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Festival Guide 2018: Everything You Need to Know About Hungary’s Biggest Summer Events

By Fanni Kaszás // 2018.03.08.

Every year many enticing events attract crowds of visitors from the country and from abroad – and now, we have collected the greatest music, gastronomy and art festivals of Hungary and everything you need to know about them in one place.

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Gourmet Festival

Gourmet Festival, Hungary’s most prestigious gastro-festival, takes place every year during Pentecost weekend in Budapest. Visitors can find the best restaurants, wineries, confectioneries and the best international and Hungarian chefs among the exhibitors, learn about Hungarian gastronomy, and participate in food and drink tastings.

Where: Budapest, Millenáris

When: 17-20 May, 2018

Ticket: 8600 HUF (28 EUR)

photo: Gourmet Festival

 

Budapest Spring Festival

The 38th annual Budapest Spring Festival (BSF) offers more than 150 cultural programs at 40 venues across Budapest. Over the last few decades, BSF has become one of the most important art festivals of Central Europe, and offers a diverse range of programs for guests, including classical concerts, operas, pop, jazz, and folk concerts, as well as contemporary and folk-dance performances, theatre and fine arts programs.

Where: 40 venues across Budapest

When: 30 March-22 April, 2018

Ticket: depends on the event

 

Fishing on Orfű 

A four-day music festival, featuring the best Hungarian bands and musicians of Hungary at the Lake of Orfű, in southern Hungary, near Pécs. Fishing on Orfű is a smaller festival with a great atmosphere, thus it is usually sold out months before the event.

Where: Panoráma Camping, Orfű

When: 20-23 June, 2018

Ticket: 20.000 HUF (65 EUR)

Headliners: Quimby, Hiperkarma, 30y, Bëlga, etc.

VOLT Festival

VOLT Festival has been held annually since 1993, when only 800 people gathered in the western Hungarian Sopron to see its five performing bands; now it is one of the biggest festivals of Hungary, with over 200 performers and more than 10 stages. In 2015, the festival was voted Best European medium-sized festival at the European Festival Awards. Despite such stratospheric success, though, the festival has never forgotten its Hungarian roots, and many of Hungary’s most important musicians can be found at VOLT every year, in addition to many promising, up-and-coming bands of the Hungarian music scene.

Where: Sopron

When: 27-30 June, 2018

Ticket: 52.000 HUF (173 EUR)

Headliners: Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Avenged Sevenfold, Limp Bizkit

photo: [ Sandor Csudai ] . www.facebook.com/csudaisandor

Balaton Sound

Balaton Sound is a big summer beach party, organized annually at Lake Balaton, which brings the most prestigious names of the electronic and hip-hop scene to Hungary. The five-day festival celebrated its 10th anniversary last year with many exciting venues and programs.

Where: Zamárdi, Lake Balaton

When: 4-8 July, 2018

Ticket: 63.000 HUF (200 EUR)

Headliners: David Guetta, Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Rita Ora

EFOTT

EFOTT is the largest student festival in Hungary, attracting over 100,000 students from across the country. Besides concerts, organizers also place a great emphasis on sport, gastronomic and cultural programs as well. Held every year well after the exam period, it is a perfect getaway from the university life.

Where: Lake Velence

When: 10-16 July, 2018

Ticket: 25000 HUF (80 EUR)

Headliners: John Newman, Volbeat, Jessie J

Szeged Open-Air Festival 

The Szeged Open-Air Festival has been the region’s most significant cultural event of the summer since 1931, and boasts Hungary’s largest open-air theater venue, which can seat more than 4,000 people. Each year, more than 70,000 people attend the drama, opera and musical productions on Szeged’s enchanting Dóm Sqaure between June and August

Where: Szeged, Dóm Square

When: June-August

Ticket: 4500-15.000 HUF (15-50 EUR)

Program: Rigoletto, Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof, Sister Act, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Veszprém Street-Music Festival

Every year for a long weekend, the cobblestone streets of downtown Veszprém fill with music: more than 500 street musicians and famous performers with free gigs gather together to play and enjoy the music. The festival is not only about music, but meeting people as well, as it is a community experience. Everyone can join in and play music or just walk along the streets and listen to the various styles that the festival offers, from jazz to rock at any of seven venues.

