- Title: HUNGARY: Central Europe's largest music festival opens in Hungary
- Date: 31st July 2006
- Summary: VARIOUS OF CROWD CHEERING (2 SHOTS) PEOPLE WALKING BY MAIN STAGE
- Embargoed: 1st September 2006 17:32
- Location: Hungary
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA3KIO26RLYO6LQ4IGI6ZAB8Y6Y
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The largest open-air music festival in Central Europe opened in Budapest on Wednesday (August 9) lasting for a whole week, featuring International and Hungarian stars.
The annual festival is called "Sziget" (meaning island), as it is located on an island on the Danube near the city centre.
Since it started 14 years ago the festival has grown every year, and this year a new record of over 400,000 visitors are expected from all over Europe. Last year 380,000 people attended over the whole week - around 70,000 on the site every day.
A whole city is built of sleeping tents, containers, shops and restaurants. More than 60 stages, some 10 large ones, will entertain the crowds with two hundred programmes every day. A total of 250 international productions and 500 Hungarian bands, Djs, theatre groups, acrobats and dancers will feature during the week.
The festival used to be compared to Woodstock with its original more hippy style bands and audience, but with each year it has become more and more commercialized with heavy emphasis on advertisers and sponsors. Today the festival also attracts a growing percentage of its audience from abroad.
Most people say they come for the music and the special atmosphere. The "Sziget-feeling" is largely a feeling of ease and freedom and that people can do "anything they like", visitors say.
"It's summer, it's holidays, it's love. Just seize the moment and relax and listen to music and feel it," Nicole from Germany said. "It's the atmosphere. Those are our neighbours and they invite us for coffee etc, and they're from Italy, so you meet other nations, it's cool. And it's good weather here and the music of course, you hear it here so it's cool," Peter for the Netherlands said.
At the first festival 14 years ago there were 43,000 visitors and 6 programme venues, and the total budget was about 110,000 euros. In comparison, this year's total budget is about 2 billion 250 million Forints, more than 8 million euros.
The growing reputation of the festival means that bigger names are starting to take notice, and joining Radiohead, Franz Ferdinand and Placebo this year are Iggy Pop, The Prodigy and The Scissor Sisters.
This year's main opening concerts included the Irish "Therapy" Band which played from their new album One Cure Fits All. Their concert filled much of the field in front of the main stage.
The festival always brings together very different styles of bands, from hard rock to jazz and alternatives through softer tunes. Like most festivals, there are countless different stages, from World Music to Rock to Dance, but there are also some very interesting diversions that add extra spice to the event.
The World Music Stage will this year feature Susana Baca from Peru, the Serbian Boban Markovic's brass band, the Celtic-African Afro Celt Sound System, the Italian Spakka-Neapolis 55, the Serbian-Croatian Goran Bregovic, and the American Klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer. Robert Plant with his brand new band, the Strange Sensation is to play for the first time in Hungary.
The WAN2 Stage is a huge tent hosting various music trends. This year the stage will see such stars as the Dutch Relax, the Mad Heads XL from Ukraine, the popular Turkish band maNga, Deti Picasso, one of Russia's most interesting and strangest pop groups, Hadag Nachash. The HammerWorld Stage is the permanent place for fans of hard rock.
This year you can see among others the Sick Of It All, the Fear Factory, the British Cathedral, the Exploited, the Evergrey, among others.
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