Last year I went to Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary 2016 with the 7day pass. And there is definitely a few things I wish I had known prior to going so here are a few tips & tricks.
1- Get a camping upgrade (If you plan on camping).
I myself stayed in the Siesta upgrade and was grateful I did. As with Siesta camping you get proper toilets and showers which are regularly cleaned, charging points, a guarded entrance with security which is only for the people with “Siesta” wristbands that they check. Which is also pretty well situated (10min walk to Main stage) and the camp area is surrounded by tree’s so there’s plenty of shade which is great for morning’s when you’re trine get extra sleep.
Don’t get me wrong you can obviously set up your own tents around the festival grounds in the public area for nothing extra but from what I noticed last year, there was a lot of tents (more so near the main stages) that were getting trampled on by people from being in the way. And you have to share toilets and showers with everybody else at the festival, so they aren’t as clean and you have to que in line for longer, as well as having no security so no one really looking out for your tents or belongings.
2- Supply your own tent (If you are camping)
I only say this because last year when my brother and I arrived, I kid you not we were stuck in a que for 5hours to wait and get our prepaid tent we ordered extra with the ticket, not to mention the first afternoon it was raining for at least 4 hours of that. And also because they’re not very big tents especially if you have luggage with you, it will fit two people but not your bags. However there is storage at the front for Upgrade camping and VIP camping, still can be a hassle walking all the way there each time to get your stuff. So Id recommend taking your own tent before coming in to avoid a queue and to get a bigger size tent. There is a lot of nearby shops from the grounds where you can buy tents from as well like auchan.
3 – You don’t have to camp
Camping can be easy and fun and you’re definitely deeper in the festival without having to worry about getting to and from and queuing each time you arrive. But there is still a lot of cheap accommodation around Budapest which I wish I had booked myself a room on the first and last day especially. Just because the weather can be crazy and 7days at a festival surrounded by thousands and thousands can be too much, sometimes you need to just chill. And the last morning can be a bit of a struggle packing up everything especially if hungover, so going back to a hotel or Airbnb can be a lot nicer. Something I wish we had done, as it started pouring down rain from 6am onwards we are lucky I checked the weather app and has up and gone before the torrential rain hit.
4- Dont stress about money
The price of things can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the Hungarian currency but theres no money exchanging hands at Sziget Festival. Once you enter the grounds you need to buy a Sziget Festival money pass and top up as you go. Once you buy the pass you put a deposit on the card and top up as you go. The top up places are located everywhere around the grounds, but you wanna put as much on your card as you think you will use to avoid going back to queue. Each time you purchase something from the grounds after you pay pass it will show you how much is remaining on your card.
5- You can sneak booze in
Apart from the first day they seemed chill with the security checks. They do generally have a quick glance at your bag but it is possible to smuggle some alcohol into the festival. I snuck a bottle of Sangria in on the first day by shoving it down in my big backpacker bag so they never thoroughly checked it 😉 As well as another day I snuck some Malibu into a water bottle in, this was pure luck as this day they were checking everyones bag a lot more, and I did see security throwing peoples alcohol out if it was obvious, so I wasn’t sure if id get it in this time. But some how I’m really not sure how, but I got it in even after he picked up my water bottle shook it (It bubbled) and smelt it and had 3 other security guys smell it all very confused, they let me through haha just be smart about it. But aside from that you can pre drink up until the gates as street drinking is legal there.
6- The food is amazing lots of choices.
There are hundreds of food trucks located around the grounds with food from different countries all over the world from choices between hot foods, desserts, fruits, healthier choices and all your drinks etc. Aside from that there are supermarkets close by from outside of the Festival grounds which are easy enough to get to and bring back inside.
Tip – Try not to eat around 6-8 as the queues to the food trucks can be pretty insane as everyone is hungry around this time.
7-Explore around the festival grounds during the day.
There is so much to do from amazing arts, to circus and cultural shows, to yoga classes to different sports to even getting your hair and make up done and everything is FREE! Sziget has so much more to offer than just music!
8- Buy a Sziget-Budapest city pass
If you plan on not staying at the festival grounds or travelling around Budapest a lot during the festival i definitely recommend one of these, you can buy the pass from 2-13 days and it covers all transport, discounted spa and beach entry, free boat passes as well as other discounted stuff.
9 – Everyone is really friendly!
Everyone here is generally just here for a good time, I didn’t see one fight during the whole time I was there. People come from all over the world usually with there flags or patriotic face painting, but everyone is just here to have a good time. Its a great atmosphere!
10- Learn some basic Hungarian
It’s not an easy language by no means haha! But here are some basic words that you can use, especially for the workers behind the bar and food stalls, who are generally Hungarian.
- Hello – Szia
- Cheers – Egészségedre
- Thanks – Köszi
- Kiss – Puszi
- Please -kérem
- Wine – Bor
- Beer -sör
- Cocktail -koktél
Also try the traditional Hungarian drinks Pálinka &Fröccs while you’re there!
Extra helpful things:
- Bring your countries flag if you can for the Flag party, its more fun when you have your countries flag in the middle of everybody else flags. (We forgot ours)
- Find where the T-Mobile set-up is, last year it was near the VIP entry. They let you charge your phone, go pros or any of those things for free and they have a cool little set up with music and comfy chairs. A lot of the other places will charge you, and there are queue’s.
- Get a casual simcard for data from one of the phone shops (There is 3 different phone stores in auchan which is a 10min walk from the entrance) As the wifi isn’t always great everywhere you go in the grounds, you can get some cheap deals around this time too.
- Pack a raincoat if you remember, there is a good chance you will get some rain, they supply some raincoats sometimes but its first in best dress!