Often labelled as Europe's version of Burning Man, this weeklong music festival takes over an island on the Danube with music and food and art. Denise and I joined in today for the final day of the party. And what a mother effin' party it was!!!
We decided to take the boat transfer and got a bonus tour of the Danube along the way. Lovely and peaceful, but we got a fabulous view of the city from the water. Budapest is quite simply gorgeous. This took us about 45 minutes, but was so well worth the time and have us a bit of peace before the wildlife on the island.
We wandered around for the afternoon and got our bearings, along with a beer, and just explored the place. Many people camp there for the duration and the little tent villages create a fascinating community. And scattered everywhere are wonderful art installations people have created. Huge robot looking structures, treehouses, metal dragons, archways made of thousands of tiny white lights... You name it, it was likely there. Merchandise and food stalls line many of the pathways as well.
More notably, the vibe was incredible. While the crowd was mostly 20 something's, there were also many older people that have likely been attending since the festival started in the 80's as a student support to the fall of communism. For all the liquor that was being consumed we didn't see a single fight or any issues. It was the island of freedom and everyone was just having an amazing time and enjoying themselves. Flags from all over the world were flown in the crowd and I think I heard about half of the languages spoken on the planet. Capacity of the island is 70,000 people and I expect they got fairly close to that.
After a wander, Denise and I decided to take to the Skybar. A platform bar that is lifted about 50 meters in the air where you can enjoy the view of the island and a tasty cocktail. We were strapped in of course, but it was still got the blood pumping.
Shortly after, the bands started taking to the main pop/rock stage and one of my fav groups were performing - the Kooks!!! A UK band of lads that whipped the crowd into a very happy state and we got in fairly close for that show. After they played, there was a 'serpentine party' and the revelers threw 100,000 paper streamers into the air. It was so fun!!!
We then went on the search for food and wouldn't you know it, we located the Langos stall!! So we hossed down on more fired bread and sour cream and cheese. Those things are just too freaking tasty for my own good. Another beer and we headed back to the stage to catch the next band Outkast. Who had the crowd gyrating with a few of their old hits, Ooh Yeah, Caroline, I'm Sorry Miss Jackson and Roses (really smell like poopoopoo).
And the last one to take to the main stage was the DJ Calvin Harris. If I thought the crowd was insane before, he kicked it up about 20 more notches. Everyone, I mean everyone, was jumping, hands up, dancing and laughing. It was a powerful and soul infecting energy. With glow sticks. Ya sure, some over zealous girl step on my ankle twice, but what's a festival without a good bruise to show for it? Fire balls jumped from the stage, and fireworks shot from the top of the bandstand. Oh and the lasers... It was one serious show! And it all wrapped up around 11 with a massive fireworks show to close out the week. Well kind of close it out, some of the smaller stages were going until 5:30 in the morning.
It was just an insanely jaw dropping amazing day. Denise could not stop smiling and even broke into tears of joy on the tram home. But that might have also had something to do with the view of the Danube and the city lit up at night. It's like a postcard in real life.
I really don't have the words to explain how wonderful this day was. Sziget. Thank you!!