Last year I went to Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary. I have compiled a few tips and things I wish I had known or thought of beforehand.
Get a camping upgrade
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem slumming it but for €80 (it was €65 last year) the camping upgrade is well worth it. I got the Siesta upgrade and was very grateful that I did. My friends who have been to countless European festivals felt the same way. With Siesta camping you get proper toilets which are regularly cleaned, showers, a charging point, and a ‘guarded’ entrance. It’s pretty well situated (about 10/15 minutes from the Main Stage) and the area is covered with trees so there’s plenty of shade which is great in the morning when you’re still trying to sleep but the sun is beaming down. The shower queues were never more than 10 minutes and if you get up earlyish there’s no queue at all. The queues for the showers in the regular camping looked terrible and people’s tents were right next to all the paths around the festival.
Plan a day off
Unless you are the ultimate festival veteran, you will probably need a day off to chill out and lay of the alcohol. It’s good to plan a day that you can just relax at the festival or head out to one of Budapest’s famous spas where you can get an extra good shower. Then consider heading out for dinner or lunch after. Budapest is really beautiful so I recommend seeing a bit of it. If you buy a Citypass ticket you can get free/discounted spa access. I went to Sziget for 5 days last year so I got two two-day Citypass tickets (€12 each) rather than a 13 day one (€33).
2. If you can’t hack the sesh, plan a night away
Some friends were staying in an AirBnB close by so I stayed there on the third night just to recharge a bit and it really helped me to enjoy my last few days more. You can get hostels and hotels unbelievably cheap in Budapest so if you’re someone who needs your sleep it could be a good idea to get a hostel or hotel for a night. After 3 nights of about 2-3 hours sleep, the little wooden bed I had to sleep in felt like heaven.
4. Read the programme well
There are some unbelievable arts, circus and cultural shows in the evenings at Sziget. Everything is free and some of them were highlights of the whole festival for me. I even went to see one of them twice. There’s plenty of dance classes and weird and wonderful things to do during the day so think about trying something new. Sziget has so much more to offer than just music.
6. Sleep in the chill zone
If your tent is soaked or your neighbours are awful just take a sleeping bag and pillow down to the chill zone (I’m not sure if that’s officially what it’s called but you’ll know it when you see it). It’s on the other end of the island to the main stages. Late at night everyone just goes there to flake or come down from a high and it’s weirdly peaceful. On the last night we packed up our bags and tents as we were leaving early the next day. We slept in the chill zone that night and there was practically a storm. If I was in my tent I would have been soaked but there’s plenty of covered areas there and it can be a good place to get some sleep.If you go in a group you can all huddle like penguins and it’s very comfortable. I wish I had slept there more often during the festival.
7. It’s not too hard to sneak drink in
Drinks in Sziget aren’t expensive but if you want to try sneak drink in it’s definitely possible if you use small bottles. The day I arrived, security just stuck their hand into my backpack but if you hide alcohol amongst everything else or in shoes you might get away with it. During the festival it’s just if you’re lucky or not.
8. Packing suggestions
- A watch (phone battery is precious)
- An eye mask for sleeping
- Hand Sanitiser (nb nb nb)
- Clothes for all weather
- A power bank (or two) – you have to stand with your phone at the charging station along with about 25 others.
9. Have a costume day
Loads of groups do this. You’ll see superheroes or Pokemon running around on random days! We were a bit disorganised but managed to put tennis players together last minute.
Thanks for reading 🙂