If you are already in the country, or you’ll be arriving early enough for the autumn semester, you'll have plenty of things to do in the summer. When the heat is soaring, most Hungarians pack up, d chill near lakes and rivers, so you’ll soon realize that everybody is either going to, or coming from Balaton or Velencei tó. Other people, however, seem to be immune to the heat and spend their time rocking out at music festivals. Hungary has a shocking number of music festivals relative to its size, each with its own theme and special atmosphere. It’s tempting to go to all of them! Here’s a list of the festivals sorted according to date to make choosing one easier:
Alsóörs is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, and you can’t find a better place to kick off the festival season. Join the ranks of thousands of riders and take part int the biggest biker event of the year! The Open Road Fest features a colorful palette of Hungarian rock and an unforgettable parade. Freedom, bikes, parties, rock music, beer… this is the Harley experience!
Fishing on Orfű id the biggest alter/indie music festival in Hungary, bringing together everybody that counts. This year, it lasts five days, with a special 50th birthday party for famous Hungarian musician András Lovasi. A fun fact about the festival: although they do a lot of street food like most festivals, they also bring in more than 20 local restaurants, so you can experience regional food without leaving the festival area!
This is Megyer Camp festival, which had to move a bit since the last time. It’s near Ukk, a small village, and is a relative newcomer on the Hungarian rock scene. If you enjoy very low prices for your pass and beer, rock music, and bikers, this is the place for you.
VOLT festival is 25 years old this year! Besides Sziget, this the most popular festival hosted in the country, since it features pop, rock, electronic, blues, jazz, and world music. It’s impossible to get bored here! The festival opens with Linkin Park this year, and will deliver the usual exceptional organization and very friendly locals.
AlteRába is a very wallet and family friendly festival, which celebrates its 8th birthday in 2017. Since its more on the smallish side, it mostly has Hungarian visitors and bands – it’s not called the Country’s Biggest Garden Party for nothing!
Sepultura, Obituary, Moonspell, TYR, Xandria, a lot of Hungarian rock and the best the metal scene has to offer: this Rockmaraton, the longest rock festival! The festival area is on Szalki island, next to Dunaújváros. Rockmaraton is a real love affair with the genre – and a surprisingly cheap one.
So are you looking for a water festival which is a bit nearer than Lake Balaton? Try EFOTT by Lake Velencei, a mere 20 minutes from Budapest. EFOTT feels like a summer break rather than a festival. During the day, you can enjoy the beach, and have the best parties of your life at night!
In case you’ve never visited Eastern Hungary before, Campus Festival is a great reason to do so. The festival takes place near the university grounds, and has everything you need for a fun few days, including great music, a gastro and wine village, and lots of theater! Deebrecen has a rich history and a unique atmosphere – a must see!
And is you are in Debrecen, you might as well hop over to Mezőtúr and try East Fest. This is a pretty new festival, which pairs affordable entertainment with beautiful scenery. You’ll never forget your five days here!
So, American football is not really big in Hungary. Not yet, anyway. But we do have a pretty cool football field in Székesfehérvár, next to the train station. Since the city is only 38 minutes away from Budapest by train, this is one of the most accessible festivals in the country. Fezen grew out of a small alt-rock concert venue, and become one of the biggest festivals, delivering a pretty serious lineup this year. 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the festival, so this is gonna be a big one – we’ll definitely be there, along with Alice Cooper, Saxon, Blind Guardian, The Offspring, Ignite, and Therion!
This a bit different from the other music festivals, because it’s not only aimed at young people, rather, it tries to please the whole family. Körös-toroki Days has art workshops, cultural programs, and lectures on health care, so you can learn a lot besides going to concerts and relaxing on the beach.
The now the 25 years old Sziget Festival is probably the most well-known festival in Hungary. It usually lasts a whole week, and brings together the youth of Europe with the most famous musicians to live together for a blissful few days on the Island of Freedom. Anyone who is living or has once lived in Hungary has a Sziget story, and you’ll soon know why if you go out to Hajógyári sziget. The huge festival area and the international community will make sure that you’ll never have two similar days on Sziget! One of the big advantages of this festival is that despite being a bit pricey compared to other festivals, you have top-of-the-line organization, the best performers, and music for all tastes. What is more, because of the great location, you don’t have to camp out is you don’t like tents. You can simply go home to your own bed in the morning!
Beer Olympics? Yes, 2017 sees Zorall Sörolimpia in a new location. This time, the festival moves to Alsóörs, on the Northern shore of Lake Balaton – the perfect place to enjoy the water and chill with a cold beer. Attracting mostly rock enthusiasts, Zorall has been well-known for offering a lot of active programs during the 4 days, like motorcycle tours, cycling, football, and a ton of concerts. This year, you can see Zorall, Ossian, Lord, Kárpátia, Depresszió, Road, Aurora, Rómeó Vérzik, Junkies, Sing Sing, Moby Dick, Pokolgép, Leander Kills, Ganxsta Zolee és a Kartel, Cool Head Clan and many others! This is truly the perfect place to get to know Hungarian rock.
Strand Festival is another favorite with people who like Balaton. Zamárdi is located only a few kilometers away from Siófok, the party town of the lake. Strand is Hungarian for ’beach’, and refers to the fact that the festival uses the long stretch of Zamárdi shoreline to create the ultima beach party. The stages are only a few meter away from the water, so you can rock out on an inflatable mattress!
SZIN, or Szeged Youth Days is one of the oldest and most prestigious summer music festivals in Hungary. If you’ve never been to Szeged, this is the best time to visit – the festival takes place along the shores of Tisza, and you can visit the beautiful city during the day. Since it is in the southern part of the country, Szeged is always sunny and warm – it’s like a small Mediterranian holiday!