One of the best experiences to have whilst traveling is camping for a week at a music festival. It’s not glamorous, in no way, but its worth it.
Sziget had been on my list of music festivals to go to for quite a while & finally I had my opportunity to go. A rather long bus ride from Krakow, Poland, through picturesque Slovakia and finally to Budapest, Hungary (yes, three countries in one afternoon/evening!). We made our way to a cheap hostel, arriving rather late, much to the owners upset. It was basic, a bit dodgy, but it did the trick for two nights before the festival began. A place to catch up on sleep before a week without.
The first day in Budapest was spent running around in the heat, back and forth from the Island that the festival is on. We checked in to Sziget, got our wristbands, lugged our backpacks over the wooden bridge onto the Island of Freedom and found our way to the Camp Unknown group campsite where we would be setting up and chilling for the week. Back off the island to the massive Auchan superstore to stock up on more camping gear and our first round of booze to smuggle into the festival. I filled up an empty water bottle with vodka, security didn’t even question it! Early to bed in the hopes of one last decent sleep.
An early start to meet with my friend from Claridges and to stock up on food and more booze to smuggle in. Vodka in a listerine bottle mixed with green apple juice works a treat (though it does leave your vodka tasting minty fresh) as does walking straight through security with a flask in my shorts pocket and cider cans right at the bottom of my backpack (they were too overwhelmed with festival goers to thoroughly check everyones bags). We were IN! and ready to settle in, have a drink and get with the festival vibe. Hair braided and sziget cup (filled with possibly the best cider I’ve ever had) in hand, we went for a wander around the island to see what was happening. This festival is huge! I think by the end of the 5 days we’d seen everything, but even in 5 days we didn’t have enough time to EXPERIENCE everything. The music line up was big! The artists and bands we saw perform were:
- Ed Sheeran
- Ocean Alley
- Franz Ferdinand
- The 1975
- Tove Lo
- Martin Garrix
- Gang of Youths
- Xavier Rudd
- The National
- James Blake
- Years & Years
- Post Malone
By night we listened, sang, drank and danced along to these many amazing acts, by day we slept and experienced as much of the festival as possible. From circus performances to beach chills, morning yoga and listening to talks by Jane Goodall. We chilled out inside giant inflatable tunnels, wandered through the market stands and sunbaked whilst listening to random bands play. There was more to the nights then listening to bands, We watched fire twirlers and belly dancers perform, enjoyed an absolute ear banging from fireworks and drums and enjoyed midnight slices of pizza. The days and nights were filled with colour and sound, the island was a constant buzz.
It wasn’t all fun and games (ok, fine, it mostly was). There were many late nights with very little sleep. Stinking hot days with no relief and massive queues for the toilets and bars (which is why we went to the effort to bring alcohol in). There was certainly a learning curve and I know I’ll be much better prepared for going to a multi-day festival in the future. For example: setting up camp away from stages that have music banging out til 6 every morning. But, in all honesty, it was possibly one of the best weeks of my trip. Chilling outing, hanging out with mates, meeting new people and listening to some amazing music.