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Sziget aims to recover leading role in European festival circuit

Sziget Festival is the largest cultural product that Hungary has introduced over the past thirty years, and it is rolling out a number of novelties this year in an effort to recover its leading position in the European festival circuit, main organiser Tamas Kadar said on Tuesday.

Between August 10 and 15, the festival line-up will include performers from 62 countries on forty stages. The headliners will include Billie Eilish, who will perform in Hungary for the first time, as well as Florence and the Machine, Imagine Dragons, David Guetta, Mumford and Sons, Lorde and Macklemore.

The two-year hiatus caused by Covid resulted in losses of 2.2 billion forints (EUR 5.9m) for Sziget, which could be slightly made up for thanks to last year’s profits of 400 million forints, Kadar said.

Provisional ticket sales figures are highly encouraging, he said, adding that organisers were expecting the number of foreign visitors to “easily reach 100,000”, while the number of Hungarian festival-goers should be even higher. Kadar said there was a good chance that the days featuring Imagine Dragons, David Guetta and Billie Eilish would all be sellouts.

This year several new features will be introduced in terms of spectacle, catering services, sustainability and amenities, he added.

In response to a question from MTI, Kadar said that though he could not disclose specific figures, Sziget’s spending on headliners was constantly rising.

“Unlike elsewhere, booking fees in the music industry didn’t stop rising during Covid,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the festival’s second largest concert venue, the Freedom Tent, will see performances by Bonobo, Loyle Carner, Moderat, SG Lewis, and others. The Colosseum will feature a host of DJs, including Jeff Mills, Sven Vath and Dixon, he added.

Programme director Jozsef Kardos said in the Cirque du Soleil tent, visitors will be able to see Ukrainian circus students who have fled the war perform with Prague-based troupe Cirk La Putyka.

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