with human acrobats and no living animals is extremely popular in the Czech Republic and it is quite a challenge to get tickets for their shows. So you can imagine how happy I was to find out they will be playing at Sziget every day!
And as Day 0 had an empty slot for me in the program, we went to see them. There was a moderate queue, so make sure you are on the spot at least 15 minutes before the start. You get introduced and seated in a huge cirque, which is all black and incredibly hot. So bring your fan with you.
The show itself has been made especially for Sziget and I must say it is pretty impressive. The first part is a pub fight with a ballerina dancing in beer glass instead of ballet shoes. If you get lucky enough and sit in lower seats, you get a beer from them. Nice and refreshing. Although it is Dreher and not a Czech beer, which they are speaking so nice about at the beginning of the show. Then you have a trampoline guy jumping with knives, wooden plank climbing, guy in a huge loop, ballet dancers on ropes, slide jumping and many more. The show lasts 45 minutes and the performances are breath taking! As this was their first performance at Sziget, they were very happy everything worked out and the people liked it. The standing ovation was well deserved and I was very surprised by the second ovation they got when the crowd was leaving the cirque and saw the performers outside. It was truly a great show and I recommend everybody to grab a chance to see them – the show starts every day at 18:00.
Some pics from the show:
After this wonderful experience, we went to the main stage to check out the flag party. We came too late to be given a flag but we were not sad as we had our #alpaca with us. It was starting a bit late, so people that were prepared were already crazily waving their flags in expectation. I was happy to see the party promoter, who actually is the same person like last year.
Flag party is a very nice promotion of the festival itself, I believe the photos that are made are serving their purpose and of course it is really nice to watch the crowd waving all the different flags – be it one of the 15,000 official Sziget flags or their own or made national flag. A unique moment of unity.
We decided that we will discover some more Hungarian bands, we knew 3 songs of this band, so as there was nothing playing on the main stage that would interest us, we decided to go for their gig. The gig was on the Petöfi rádió Telekom Volt Festival Stage – yes, the name is longer than the 4, 6 tram in Budapest. We came late, but the band was even later, so we were actually on time.
The problem with slager bands is that they have only a few hits that everybody knows and they usually play one at the beginning and the best ones at the end. The middle is filled with their less good stuff that nobody knows. This was the case of Halott Pénz at Sziget too. One almost got the impression as if they would not want to play the songs Hallo lányok and Van valami a levegőben. But the crowd would not let them go away without playing those anyway.
Then we wondered around the festival, discovering and meeting with people. Alpaca was a great connector. At one moment we were chatting with some German guys from Nurenberg, who btw said the Alt J concert was really good (maybe we should have gone too) and we spent time with them at the concert of Budapest Bar in the second row. The show was lively with many instruments and it was quite enjoyable. I think I will go see them once more in Budapest, when they will play to a bit more engaged audience. We had to leave the gig earlier as we were supposed to meet with our friends at the outside stage of Cirque du Sziget for a flame show.
Magma firetheater: lava
We sat in front of the outside Cirque du Sziget stage in expectation of the big show with fire, but it was very delayed. I was quite surprised there have been many people waiting for it and it is quite good that there are some performances outside. It just puts the whole cirque spirit into a next level – street theater art.
The show itself was quite short, but for sure it was worth the wait and it is not so painful to wait when you do not have to stand on direct sun or be in a crowd.
And that was the day for us, few other remarks that we have from passing through the festival:
– there is a concert for people that wait to get inside of Luminarium – if you did not see it yet, go and see, the queues will only get longer with the festival heading towards its end;
– police already arrested 4 people because of pick pocketing. Please make sure that you always keep an eye on your belongings. If you have a Festipay card on your neck or belt, try maybe thinking about putting it inside of a pocket or bag. I believe that in real life, you would not walk with your credit card either;
– Pussy riot members (Nadya and Masha) are coming to Sziget and will have a discussion in Magic Mirror on Friday 14th August at 13.00. More details on Sziget website.