How we survived Sziget Festival, Budapest

The wonderful world of SZIGET music festival, Budapest. Where do I even begin? At the line up? The grounds? The performances? The food? Each little aspect of the 7 day festival well thought out, trippy, colorful and absolutely mind-blowing. Get a chance? Go! Click HERE for the website.

Photo cred not mine but how epic is this?!

After a shit show of an arrival at Budapest airport, Bryn and I waited in the wrong shuttle bus line for 2 hours only to find we could have gone to the line with no people. Classic. I was out of smiles, out of energy, out of patience and just wanted to get to our Airbnb to see the rest of the crew. 

We have an epic team of 6 people now – Ruby, Liv, Charlotte, Antonio (the one from straya mate), Bryn and I and we’re ready to party! But just before I take you through the festival, see the link to our Airbnb HERE. The place was sick! Sleeps 8 people comfortably, 10 if ya squish, has a good size bathroom, kitchen and lounge (where two of the fold out beds are) and has a cool interior with high ceilings, wall murals and funky furniture. It’s also super close to the metro station, a supermarket and cafes. Woo!

Right, now for the festival. A world of its own! A 7 day festival in Budapest, Hungary, which started 24 years ago and sees 300 000 like-minded people attend the festival across a week. We thought a whole week was ludicrous so we just did four days and it was perfect. Enough to see it all without ruining the old immune system. Though that’s ruined, even after the 4 days, but that’s besides the point. Anyway…its honestly a festival that’s whatever you make of it. You can bender right through if you want, jumping from stage to stage, dancing, yarning, getting shit faced and spending your days shriveled up in ya tent/accom. Or you can get all hippy on it and do yoga during the day, zen out in the tea and relaxation room, float your problems away in the healing room and finish with a circus show. Those are the two extremes really and we placed ourselves sorta on the bender end of it, with a touch of chill stuff in between.

Day 1: Gearing up and getting excited, tunes playing on the mini speaker, festy outfits on, alcohol going down as easy as water.


We decided to head in at 4pm (even tho things like yoga, Ted talks and other rad activities started at 9am and go right through the day) but like I said, we were sorta on the bender end of the scale. We caught the train from our accom, changing trains once and then just followed the crowds of young people clearly going to the same place we were. Not knowing a thing about how to get our wrist bands, how to pay for stuff once inside the festy, and not knowing the layout, it was a bit of a guessing game really. We finally learnt that you needed a festipay card which you load money onto, and use this when buying anything from inside the festival. So no, you can’t use cash. There are festipay booths all over the festival for you to reload or buy your cards. (Don’t go OTT on it, coz if you loose it and have money on it, your bad luck) So we topped it up daily when we first arrived at SZIGET. 

Right all the admin out of the way, let’s get our asses into the crowd to watch MO. With only a few songs of hers that I know and now sober after the admin on arrival, Bryn, Antonio and I ventured out to get drinks and exploooooore. This is my favorite part of festivals, roaming around on missions, finding buzzy shit to look at and finding random stages to have a boogie. With all the thousands of people, and with the sheer size of the festival, it’s no surprise that we lost Antonio, and by the time we got back to Naughty Boy who played after MO, the girls were already heading to the main stage for Rhianna. Finding a kiwi flag flying in the air, Bryn and I b-lined toward it, knowing that even though we probs didn’t know them, we could party with them no sweat. Kiwis at any festival join together, it’s epic! Banger after banger after banger, Rhianna was amazing, dunno if it was because we were on such a good buzz, but we loved it and afterwards took off to find random things to do.

Random thing number 1: walking down one of the paths filled with so many people and rows of food stalls, we came across a stage with about 100 people dancing their hearts out. Running in to join everyone, Bryn and I somehow connected with these 4 random guys. It was just one of those times where you don’t even know each other, but you become best mates straight away, arms around each other, singing and dancing like nothing else mattered. Probably was so cringe to anyone sober but we were well on our way so everything was goooooooooood.

