Vlada Sahovic

For all who intend to spend their summer in Europe, and more specifically for those who spend their summer in Hungary, do not despair! There are still plenty of fun activities on the repertoire.

Now by activities I don’t mean cycling, jogging, or anything similar; it would be troubling to think that you would need an article to give you such ideas. I mean proper fun, no mucking about.

Hungary has a wide variety of music festivals throughout year, but it is only during the summer that the biggest festivals occur. Although I should logically leave Sziget, the biggest festival, for last – for the sake of chronological order – its size compels me to mention it first.

Sziget takes place August 10-15 and has just the right amount of mainstream, fair amount of underground, quite a bit of indie and rock, a lot of world music, and a Roma tent (which I find excellent because the Roma are rather excluded in the Hungarian community). Big names such as Amy Winehouse, Interpol, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Kasabian, Defftones, Chemical Brothers and others will be performing, so if you don’t mind investing approximately 200 euros in partying, good fun is promised. Also, there are many other seminars and activities you can participate in, so if you are not THAT much of a party animal, you can also check that out.

Two other similar festivals you might want to check out are Volt and Balaton Sound. Volt offers a variety of different music genres as well, and looks much more appealing to yours truly. Artists like Paul Kalkenbrener, My Chemical Romance, Moby, Pendulum, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dub FX (!), M.A.N.D.Y. (!), Nouvelle Vague (!), Asian Dub Foundation (!) will be taking some time out of the studio to provide you with a good time at Sopron, from June 29 ‘till July 2. If that leaves you thirsty for more jumping, screaming and dancing, no worries, for Balaton Sound starts only a few days later (July 7-10). Now this festival is strictly electronic but it offers a wide range of different sounds, from the mastery and trickery of DJ Krush, to the more popular (I suppose) sound of David Guetta; from the oh-so-refined sound of Portishead to the old school dirty Detroit house sound of Jeff Mills; from the melodic musical experience which is Thievery Corporation to the new-age poetry of Snoop Dogg. This one you would not want to miss. The only unfortunate thing about this festival is that it takes place at the same as Exit festival in Serbia, but I’ll leave that part to my co-writer, Mr. Djokic.

Seeing as tastes differ and as these might not be sufficient to satisfy everyone’s, I thought I might also mention Ozora.

Ozora is a festival which usually takes place some 100 kilometers from Budapest, as it also does this year, and it will take place between the 2nd and 7th of August. Now Ozora is a bit more underground than I would care to explain via this media; it is a psy-trance/goa festival. I do not know if naming any performers is going to be of any use, but I know that most people are fond of new experiences and this one is guaranteed to leave a mark. For more information visit http://ozorafestival.eu/2011/.

I wish you all a fun summer and I hope you manage to make some use of this article. Behave! and see you next semester ;)

Exit Hungary, enter Serbia for festival frenzy

Nikola Djokic

If you are interested in a Balkan adventure, be sure to check out Exit festival, which is taking place at the same time as Balaton Sound. Because the latter is more focused on electronic music, it would be better to compare Exit with the Sziget festival.

The festivals 10+ stages are set on a medieval castle on a hill overlooking the river Danube, the Petrovaradin fortress, in Serbia’s second biggest city, Novi Sad. The festival, which started out as student protest against dictator Slobodan Milosevic, has developed over the years into one of the biggest festivals in Europe, and was even awarded Best European Festival in 2007. Today, foreign visitors outnumber the home crowd, mainly because of the considerably lower cost of tickets & accomodation in comparison with other festivals.

If you fancy some of this year’s main stage acts such as Jamiroquai, Arcade Fire, Portishead, Bad Religion, and House of Pain, with more acts to be announced, do not hesitate to drop 110 euros for a 4-day ticket. The legendary star-shaped, electronic-oriented Dance Arena brings us the likes of Underworld, Groove Armada, Deadmau5, Fedde le Grand, Tiga and many more. Unofficially, one of my favorite Swedish DJs Axwell is expected to be announced any day which is a deal breaker for me personally :)

But what’s in it for you? What sets this festival apart from countless others? Well to mention Novi Sad again, the charm and appeal of the city full of tourists, and the atmosphere on the castle itself, but also one more thing – party not until, but AFTER sunrise. The party never stops – the main acts on the main stage usually start at midnight or at 01:00, and the best sets on the Dance Arena are the ones where midway through the sun sets out and brings even more energy and positive feelings to the crowd and the performers as well.

Expect at least a couple of days of recovery after the festival because you will experience something what I call “the Exit jet lag”.