Where: on the streets of Veszprém

When: 18-21 July, 2018

Ticket: free

Valley of Arts

The Valley of Arts, Hungary’s largest arts festival, awaits guests with more than 500 programs, hundreds of artists and dozens of venues over the course of 10 days. The event is hosted by three villages north of Lake Balaton: Kapolcs, Vigántpetend, and Taliándörögd.  Last year, the 27th Valley of Arts attracted around 200,000 visitors. The festival is held in small yards, valleys, streets and village houses, where visitors can bump into anything related to arts: an improvised theater show, handicraft workshops, folk dancers or a concert.

Where: Kapolcs

When: 20-29 July, 2018

Ticket: 27.000 HUF (85 EUR)

Sziget Festival

Sziget, also known as the ‘Island of Freedom’, is Hungary’s most popular summer festival, which recently came home with the award for the Best Line-up of the year from this year’s European Festival Awards offers more than 1000 programs every year in the heart of Budapest. Last year, around 450,000 people attended the 25th Sziget Festival and Hungary Today also spent time on the Island of Freedom this summer, rocking out with incredible Chinese-Mongolian rock stars, wandering through a surreal inflated playground that seemed straight from the latest Blade Runner, and, perhaps least memorably, watching Iggy Azalea dial it in. We also learned more about what goes into running such a colossal musical endeavor through an interview with one of Sziget’s chief organizers.

Where: Hajógyári Island, Budapest

When: 8-15 August, 2018

Ticket: 90.000 HUF (290 EUR)

Headliners: Kendrick Lamar, Mumford and Sons, Kygo, Arctic Monkeys

Debrecen Flower Carnival

The history of the Flower Carnival dates back to the beginning of the last century: in September 1900, the Debreczen Civil Bicycle Association organized a bicycle competition on the association’s new field. The highlight of the competition – reported the newspaper of the age – was a large-scale flower parade. Debrecen has organized the Flower Carnival since 1966, which by today has grown into one of the most popular festivals – not only of the city but of Hungary as well. The internationally acknowledged Flower Parade is held on 20 August every year, a national holiday when Hungarians celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian State.

Where: Debrecen

When: 20 August, 2018 (accompanying programs: 2-21 August)

Ticket: 4500 HUF (15 EUR)

B my Lake Festival

B my Lake is an electronic music festival held at Lake Balaton every summer with more than 150 house and techno DJ’s. It won the Best New European Festival award in 2013. This year, for the first time, it will be held on the southern shore of Lake Balaton.

Where: Keszthely, Lake Balaton

When: 22-26 August, 2018

Ticket: 25.000 HUF (83 EUR)

Headliners: Agents of Time, Alan Fritzpatrick, Amelie Lens

SZIN – Youth Days of Szeged

SZIN, the Youth Days of Szeged, held every year in the last week of the festival season, awaits visitors with the best Hungarian bands and says goodbye to the summer in a park along the Tisza river in the beautiful city of Szeged with concerts, sport activities, cinema and theater performances. Plus, SZIN is one of the most environmentally conscious festivals in the country, and has won the Greener Festival Award. This year, the festival will be 50 years old, and will focus on anniversaries: Ákos (50), Lovasi (50+1), Csík Zenekar (30) and Bëlga (20) will all celebrate there.

Where: Szeged

When: 22-26 August, 2018

Ticket: 18.000 HUF (55 EUR)

Headliners: Wilkinson, Jess Glynne

STRAND Festival 

Strand festival, which bills itself as ‘The Rhythm of Lake Balaton’ began in 2013, organized by Norbert Lobenwein and Zoltán Fülöp, the two men behind both the extremely successful VOLT Festival, which is held in the western Hungarian city of Sopron each year, and Balaton Sound, a music festival that also takes place in Zamárdi.

Where: Zamárdi, Lake Balaton

When: 22-25 August, 2018

Ticket: 25.000 (83 EUR)

Headliners: Thirty Seconds to Mars, Robin Shulz, Kungs, Sigala

Picnics in Etyek 

The Etyek picnics are organized four times every year, once in each season in Etyek, near Budapest, at Újhegy and Szépvölgy. They have been held since 2013. Guests can join in wine and food tastings and try the gastronomic treasures of Hungary: the best Hungarian wines, gourmet and artisanal products.

Spring: held just after Easter, champagne and ham will be in the focus and visitors can taste the newly bottled wine and the special artisan champagnes.
Summer: the focus will be on lecsó (Hungarian ratatouille) and rosé wine.
Autumn: it will be a 2-days harvest event with focus on stum and cheese and folk music.
Winter: awaits visitors with pork roasting, mulled wine contest, and craftsmen’s market.

Where: Etyek

When: once each season (Spring: 14-15 April; Summer: 9-10 June; Autumn: 1-2 September)

Ticket: free