We awoke to the beginnings of the sweltering Hungarian heat. Our little cabin unlike most of the rest of the campsite was not under the shade of the trees in the Siesta camp zone. The island had free camping but for an extra fee you could pay for an area to camp in that had its own toilets and showers that were cleaned regularly. YAY! This was by far worth the extra we paid! The campsites also had the option of spending more on a pre setup tent or cabin. We opted for a cabin but instead had a small wooden oven at nine in the morning. Today was our first official day of Sziget festival and the sweltering temperatures were the decider it was time to get out of bed. Rather then suffer in the heat we decided we would go check out some of the island we hadn’t seen the previous day which included the beach zone.
At the far end of the island is Sziget’s Cökxpon chill garden which through the week held a number of daily workshops. And had an enormous amount of shade to escape the heat! I personally wanted to cool off on the water, unfortunately for me to keep the island secure for festival goes and to stop drunkards drowning the water was cordoned off after the first half meter. I did get in anyway in a most ungraceful belly flop to try and get myself into the cold water without chickening out. ( I had already spent a good 10 minutes cringing at knee height and Royce telling me not to be a pussy. Might note he didn’t get in….) Like most cold water it was great once I was actually in. Royce and I also had a short yoga session while the beach was empty, we have been attempting couples yoga which normally results in me ended up face first on the floor. Our beach session therefore was much more reeled in as the stones weren’t as soft as couch cushions and I didn’t want gravel rash.
After a chill morning relaxing on the beach we wondered around and explored a little more before heading to the main stage at about 4pm. Tonight was Ed Shearan the act I initially came to see and I was pretty adamant I wanted to be up close. We were super organised and packed a backpack full of snacks and water and sat down with our earplugs in jamming out to the opening acts awaiting the ginger-headed star of the show.
Well I waited anyway, Royce was off playing chess for the first few hours of music while I camped out behind the second barrier. The front area of the stage had been split off into a t-shaped zone so the middle areas were free for staff to walk up and down.
The best thing you can possibly do at a camp out to see an act at a festival is to make friends with your neighboring festival goers. The fifty pack of earplugs we had brought at the hardware store before leaving England did the trick and the number of people also camped out with me to see Ed were very grateful I was sharing them around. It also made it much easier to get back to my spot when Royce finally got back so I could run away for a toilet break!
The festival was opened by Useme a Hungarian rock band and winners of the 2019 Nagy-Szín-Pad competition. A great way to kick off the festival, they were followed by Michael Kiwanuka from the UK. From there an intermission followed and the island of freedom introduced the Superar choir. Superar is an initiative not just in Hungary but also around 26 other nations. Its aim is to bring music making and art to the underprivileged and remove boundaries by having the songs the children learn the same everywhere. All the children learn songs in a couple of different languages so not only is the program giving them confidence and creativity it also helps them build bridges of communication through language. The Choir sang a couple of songs including a beautiful rendition of Ed Shearan’s “What do I know.” Which happens to be one of my favourite songs!
Next up was French artist Jurain. She got the crowd pumping and jumping and thoroughly hyped up for the next act, if you enjoy club beats go check out some of her music. The music wasn’t my scene personally, I’m not a techno fan but her energy was on point and the crowd loved her. Finally the long wait had come to an end. Unfortunately for some that wait had been to much and a number of people were pulled out of the front mosh pit due to overheating. The staff were doing the best they could handing out cups of water to those of us that had been waiting it out, but the day had been exceptionally warm and the night no less so. We were being super considerate front row people and handing around our handheld fan and passing the cups of water back two or three rows at a time. Incidentally we had plenty of room in our corner of barrier.
Finally the sun had set, the stage had been renovated for the last time that night and up came the roar of the crowd as Ed walked onto stage. He charged straight into the music with Castle on the hill. The thousands of people out to see him calling out the lyrics along with him. This carried on for the whole hour and a half set. Ed Jamming his stomp box the crowd singing along with him. It was an amazing experience and definitely worth the wait to be close enough to see him strum that guitar. I sang along with every song he played, and absolutely loved being able to see I see fire and Bloodstream live. For a one man band he sure knows how to work a crowd! At the end of the first official day, my Sziget festival had already been made.
Thanks for tuning in and keeping up with our out the gate adventuring. Don’t forget if you haven’t already; join the flock! And hit the like button. See you next time for why I emptied a bottle of mosquito repellent in our cabin!