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Manchester to Host Transylvanian-Hungarian Cultural Festival for the Second Time

By Fanni Kaszás // 2018.05.14.

The United Kingdom’s only Transylvanian and Szekler Hungarian festival, Góbéfest, will return to Albert Square, the main square of Manchester, between the 22nd and 24th of June 2018, bringing even more cultural offerings from around the Carpathian Basin, Eastern and Central Europe.

Góbéfest was established in 2017 by Ottilia Ördög to celebrate the music, dance, gastronomy and traditions of Hungary and Transylvania. Ottilia, a Transylvanian herself who moved to the United Kingdom when she was 12, said her aim with the festival is to raise awareness of the little-known culture and the traditions of the Szeklers:

I want to show the UK that there’s more to Hungarians than paprika and more to Transylvania than Dracula.

The name of the festival, “Góbé” is a slang term that roughly translates to “crafty Szekler”. The Székelys are ethnic Hungarians living in Szeklerland, an ethno-Hungarian region in Transylvania, Romania. Ottilia said that the name of the festival is also referring to the English phonetic meaning of Góbé (Go Be): “Go be who you want to be, go be yourself (…) it works in both languages.”

photo: Donald Judge / Góbéfest

Just like last year, organizers again promise a unique celebration, offering a dazzling extravaganza of music, dance, cuisine and multicultural activities that they say will captivate the whole family with the authentic and  diverse sounds, tastes and flavors of Transylvania and the Carpathian Basin. 

photo: Donald Judge / Góbéfest

The line up of the festival includes Tamás Szarka and Ghymes, a platinum-selling Hungarian-Slovakian band who have been recording and playing together since the 1980s, as well as last year’s headliner, the Hungarian pop singer Ildikó Keresztes, the Harghita National Székler Folk Ensemble, and Ti-Ti-Ta Hungarian Folkdance Group, the first Hungarian dance group in north-west Britain.

Last year’s headliner, Ildikó Keresztes (c) with András Mikecz (l) and László Kiss (r) from Mikecz Banderium. (photo: Donald Judge / Góbéfest)

With its roots firmly in Transylvania, Góbéfest 2018 will also showcase the practices and folklore of other minority cultures across Europe as well. Ottilia added:

I am really looking forward to involving more cultures in the festival this year, celebrating diversity and difference and welcoming youth leaders from around Europe.

Last year saw 10,000 visitors try traditional folk dancing, soak up the unique sounds of a zither orchestra and sample Transylvanian craft beer, pálinka and Hungarian-Transylvanian delicacies including chimney cake and lángos.

via Góbéfest

featured image: Donald Judge / Góbéfest