There’s Something For Everyone At Sziget Festival, Even People Who Hate Festivals….

From sunshine to clean loos, it's not the typical music festival us Irish are used to

People usually fall into one of two camps, those who love festivals, will happily camp and be filthy for a weekend as long as they have a good time, and those who declare that they absolutely despise musical festivals. Sziget however, is for all types of people, even those who think they’d hate it. 

Located on Obuda Island in Budapest, Hungary the music festival is six days long. I headed out this year to see what why so many people make the trek from Ireland every summer. Sziget is in the same vein as Electric Picnic, in terms of size, lineup and events across the festival. 

After a pretty miserable summer in Ireland, it was a delight to be guaranteed good weather during the gigs. However, I wasn’t quite prepared for how hot it was. Thankfully the festival is on the ball with various water re-fill stations around the festival, as well as fans and mist-sprayers throughout for a burst of refreshment whenever it gets too hot. 

We opted to stay in Pest rather than camp on-site. I don’t mind camping, but the effort of lugging over tents and gear, along with the appeal of a cosy bed each night, meant that a hotel was much more enticing. The Novotel Danube is about 25 minutes door-to-door to the festival by tram, making it easy to get in and out at any time of day. We opted to explore Budapest during the day, visiting the beautiful parks, museums, and bustling cafes before dancing the night away.

We opted for a Sziget City Pass, which is a wristband you can buy to use on all public transport and some tourist spots too. It starts at €45 for a 3-day pass and just means you can hop on and off trams, buses and get around without having to fiddle with ticket machines or buy a ticket each time you travel. You can also get discounts on attractions and restaurants.

The City Pass allows one free entry to a thermal bath, which Budapest is famous for. It was a no-brainer to avail of the stunning Széchenyi Thermal Baths to revive ourselves during the day before heading back into the gigs each evening. 


The headliners were a mix of pop stars and guaranteed crowd-pleasers, including Sam Fender, Niall Horan, Florence & The Machine and Imagine Dragons. Sadly as we flew in on Saturday night we missed the aforementioned acts, but make it in time for American indie pop brothers AJR on our first evening. They were followed by Arlo Parks and Mumford and Sons and each brought high-energy, passionate performances to the stage. 

As it was our first night, we explored the rest of the festival. It’s huge, spread out, and you will get lost, so make use of the efficient Sziget app, which provides you with a timetable of events, a breakdown of the venues and most importantly, an interactive map to help you on your way. 

Of all the venues across the week, Magic Mirror is a definite stand out, the LGBTQ+ stage features drag shows, panels, music and movies in a beautiful cabin filled with stained glass windows and comfortable seating. The queue for which was out the door every night. The Cirque du Sziget was also an incredible circus tent, with jaw-dropping performances, one of which was Cirk La Putyka. A group made up of Ukranian and Czech young people who all have incredible strength, both physically and mentally. The stunts and acrobatics had me audibly gasping, while the show also includes snippets of the war, and their hope for peace.

The Global Village was another highlight, with music from all over the world getting a spotlight, and Dundalk’s own Mary Wallopers brought the house down on the All Europe Stage. 

Across the weekend, Macklemore brought the house down, I was reminded of just how good Lorde is, while Billie Eilish attracted thousands of adoring teens to the final day of the festival. 

The only downside to the festival was the price of food and drink, as Budapest is quite an affordable city, it seems particularly costly to hand over the equivalent of €13 for a ‘strong’ drink such as gin and tonic. You’re not allowed to bring your own drink in, which could make the weekend pretty pricey if you plan on drinking throughout your time there. 

As we had a VIP pass we might have been a little spoiled in terms of the usual festival struggles, we got in quicker through a different entrance, and had perfect views from the VIP area, as well as free wifi and lockers. But honestly, the festival in general didn’t have the usual issues you might associate with festivals. There were never any queues for food or drink, because there are so many stalls, and almost all of the toilets are proper, actual functioning loos, with toilet paper and sinks! In fact, of the few porta-loos at the event, one is in fact a secret portal into a party, so make sure to keep your eye out for that one if you head next year. From the toilet set-up to the reusable cup policy, the festival overall is far cleaner than what might usually come to mind when you think of a 6-day party with over 90,000 people! 

If you love festivals, you’ll adore Sziget, but even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t ‘do’ festivals, I’m willing to bet you’ll find something to love about the sun and the fun at Sziget. 



Sziget festival will come back to the Island of Freedom, Budapest between the 7th – 12th of August 2024.
A special Sziget 2024 tickets flash sale will start at 7pm BST on Thursday 17th of August 2023 until 7pm on Saturday 19th of August

2024 Ticket Early Bird prices:
  • 6 days general admission at €239
  • 6 days VIP at €459
  • 6 days for 21-year-olds & under at €179