Sziget 2006: When the Music's Over

August 22, 2006

The familiar mood of ecstatic cheer on 160 acres, 66 venues, 30.000 squaremeters of camping site and 3.500 squaremeters of stage area, 500 domestic and 250 foreign performers from 44 countries. This is the evaluation of Sziget 2006 in terms of figures. The closing day of the fourteenth Sziget-festival was full-house thus outdoing last year’s all time high of 385.000 visitors.

Sziget 2006 boasted the most various programme-schedule of its entire history. The colourful feast included street and dance theatres, ballet-dancing, acrobats and puppetry as well in addition to the customary presence of bands and DJs.

Out of all foreign countries it was Great-Britain that gave the most performers, that is 42 altogether. Unfortunately, the performances of two of the originally scheduled 44 performers had to be called off because of the terrorist attempts in London, so we had to miss Gomez and Coldcut. We did, however, enjoy the gigs of Placebo, Franz Ferdinand, Prodigy, Robert Plant and Radiohead who actually took an extra jet to manage to come and play Sziget. The US „dispatched” 24 groups including Iggy And The Stooges, The Scissor Sisters, Sick Of It All and Living Colour, to name but a few. 26 German and 24 French performers represented their homecountries. Mali was represented by Toumani Diabate, the King of Khora. Columbians Leonor Dely and Tumba y Quema Colombian Music Drums performed at Afro-Latin Stage. We even had guests from India: Angika Dance Company and Jayanthi Subramaniam. Three Japanese companies performed at MTV Theatre And Dance Acts Tent, we had a guest from Perou let alone the Venesuelan artists at Coxpon Ambient Tent or the Cuban dance-artists in Magic Mirror.

The Brief History of Sziget Week

Days 0-1

More than 70 percent of the camping-weekly holders had set up their tents on day zero. Glen Matlock’s „Pretty Vacant” was the kick-off for the Main Stage programme at Sziget 2006 while the first day-show was topped by the performance of Franz Ferdinand. Robert Plant ravished his audience at World Music Stage while Cradle Of Filth rampaged at Hammerworld Stage. Sziget started off scone-hot: 45.000 people gathered together.

Opening day saw Sziget Kulturalis Szervezoiroda and Alom Sziget 2004 Real Estate Ltd. sign a cooperation statement in which the company guarantees to enable a smooth festival procedure regardless of the huge investment taking place on the southern part of the island. The document also declares that both of the contracting parties intend to make Hajogyari-sziget a cultural centre of the third district of Budapest. Karoly Gerendai, who signed the declaration on the part of Sziget Office, stated that the investment seems favourable for Sziget in several respects: the renovation of the pedestrian (K) bridge had long been wished for while the hotels to-be-built will offer quality accomodation for performing artists.

Day 2

On the second day a real festive mood dominated Sziget. Jovanotti entertained a crowd of 25.000 at Main Stage while Goran Bregovic has had some 12.000 people dancing in front of pannon World Music. Altogether, 46-000 visitors enjoyed the „Sziget feeling” on the second day of the festival.

Day 3

50.000 visitors enjoyed one or other of the 200 programmes on Friday. Nearly 30.000 people gathered to see the exciting, funny sexy and groovy performance of Scissor Sisters in front of 14-metre high and 84 squaremetre large Main Stage.

Day 4

Author of „Rebeka, my Puppy”, „Tiny Stream” and other blissfully classical pieces Benedek Uhrin, a.k.a. „The Master” has lost his way in the cultural jungle of Sziget. The 80 years old star could not find his stage unlike the crowd of fifty-thousand who knew exactly where Radiohead’s concert is at. Everyone else were having a good time, too. On the fourth day 63.000 people visited Sziget festival. Radiohead’s two-hours long concert surely won them a place among the very best in Sziget history. A few minutes past 7 PM organizers of CowParadeBudapest succeeded in completing the world’s largest mosaic that displays a cow, with the help of 1700 volunteers. The feat celebrated the 102nd birthday of Hungarian senior-painter Tamas Lossonczy.

Day 5

Sziget attracted 55.000 visitors on the last day of the week. Beside the main musical acts the audience were keen on other cultural events as well. The weekend’s big sensation was the German Theater Titanic who performed at the Big Street Theatres venue.

Day 6

„We’re glad to be here!” – shouted out to the crowds Beatsteaks’ frontman launching the sixth day with his strong German accent. A total of 61.000 guests had the pleasure of spending their time on Sziget on Monday. Placebo’s Main Stage gig was a full house show with 50.000 viewers while it was impossible to approach Hammerworld venue when The Exploited played. Three times more fans were stuck outside the doors than those who raved in the tent. Romani Tent was bunched while Parno Graszt were playing. The pride of village Paszab surely attracted far more people than the number of inhabitants in the band’s countryside home.

Day 7

The closing day still had several grand feats in store: Iggy And The Stooges and Prodigy on Main Stage, Gogol Bordello on WAN2 Stage and the habitual closing gig by Sziami at Bahia Stage. You also had the option of observing sheep due to Canadian street artists’ crew Corpus whose unique live-installation was displayed mixing reality and fiction with pastoral scenes before a typically urban scenery.


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