Hungarian summers are ultimately characterised by the never-ending inflow of – mostly British – tourists, ready to enjoy the sun, the cheap beer and the ‘sesh’. Yet Hungary has a lot more to offer than its popular festivals such as Volt, Balaton Sound or Sziget festival. For some authenticity, or for the even cheaper beer, Kafkadesk recommends leaving your comfort zone and visiting some of these smaller, less mainstream festivals instead.
Where? In the small village of Bánk, Nógrád country. 70 kilometres from Budapest.
When? 10 – 13 July
How much? A 4-day pass costs 26900 HUF (≈83 EUR), day tickets are 12500 HUF (≈38 EUR).
Reasons to go: Over the past years, Bánkitó, ‘Hungary’s biggest small festival’, has become the flagship event of Hungary’s alternative youth. Located in a quirky little village by the lakeside, Bánkitó truly combines party with culture; its emphasis on enhancing civil society through various discussions, exhibitions and interactive theatre, as well as its progressive, open-minded attitude towards contemporary Hungarian music, makes Bánkitó a genuinely unique addition to the Hungarian festival scene.
Where? Near Lake Balaton at Kapolcs, Veszprém county. 150 kilometres from Budapest.
When? 19 – 28 July festivals hungary
How much? A 10-day pass costs 39000 HUF (≈120 EUR), day tickets are 4500 HUF (≈14 EUR).
Reasons to go: Művészetek Völgye literally translates to the Valley of Arts, which probably says it all already. This 10-day-long celebration of alternative and folk music, as well as Hungarian traditional arts and drama, gives a peculiar insight into what Hungarian culture has got to offer. Visiting Kapolcs, a breathtaking little town surrounded by the hills of North Balaton, feels like going back in time without the impression of being outdated. Művészetek Völgye provides sophisticated fun for both younger and older generations, and it is particularly family-friendly.
Where? In Nagyharsány, Baranya county. 230 kilometres from Budapest.
When? 30 July – 3 August
How much? A 5-day pass costs 16000 HUF (≈50 EUR), day tickets are 4200 HUF (≈13 EUR).
Reasons to go: For an even more secluded experience, Kafkadesk highly recommends visiting Ördögkatlan, a theatre and music-based festival which used to be part of Művészetek Völgye until 2008. Its lineup aims to bring in a wide range of productions both locally and globally, to promote this relatively understated region of Hungary and to bring people together through culturally stimulating communal experiences. While Ördögkatlan is no doubt far from Budapest, it is definitely worth the ride.
Where? At lake Balaton, near Siófok. 100 kilometres from Budapest.
When? 3-11 August festivals hungary
How much? A pass costs 148 EUR. It does not offer day tickets.
Reasons to go: Samsara is all about community and spirituality. It can be described as the less mainstream and more relaxed version of the internationally well-know Ozora festival. If you’re into yoga and psychedelic music, Samsara is definitely for you. Here you are not only attending a festival but also become a member of an ‘international yoga village’, Samsaraland. It promises to bring together creative minds from all over the world, without the usual overcrowdedness of festivals. Children and dogs are also welcome.
By Zsofi Borsi
A Budapest-born politics and economics graduate of Durham University, UK, Zsofi Borsi wrote her thesis on conspiracy theories present in Hungarian online political discourse. Zsofi has worked as an intern at various political and non-governmental organisations in Hungary, such as Political Capital Research and Consultancy Institute, Tom Lantos Institute or Klubrádió. To check out her latest articles, it’s right here!