Random thing number 2: we found this area with 4 huge, flax woven, egg-shaped sculptures. What? You’re thinkin… Okay I’ll try explain better. Think of an egg, now take out the yolk so it’s hollow. Then make it like 1000 times bigger so it’s gigantic. Now instead of the shell being the outside of the egg, it’s like a twining flax woven thingy where you can sorta see through it. Kapesh? We crawled into the egg through a little opening and sat inside for probably like an hour. Yarning, yarning, yarning, just Bryn and I, about everything and everything. A massive D&M that’s fo sho!

Random thing number 3: we came across another totally random stage, playing classic doof doof tunes like “everyday I’m shuffling” with about 30 people just going nuts. We joined in of course, a dance battle begun and I got myself in the middle, shuffling like the old days. Yayaaaaa! A conga line then started, so Bryn and I, along with about 30 randoms who were on the same buzz as us, did the conga around the stage then off to keep exploring.

Random thing number 4: finding the stripper stage was deffs a random one. Strippers, kinky dancers or something in between, we walked in hearing some seductive beats and saw a fairly large lady, ok no, a REALLY LARGE lady, who weighed no shit like 140kg dancing around a dude from the audience. He was on all fours, she was standing overtop of him, whipping him and shaking herself around. We got out real quick.

That was enough random things for one night, plus we were missing the team, so we headed back to our Airbnb in a taxi this time and this was a wayyy better call – we taxied in and out for the rest of the time. What a night!

Day 2: Hungover bunnies, we monged around the house alllllllll day. We really should have been out exploring, but we came for SZIGET, so we went all in on night number 1. This is standard festival eticate…you go too hard on the first night and wreck yourself for the rest. We never learn. We started getting our drank on a little too late due to harry the hangover but soon enough we were revved up and ready to go! 


We made a pact to stick together tonight, no one goes anywhere alone! We’re a team! In we roll, and straight to Bastille. From here I’m gonna be shit and recalling the events that happened, but know we had one hell of a night. From stage to stage, we were charging at full force and loving every second of the festival and of each other. 4am rolls around and we’re still there dancing, yarning, drinking and vibing, but we decide it’s probably time to head home. Sun rise coming up, which, when your on a bender, isn’t always the greatest thing to see but hey, we stuck to our pact and had an absolute blow out of a night.


Day 3: Wholey, we’re all a bit dumb today! Waking up at like midday, we wait for 3 new crew members to arrive! Dani, Logan and Bex have come over for the weekend so the team of 6 has jumped to 9! Fortunately for us, we decided not to buy SZIGET tickets for the 13th…line up was ave and we thought a break would do us some good. Should really have been a day for exploring Budapest, but no we slept, ate, watched tv and slept some more.

That night we headed out to the ruin pubs to check them out. If you dont know what I’m on about, these are abandon buildings (ruins) that have been converted into low-key pubs and are now major attractions in Budapest. If you’re there, make sure you go to some. We went to Szimpla Kert, one of the best and well-known ruin pubs in Budapest. Funky, strange and discarded furniture stacked all over the place. On the walls, on the roof and everywhere in between, it’s really buzzy and super creative. The night ended with a Pad Thai noodle dish then it was home for sleep.

Not my photo but what a shot!

Day 4: Dani wanted to go to Budapest’s New York Cafe. It’s a gigantic absolutely beautiful cafe that’s been awarded the most beautiful cafe in the world. If you can imagine how funny a bunch of travelers in a pretty formal cafe is, then your bang on but it was fun. An omelette and a coffee later, we were satisfied and headed home to start drinking.

Pretty sick lineup tonight! Sum41, which I think takes everyone back to their teen days of watching American Pie, Tinie Tempah, David Guetta, M83 and Troi Boi just to name a few. We were amped with our crew of 9, and taxied into SZIGET around 3:30. We headed for TANK bar and this is pretty much where a bunch of kiwis would hangout, drink, meet up or catch up.


The sun felt ten times hotter today and we were sooooooooooooo sweaty even before Sum41 started but that didn’t stop us! Sum41 felt super nostalgic for me and reminded me of my brother big time. He still to this day cranks them in his car and we sing all the words or play air drums as we drive along.

“Cause I’m in too deep, and I’m trying to keep,
Up above in my head, instead of going under.” – So cool!

The Pom Pom party was at 7pm and Logan (the go pro man) had already envisioned his next shot. We ran through the crowd towards the stage at like 6:55, Dani running behind with the GoPro. Logan literally hurdled Bryn and leaped onto his shoulders, kiwi flag in hand. He got the shot, see for yourself…


Seeing a huge kiwi flag at a festival is epic, there’s no doubt about it. You get a sudden urge of kiwi pride and gravitate towards it. We did this after the Pom Pom party and who do we find? Another big crew of people we know from home so our crew has doubled and Tinie Tempah is about to start! From start to finish he played all his best tunes it was insane – our favorite act of SZIGET so far. Dani and I up on the boys shoulders for our favorite song and so many memories of our teenage days.

He plays “tsunami”, the last song of his set and does something pretty insane. When the beat drops everyone, I’m talking everyone, like 50k people start jumping to the left. The whole crowd moves as one jumping across to the side, we’re all looking at each other laughing and screaming, salmoning our way across the floor. Next beat drop, we move to the right, then again left, then again right. As you can imagine, we were literally a huge mosh moving 8 jumps to the left then 8 jumps to the right. It was epic! Ruby happened to be on one of the boys shoulders at this very moment and she was in hysterics, one of the few times she gets up on shoulders then this happens! Honestly so funny I’ll never forget it!


Old Guetta followed with a pretty awesome set, he’s always good for some bangers! And then we were off to roam around the festival. We ate some food and literally walked an entire loop of the festival and jeez you realize how big the place really is. So many little stages and market stalls that we hadn’t even seen yet. Tattoo stalls, piercing stalls, an art zone, a place to get married even! As well as rides, coz who doesn’t love a good ride when your wasted at a festival! I take my hat of to you SZIGET, you’ve thought of everything.

Day 5: Oh no, last day of the festival for us! This was sad but we were also sorta stoked because that festival cough had arrived in full force. Our immune systems were officially on overdrive, come on immune system, just one more night! God were old…

Before we started getting on the piss, Bryn and I headed into the City to at least see some of what Budapest had to offer. Freedom Bridge, also often called  Liberty Bridge was on the top of the list so we set off via the metro (use this in Budapest it’s super easy and cheap as chips!). Freedom Bridge is a footbridge, the third built in Budapest that goes over the river Danube. No cars allowed and creativity encouraged, you can walk up the sides of the bridge, dangle your feet off and just chill out. Or you can draw with chalk anywhere on the road under the bridge. It’s pretty special I have to say, but time wasn’t on our side and we needed to get back to the Airbnb to get the party started.


When we arrived at SZIGET, wed just bloody missed the Kaiser Cheifs who play “Ruby ruby Ruby Ruby” and we were gutted! We literally had a Ruby and that moment would have been brilliant! Dammit, too much pre drinking, not enough time management. We headed to the boiler room for CHVRCHES and danced around like fairys and again here’s where the night becomes a blur for me. Whoops. 

We all made our way to the main stage for Sia and I had no expectations here. I know her songs, I know she never really shows her face, I know she uses that little incredible dancer Maddie. And that’s about it…but boy ive been converted. She was AMAZING. Such a professional and inspiring performance. It felt like we’d come to her show instead of a festival act. The lighting, the set and the performers all working together to look like her video clips. Big ups to her it was wicked.


The joke of the night was Sia then Seeya. We all had an early flight the next morn, so after watching Sia, we literally said seeya to SZIGET. Walking out of the festival, looking around for one last time, it’s the same old feeling leaving any epic festival.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat, and if you’ve got a bucket list, send this one to the top. 

Leah | free & addicted



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